Cancer Biology

Programs under this Major:
Doctor of Philosophy Program (PhD)

Major Description

Applications for the Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program are now being submitted through the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences program (ABBS). The ABBS is a unified recruiting and admissions process for six graduate programs at the University of Arizona.
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Department: Cancer Biology

(520) 626-7479
(520) 626-4979
Mailing Address:
Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
1515 N. Campbell Avenue, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ 85724-5024

Cancer Biology

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Department Faculty

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Doctor of Philosophy Program (PhD)

Application Information

Application Website

Contact Information

Application Questions

Anne Cione, Program Coordinator, Sr.

Advising Questions

Jesse Martinez, Ph.D.
(520) 626-4250

Financial Aid

  • Financial aid is available through the NIH T32 Cancer Biology Training Grant, Graduate Research Assistantships, fellowships and donated funds. All students admitted to the ABBS program are supported financially. After 3 rotations a research advisor will be determined and this advisor will provide the financial support.

Application Requirements

Minimum GPA
Minimum TOEFL (Internet-based) Score
Minimum TOEFL (Paper-based) Score
Minimum IELTS (overall band score)

Standardized Test Requirements

Recommended Standardized Test(s)
Recommended GRE Subject Test(s)

Other Application Requirements

  • GRE (Subject optional)
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

Application Deadline(s)

Domestic Applicants
December 1
No admissions
Summer I
No admissions
Summer II
No admissions
International Applicants
December 1
No admissions
Summer I
No admissions
Summer II
No admissions

Program Codes

GRE Institution Code (University of Arizona)
GRE Subject Code(s)
NRC Fields(s)
Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Disease, Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health

Program Requirements

Satisfactory Academic Progress Website

Core Courses

Core courses must be completed and awarded a Grade of A or B during the first two years in the program.
See Other Requirements for Successful Completion of the Program below for more details.

Other Requirements for Successful Completion of the Program

Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program satisfactory academic progress guidelines

Year One:
Complete first year core courses, no less than a B grade
Rotate through at 3-4 laboratories to identify a research lab, complete lab rotation evaluation
Attend final oral defense of fellow students
Participate in student research meetings and Spring recruiting

By July 1 of first year:
Identify research advisor and lab
Select minor
Complete annual evaluation for meeting with Progress Committee

Year Two:
Complete second year core courses, no less than a B grade
January 1 identify research project area and, with mentor, select potential supervisory committee members
By March 1 contact committee members and plan first committee meeting, plan for preliminary exam (no later than the end of fifth semester)

Years 3-5 (average time to complete Cancer Biology degree is 4.5 years)
Complete dissertation research and publish results in at least one peer-reviewed journal
Limit of 7 years for completion of degree

Core Courses:
Must be completed in the first two years (or with permission of Chair)
Grade of B or better

Annual Evaluation
Provide annual report to Progress Committee at meeting at the end of Spring semester

Comprehensive exam:
Written exam: NIH-formatted research proposal. Guidelines are in the CBIO student handbook and samples are in the CBIO office.
Oral exam: Defense of the written proposal (either inside or outside proposal) followed by questions from committee on general knowledge of cancer biology and minor.
Pass criteria: Student presents research proposal and answers questions from supervisory committee demonstrating scientific knowledge and critical thought.
A student may attempt the preliminary examination a maximum of two times at the discretion of the examining committee. Failure in both attempts result in automatic dismissal from the Ph.D. program. A second attempt at the oral examination must be scheduled within six months following the first oral examination and no earlier than four months.

Core courses complete by end of fourth semester
Research laboratory identified by July 1 of first year
Comprehensive exam no later than end of fifth semester
Final oral defense no later than seven years from start of program

Minor Requirements

A minor in Cancer Biology requires 9 units. A review of the minor plan with the Program Chair is highly encouraged before classes are taken.