Join the ranks of the next generation of scientists with a master’s in cell and molecular biology from Saint Joseph’s University. Choose from three tracks based on your needs and goals: a thesis-based study focused on research, a non-thesis option and a professional curriculum with management and business courses.
Cancer Biology PhD
Saint Joseph’s University’s Cancer Biology PhD program prepares you to be a cancer biology researcher in academia or the public or private sector. Our fully-funded, joint program with The Wistar Institute, an international leader in biomedical research, combines the basic mechanisms of cancer biology with the translational aspects of drug discovery.
In this program, you’ll learn how the cancer cell works compared to normal cells and strategies to employ for new therapeutic regimens — high-demand skills in today’s research workforce. You'll also get thorough experience in experimental design, rigorous and ethical research conduct and robust analytical approaches and have the opportunity to publish in scientific journals.
Joint Program With The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent biomedical research institute and is a designated National Cancer Institute Cancer Center in basic research. Their research enterprise is focused on cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development. In particular, the Wistar Institute’s Cancer Center has advanced knowledge in areas including cancer genomics, tumor immunology and immunotherapy and cancer treatments.
Through Saint Joseph’s University’s joint Cancer Biology PhD program with the Wistar Institute, you’ll be able to work closely with scientists at Wistar, who are experts in disease mechanisms and areas such as cancer vaccines, cancer immunotherapy and metastasis. You’ll also have access to Wistar’s Molecular Screening and Protein Expression Facility, which features a small molecule library, liquid handling robotics, a multilabel microplate reader and more.
What Sets Our Program Apart
Tuition for accepted students in the Cancer Biology PhD is fully funded by Saint Joseph’s and The Wistar Institute, an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer and vaccine research.
You’ll have access to unparalleled research opportunities in laboratories at the forefront of cancer research. You’ll work with scientists from Saint Joseph’s and Wistar and acquire training in emerging approaches to cancer prevention and therapy, including molecular signaling pathways, tumor targeting and more.
Our PhD-granting cancer biology curriculum is focused on translational aspects of cancer biology. You’ll get a solid foundation in the basic mechanisms of cancer biology and a cellular, molecular and biochemical understanding of the cancer cell. You’ll also learn about intellectual property issues and the cancer drug discovery process.
Our small class sizes and mentorship allow you to learn from and build valuable relationships with Saint Joseph’s and Wistar’s faculty.
Graduates of the Cancer Biology PhD program have all published first-author papers in high-impact journals including Nature, PNAS and Cancer Research, and have gone on to top laboratories.
Saint Joseph’s McNeil Science and Technology Center features 13 research labs, 8 teaching labs, numerous shared equipment and specialty rooms and plenty of classrooms and meeting spaces for students, faculty and staff. You’ll also get to work inside Wistar’s Molecular Screening & Protein Expression Facility, which will introduce you to high-throughput approaches in therapeutic discovery and development of robust, well-validated bioassays.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Cancer Biology?
In the global fight against cancer, Saint Joseph’s prepares students for some of the fastest-growing cancer research jobs. With the employment of medical scientists expected to increase by 13% from 2016 to 2026, PhD researchers will be highly desirable for positions in areas such as academia, pharmaceutics, government and industrial laboratories.
Medical research is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and a significant generator of high-quality careers. Cancer research jobs, in particular, are an urgent need and priority. There are tremendous opportunities for researchers working toward a fundamental understanding of cancer processes, more effective cancer diagnosis and novel therapies.
The Cancer Biology PhD degree requires completion of at least 25 didactic credits and at least 20 research credits (45 total credits).
The didactic program comprises core courses that provide essential background in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and biotechnology, as well as advanced graduate courses on the basic mechanisms of cancer biology and drug discovery. The curriculum is designed to equip students to succeed in a multidisciplinary environment as both hypothesis-driven academic cancer researchers and industrial or academic discoverers. To achieve doctoral candidacy, you must pass written and oral comprehensive qualifying exams.
View required courses for this program in the academic catalog. Please contact us if you have any questions about the program curriculum.
Tuition for accepted students in the Cancer Biology PhD program is fully funded by a combination of Graduate Student Instructorships (GSIs) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) that cover the cost of full-time enrollment. Students also receive living stipends through a combination of funding from Saint Joseph’s and the Wistar Institute while enrolled in good academic standing.
Why Study Cancer Biology in Philadelphia?
The city of Philadelphia is the heart of the region’s biotechnology and health sciences industries. Here, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to work on hypothesis-driven research and interact with internationally-recognized researchers in the field during and after your program.
It’s also home to institutions paving the way for innovative cancer treatments and therapeutic developments including:
Cancer Biology PhD Admissions Information
You must meet the following prerequisites to be considered for admission to the PhD in cancer biology program:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry or a related field from an accredited university or college.
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.5/4.0 in most recent science-related degree.
- Equivalent of at least 6 credits at the 300-400 level with laboratory experience in at least two or more of the following areas: microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology.
GRE scores are optional. You can submit them if you think they’ll strengthen your application.
- Apply online.
- Submit official college transcripts from all colleges attended. If you attended Saint Joseph’s, we will obtain this transcript for you.
- Submit a 1000-word personal statement explaining your short- and long-term study and career goals. You must also identify at least two of the program’s faculty whose research interests align most closely with yours. Personal statements may be submitted as part of application via the application portal.
- Submit resume or CV.
- Submit three letters of recommendation.
The application deadlines for admission to Saint Joseph’s PhD in cancer biology program are:
- Priority Review for ALL applicants: March 1
- International Student Deadline, June 15
- Domestic Student Deadline: August 1