Close Alert

Return to Campus Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The latest updates about USciences return to campus: The full plan for a phased return of employees and students:

Cancer Biology, PhD - Curriculum & Duration

The degree requires completion of at least 25 didactic credits and at least 20 credits of research.

The program is designed to fill a regional gap in specific training in cancer biology, including cutting-edge strategies in translational aspects, as well as hands-on training to emphasize the understanding of the process of drug discovery and therapy. The program will integrate the long tradition of multidisciplinary academic achievements in cancer biology at The Wistar Institute with the focus on drug discovery and industrial partnership of researchers at USciences.

The didactic program comprises core courses that will provide essential background in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology, as well as advanced graduate courses focusing on the basic mechanisms of cancer biology and drug discovery. Together, the approach integrates a learning platform combining an up-to-date basic mechanistic understanding of cancer pathways with more translational, disease-relevant topics in cancer therapy 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.

Core Courses:

Course Number Course Name Credits
BS764 Biotechnology 3 credits
BS765 Biotechnology Laboratory 2 credits
BS767 Cell Biology Methods Laboratory 2 credits
BS887 PhD Colloquium 1 credit
BS897 Scientific Proposals 3 credits
ST704 Statistics for Research 3 credits
CH728 Advanced Biochemistry 3 credits
BS786 Research Ethics 1 credit
BS861 Cell and Molecular Biology 3 credits
  Total:  21 credits

Advanced Courses

Course Number Course Name Credits
CB815 Cancer Biology 3 credits
CB880 Molecular Screening 2 credits
CB890 Journal Club 0 credits in all semesters
except 2 credits in student’s
terminal semester
  Total: 7 credits

Elective Courses

Courses for other programs may be elected with permission of the program director. It is the responsibility of the student to fulfill course prerequisites. PhD students must complete at least 6 credits at the 800 level.  Program electives include: 

Course Number Course Name Credits
BS736 Advanced Pharmacognosy 3 credits
BS860 Special Topics in Cell Biology and Biotechnology 2-3 credits
CH727 Physical Biochemistry 3 credits
CH728 Advanced Biochemistry 3 credits
CH748 Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD) 3 credits
CH811 Chemistry of Medicinals 3 credits

In addition to the program core outlined above, the PhD students will complete the following courses:

  • CB 785 - Introduction to Research  Credits: 2 to 4
  • CB 899 - Doctoral Research  Credits: 1 to 9
    (20 minimum)

Other Requirements

  • Pre-doctoral students must pass written and oral comprehensive exams.
  • As part of the qualifying examinations, students are expected to write and defend grant proposals written in NIH format.
  • Publication of two research papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as presentations at scientific conferences is expected.

For a description of the program, also see The Wistar Institute website.


Kenneth Myers, PhD
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience

Office Location:

McNeil Science and Technology Center, Room 348


University of the Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495





Brian Keith, PhD
Professor and Dean of Biomedical Studies


The Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104