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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Radiotherapy and Oncology

Develop in your specialism as a therapeutic radiographer or other healthcare professional working in the field on this career-focused course. Optional modules enable you to tailor your learning to your individual professional development needs and areas of interest.

Course description

If you are a therapeutic radiographer or another healthcare professional working within radiotherapy and oncology, this course offers you the opportunity to progress in your specialism. The modules cover a wide range of topics relevant to this area of clinical practice, allowing you to tailor the course to your own career development needs.

Some of the modules you can take are radiotherapy specific, while others take a wider perspective and look at the interdisciplinary nature of approaches in oncology. All modules are designed to support your continuing professional development and the development of skills needed to plan and evidence this.

Opportunities for both independent study and work-based learning are included as part of the course structure. Both allow you to negotiate learning objectives that can be centred on your own area of interest within the workplace.

You may also be eligible to apply for accreditation of work-based projects and prior certificated learning, which will count towards your final award. Please contact us for more information.

Study individual modules

You can study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the College of Radiographers.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

We consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Normally, you need one of the following

• a degree in related healthcare subject such as radiotherapy and oncology or nursing

• a higher diploma level, professionally recognised qualification in a related healthcare subject


• a minimum of one year post-qualification clinical experience in radiotherapy or oncology

• be able to satisfy the admissions team of your ability to complete the proposed pathway of study

• an overall IELTS of 6.5 or above with a minimum 5.5 in all skills, if you are an international student

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

You also must have
• access to and the ability to use IT software such as Word and PowerPoint
• access to a computer with reliable internet access
• confidence in accessing and using web-based materials

We determine you suitability for the course and your ability to complete it through your application, references and CV. You may also have an advisory interview with the course leader or nominated tutor to
• ascertain your needs and aspirations
• decide on a course of study
• give you guidance to prepare for any claims for credit through our accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL) or accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) procedures

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Part time distance learning - January start - typically 36 months
Part time distance learning - September start - typically 36 months

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits. The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits. The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

Postgraduate certificate core modules

Fundamentals of radiotherapy and oncology practice (15 credits)
This module enables you to develop an in-depth understanding of the core principles underpinning current and future practice within the specific discipline of radiotherapy and the wider field of oncology. You learn about cancer cell biology and how cancer treatments affect the growth and development of cancer, individually and in combination with each other, for example in chemo-radiation regimes. In terms of radiotherapy, you develop a critical understanding of the impact and influence of radiobiological principles/issues on radiotherapy practice, and their wider role in the multi-modality management of cancer.

You also learn about future developments in the clinical and medical treatment of cancer and are encouraged to reflect on contemporary issues and related policy and guidance impacting on and influencing the delivery of these cancer treatments and services. You critically reflect on the impact of these principles, practices and issues covered upon working practices, patient outcomes and service delivery.

Professional practice portfolio (15 credits)
This module is designed to support the use of a professional development portfolio in demonstrating evidence of your personal learning and development as a practitioner. The module promotes your development as a safe and competent practitioner capable of reflective practice recognising the need for continual professional development. The portfolio allows you to provide evidence of academic and clinical learning in a wider range of clinical practice and develop your own professional profile.

Plus a further 30 credits from the optional module list below.

Postgraduate diploma core modules

Research methods for practice (15 credits)
This module allows you to develop a critical understanding of a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and apply their use to specific health care scenarios. You are encouraged to critically appraise the appropriateness of a range of study designs and data collection and analysis methods, in relation to a specific research question(s).

Personalised study module or work based learning for service development modules (15 credits)
The work-based learning module provides you with the opportunity to apply your academic skills and develop professional skills in a real world environment. You propose and take a package of work which directly relates to your scope of practice and/or client group. This also enhances your employability by facilitating the development and use of your skills in a professionally relevant context.

For the personalised study module, you propose and undertake a package of work that is reflective of a personal and individual area of interest. It may still be relevant to your professional role, but this need not be informed and guided by priorities specific to your workplace.

Plus a further 30 credits from the optional module list below.


Dissertation (60 credits)
This module provides an opportunity to conduct a project important to your professional practice and relevant to your own workplace or organisation, with the ultimate aim of influencing and impacting on the care provided to those using this service.

Optional modules

The optional modules are tailored to your own areas of interest, aims and goals and you discuss your individual study route with the course leader. You choose from a wide range of modules from across our postgraduate radiotherapy and oncology programme and wider continuing professional development (CPD). Modules include

Technical advances in radiotherapy (15 credits)
This module provide you with an opportunity to extend and enhance your knowledge of key technical advances that are influencing and continually evolving the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer. This includes both current and future advances with topics such as • advanced immobilisation and breath hold techniques • proton therapy • stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) • Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) • Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) • functional and biological targeting. You develop a critical understanding of the key principles and evidence base underpinning these advances and how these may impact on the patient, service and individual practitioners.

