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MSc Cancer Pharmacology

  • Travelled from Hunza, Pakistan to study a Master's at Bradford
  • Awarded Bestway Scholarship to help fund her studies
  • Hopes to establish cancer research centres in Pakistan  

A journey that would change me forever

"I'm from Hunza, a village and it is the most beautiful part of Pakistan. After I completed an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy, I worked as a Pharmacist for five years. I always wanted to continue my education and dreamt of broadening my horizons by studying internationally.

"For me, it wasn’t just about the qualification, it was about different experiences, meeting different people, embarking on a journey which would change me forever."

I wanted to travel outside my country to become more confident, more independent and readier to take on the challenges of life.

A multicultural melting pot

"I chose Bradford because it's known as a multicultural melting pot. I dreamed of meeting people from all over the world.

"I like that it's so close to Leeds and Manchester yet it's a cost-effective choice - as an international student I find my money goes much further here than in other UK cities."  

Developing new cancer drugs

“The course outline at Bradford was an excellent fit for what I was looking for.

"When I was young I lost my mother to cancer. The medicines she needed were not available in Pakistan at that time and it became my dream to study about the design and synthesis of cancer drugs.

"The MSc Cancer Pharmacology at Bradford is a world-leading programme and new cancer drugs are developed in my department."

Shams Aliya profile image, posed to the right of the frame

The best day of my life

“The University of Bradford is a partner institution for the Bestway Foundation Scholarship for Students from Pakistan. I heard about the scholarship through a previous scholar on a group on Facebook and when I looked into it, I saw that I met the eligibility criteria and that my course was one of the sponsored ones.

"I submitted my application showing how I met the eligibility criteria and wrote a personal statement. A month and a half later I heard my application had been successful. It was the best day of my life."

My biggest dream in childhood was to complete my postgraduate study at an international university and for me, the UK has the highest standard of education. Without the scholarship, it wouldn’t have been possible. The Bestway Foundation Scholarship has made my dreams come true.

Settling in

“I had never travelled outside Pakistan before so I was a little scared about moving to a new country. I didn’t know if people would welcome international students and I feared the new educational system would be difficult. But I didn’t need to worry - the people of the UK have been so welcoming that I don’t feel like I’m away from home.

"The professors are always ready to guide and support which has led to me getting a distinction for my first two semesters. All my fears about acceptance and the education system just melted away."

Shams Aliya sitting on a fence on campus

Support at every stage

“The University's International Student Support Team supported me at every stage, from helping with my tickets and visa, arranging my accommodation and helping me prepare for my UK visa interview.

"I arrived at the University at 3:00 in the morning and the security staff were there to receive me and guide me to the accommodation. The next day there were people to help me open an account and get my student ID and everything I needed."

The University of Bradford has allowed me to become a better version of myself. So far my course has been amazing. It’s a perfect blend of assignments, seminars and practical demonstrations which allow us to apply theoretical knowledge practically.

My long-term goal

"Once I’ve finished, I’d like to continue my research and do a PhD.

"My Master's has equipped me with the skills and knowledge I need for research. Then I’d like to join a Cancer Research Institute such as Cancer Research UK then I’ll go back to Pakistan and establish cancer research centres there. That’s my long-term goal."

I love student life. Because I was working for five years before starting education again I am enjoying every single bit of it. Working in group-on-group assignments is so joyful for me. The friends I have met are my family now.

Life at The Green

"Living at The Green has made my life so easy - it’s close to everything so I can wake up 10 minutes before my lectures and still get to class on time! I’m two minutes from the University, the library and the gym.

"It’s in a beautiful location and the rooms and shared kitchens are huge. I wanted to live with a diverse group of people and there are students here from India, Australia, Africa, Japan, Italy, Latvia and all around the UK."

Shams Aliya profile image

Hospitality and smiling faces

"I come from a colder region of Pakistan so the weather is similar and where I’m from, people are known for their hospitality and always having a smile on their faces - just like Bradford.

"I have joined the hiking club and we have visited some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen."


Saying yes to opportunities

“When I was selected for the scholarship I decided I would say yes to all the opportunities that could contribute to my personal and professional development.

"This Master’s degree is not just about getting a piece of paper, it’s getting involved with things on and off campus, developing new abilities and polishing existing skills. This is the best time of my life.”

Interested in MSc Cancer Pharmacology?