Undergraduate oncology

One in two people in the UK will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.  Cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled over the last 40 years. Half of the people diagnosed with cancer now survive for at least ten years. The number of people living with cancer will double in the next 20 years.

This means that virtually all doctors will come into contact with patients who have cancer or have had cancer.

The RCR, therefore, believes it is vital for medical students to be adequately prepared during their undergraduate years to be able to safely manage patients with cancer from day one as a junior doctor. 

Our activities

We offer a range of resources, opportunities, and events to encourage undergraduates to learn more about oncology and to increase awareness of clinical oncology at the undergraduate level. Information about all these can be accessed via the tabs above, and they include:

British Oncology Network for Undergraduate Societies (BONUS)

A network to support undergraduate oncology societies in UK medical schools and bring together students interested in oncology. 

Undergraduate Non-Surgical Oncology Curriculum

A curriculum for medical schools designed to provide a basis for undergraduate non-surgical oncology teaching to facilitate medical students gaining the competencies required to manage patients with cancer appropriately when they graduate.

Annual Undergraduate Oncology Day 

Every year in May or June, the RCR holds a one-day meeting for undergraduates interested in oncology. See the tab above for this year's programme.

Elective bursaries 

Five bursaries funded by the RCR are available on an annual basis and are intended to support medical students wishing to undertake an elective period of study in clinical oncology in the UK or abroad.


An essay prize and a research prize are available for undergraduates annually, as is an award for innovation and excellence in undergraduate teaching, all funded by the EAR Edinburgh Congress. Also available every year is the opportunity for undergraduate societies to be named "RCR Undergraduate Society of the Year."

The Clinical Oncology Undergraduate Steering Committee

The committee is responsible for directing our work with undergraduates and for delivering the following activities:

  • Working to increase the amount of oncology that is taught in medical schools, including looking for new and innovative ways of delivering that teaching.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of oncological knowledge for all doctors from the start of their careers.
  • Raising awareness of the specialty of clinical oncology among medical students and promoting it as an attractive career option.
  • Supporting undergraduate oncology societies in UK medical schools.
  • Planning and delivering the RCR’s annual undergraduate oncology day.
  • Awarding the RCR’s undergraduate prizes and bursaries

The membership consists of:

  • Undergraduate lead and chair of the committee
  • Five clinical oncology consultants actively involved in undergraduate education
  • Four clinical oncology trainees actively involved in undergraduate education
  • A medical student with an interest in oncology
  • The RCR’s Training and Education Manager


If you have any questions about any of work with undergraduates, or if you wish to suggest other activities we could consider, please email undergraduate@rcr.ac.uk