Informed consent in healthcare practice (15 credits)
This facilitates and supports the active participation of health care practitioners in the informed consent process. It enables you to work with and respond to current policies and legal and ethical frameworks in practice. It also enables you to develop an increased awareness of the patient/carer perspective regarding the process of informed consent. You are encouraged to critically reflect on this and the principles and practice of information consent in the context of your scope of practice, helping to improve the service you and others deliver and enhance the patient experience of informed consent as a result.

Image guided radiotherapy (15 credits)
Imaging is an integral part of the radiotherapy process and essential in ensuring radiotherapy is planned and delivered in the most accurate way possible. Imaging plays a vital role in helping us maximise the potential of radiotherapy, implement advanced techniques safely and ensure the best clinical outcomes for cancer patients. Embracing the move towards 4D adaptive radiotherapy, you explore the use of imaging throughout the whole radiotherapy pathway (localisation, planning and delivery). This module allows you to explore the fundamental principles and best practice associated with a range of current and future imaging modalities. You develop a critical understanding of the evidence base underpinning these advances and how these may impact on the patient, service and individual practitioners.

Brachytherapy: principles in practice (15 credits)
Recent advances in radiotherapy, and specifically the planning and delivery of brachytherapy, have resulted in this particular treatment modality playing an increasingly important role in the treatment of cancer. This module enables you to develop a sound understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning brachytherapy. You develop a critical understanding of the various types of brachytherapy and how they may be used, for a range of cancer sites, as a monotherapy or in combination with external beam radiotherapy. You explore and critically appraise the evidence base underpinning this practice and reflect on the practical issues relating to its use and initial implementation. You have regular opportunities to share your experiences with your peers as well as your tutors.

Optional modules continued

Evidencing your CPD (15 credits)
This module enables you to gain academic credit following Continued Professional Development (CPD) activity by individually tailoring a learning plan for evidencing CPD specific to your own unique experience and personal and professional development.

This module promotes a proactive approach to professional development planning which refines and enhances your approach to documenting, recording and evidencing CPD.

Prostate cancer (15 credits)
This module is relevant to a wide range of practitioners working with those affected by prostate cancer. You gain an in-depth understanding of the current knowledge and evidence based findings on prostate cancer and its management. The content is patient centred, with specific reference to the patient journey and the physical and psychological impact of the disease and its management.

Contemporary issues and approaches related to patient management and care are discussed and critical reflection and evaluation of your own and others clinical practice is encouraged. There is a clear emphasis on identifying implications for the practitioner role and the delivery of service.

Breast cancer radiotherapy (15 credits)
This module provides you with specialist knowledge of the planning and delivery of adjuvant radiotherapy for early stage breast cancer. For those individuals working within or towards advanced or consultant practice roles, this module has been designed to help you develop the skills necessary for this level of practice. In particular the module is designed to enhance entrepreneurial skills, which can be used by an individual to innovate within an organisation, developing and implementing novel solutions to organisational problems.

Loss, grief and bereavement (15 credits)
This module aids your professional development in loss, grief and bereavement and updates your understanding and knowledge of current theories in this specialised area. The emphasis is on facilitating you to become confident and competent in working with people who are experiencing a loss or have been bereaved and the support of those experiencing loss and bereavement as a fundamental principle in palliative and end of life care.

You are encouraged to routinely reflect on the work undertaken throughout the module and apply this to practice to enhance compassion and competence when working with bereaved clients or people who are experiencing a loss.

Advanced planning (30 credits)
This module explores and evaluates technological innovations, new developments and future research avenues in all areas of radiotherapy planning. By the end of the module you are able to effectively use the evidence base to critically appraise the impact of technological innovations and improved planning methods on the treatment planning process, appraise the clinical impact on patient quality of life and critically evaluate the appropriateness and applicability of innovations and advanced planning techniques to clinical practice.

Additional optional modules

Fundamentals of radiotherapy planning (30 credits)
This module enhances existing treatment planning knowledge and skills in order to evaluate the impact of 3D planning methods on the process of radiotherapy planning. It also promotes critical analysis of the radiotherapy planning process in the context of professional practice. It offers you the opportunity to enhance and deepen your knowledge and understanding of radiotherapy planning and associated technological developments to develop a critical evidence-based approach to your practice.

Advancing practice in prostate cancer care (30 credits)
This module has been developed for specialist/advanced practitioners working in the field of prostate cancer care. You learn about high priority/high risk areas in this field of practice and develop an in-depth understanding of the need to improve outcomes/experiences in these areas for those affected by the disease.

You are encouraged to critically reflect on your own local practice and required to identify an area for service improvement. You are supported in the development of an evidence based business proposal for a change project/service development, specifically targeted at improving local care/provision. You then receive feedback as part of the module assessment and hopefully as a result take forward/implement in practice. You also learn about the wider professional role and responsibilities of the expert/advanced practitioner.

Advanced communication and information in supportive care (30 credits)
This module has been developed to enhance role development for health care professionals (HCPs) in the area of psychosocial support. Recent policy has advocated that staff working in cancer and palliative care settings should be committed to developing advanced communication skills and access specific accredited training - NHS Cancer Action Team (NHS 2006). Although this module does not assess practical competencies it is designed to aid the reflective practitioner who can develop a specific area of their practice. This may be in advanced communication or informational developments.

Psychology of cancer care (30 credits)
This module has been designed for health professionals working in oncology and cancer care. It enables you to extend and develop the skills you use and the care you deliver in practice by developing a deeper awareness and critical understanding of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of patients and their carers. You are encouraged to critically reflect on your practice and that of others, including opportunities for discussion with your peers.

Expert practice (30 credits)
With the support of your workplace (confirmation of this and the allocation of a clinical supervisor is required), this module aims to formalise and validate your development as an expert practitioner, whether site specific, technical expert or community liaison in origin. The module facilitates the development of practice knowledge that will reflect your scope of clinical practice, alongside developing practice autonomy.

The module encourages you to take ownership of your advancing professional practice and academic learning to support the development of your expert clinical practice. As part of this development you are expected to critically reflect on non-standard and difficult/challenging cases and the decisions you make. You are also expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of inter-patient differences and how these influence your decisions. You develop a critical understanding of the legal, ethical and professional frameworks underpinning your practice and the influence these have on your role and responsibilities as an expert practitioner.

End of life decision making (30 credits)
This module enhances your decision making skills in end of life care. You develop your intellectual potential, critical reflection and clinical reasoning skills and improve your ability to evaluate and enhance practice. The focus on the decision making needs of patients and other service users in end of life care settings work towards promoting individualised compassionate patient-centred care.

This is an evolving module which reflects philosophical, political, ethicaland legal developments. You are encouraged to evaluate practice alongside the latest guidance and theoretical frameworks. The module facilitates the development of an in-depth critical approach to the evaluation of contemporary issues relevant to your practice. These include the concepts of hope and spirituality, advance care planning, issues relating to dying and support for carers.

Further optional modules

Head and neck cancer (15 credits)
This module allows you to explore and develop a critical understanding of current thinking and developments in the multi-modality management of common head and neck cancers. You also develop an increased awareness and critical understanding of the physical and psychosocial impact of the disease and treatment. The module enables you to critically evaluate approaches to patient care. You are encouraged to critically reflect on your own and others practice within the multi-disciplinary team, and consider the impact of care on the patient/carer experience and how this might be improved.

Working with people affected by cancer (15 credits)
This module equips you with a comprehensive knowledge of the treatment of cancer and a critical understanding of how a diagnosis of cancer and its treatment impacts on those affected by the disease. You are encouraged to apply this knowledge to your own practice and critically reflect on your individual role in providing safe and effective care and addressing the needs of the patient and carer.

Collaborative working in supportive and palliative care (15 credits)
This module develops a culture of collaborative working in supportive and palliative care. The philosophy of this module focuses on the critique of effective team working in supportive and palliative care with the patient and carer highlighted as key members of this team. You benefit from learning together and using a problem-based approach to assessment. This promotes sharing of expertise and good practice across professional groups and influences effective team working in practice.

Complexities of symptom management (15 credits)
This module facilitates you to further develop a holistic approach to the multi-disciplinary management of the complexities of managing symptoms when working with clients requiring palliative care. The philosophy of the module focuses on the patient's narrative of individual needs, the quality of their life and the management of symptoms in a way that is appropriate to them at a specific time, so enhancing clinical practice. The module reflects the end of life care competency of symptom management - maintaining comfort and wellbeing at the end of life.

Assessment We use various assessment methods, supporting the development of both your academic and professional skills.Short online activities are used to promote engagement with the distance learning materials, provide support for the final assignment and facilitate online discussion with fellow peers on the module. Other methods of assessment include
  • essays
  • business cases or journal article
  • project and research work
  • poster and PowerPoint presentation
  • case studies
  • service improvement proposal and plans
  • critical evaluations
  • profiles of evidence
  • planning portfolio.


The course is designed to be clinically relevant to therapy radiographers and other healthcare professionals working in cancer care. Your studies are designed to be in line with current drivers and agendas focused on staff development and career progression.

You will be able to take advantage of an increasing number of opportunities related to role development and extension, and skills mix across the various healthcare professions working in radiotherapy and oncology.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Typically £6,300 for the course

£525 for a 15 credit module

£1,050 for a 30 credit module

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the MSc, 15 credits £535 or 30 credits £1,070

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £7,650 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £7,950 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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