Cancer Biology Programs and Courses

A cancer biology program could prepare you to work in cancer research. These programs span many disciplines, such as biochemistry, bioinformatics, cytology and immunology. Learn about the field, available degree programs, program prerequisites and potential coursework. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Cancer biology programs provide interdisciplinary training, allowing you to work toward a career devoted to researching cancer's prevention and cure. As a cancer researcher, you likely would find employment opportunities through academic institutions or private research facilities.

Courses Cancer prevention, biostatistics, epidemiology, cancer genetics, environmental health
Degrees Master's and Doctor of Philosophy in cancer biology
Programs Cancer genetics, research techniques, tumor immunology

What Kinds of Master's Degrees Can I Find?

You can acquire a master's degree in cancer biology, but program availability is limited. These programs may generally be completed in two years. In addition to coursework, you'll likely be required to complete a research project in cancer biology and write a corresponding thesis. A master's program in cancer biology can prepare you for doctoral-level study. You also could start a career as an associate scientist or teacher. A Master of Science in Cancer Biology may be available at multiple universities.

What Doctoral Programs Are Available?

You're more likely to find Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in cancer biology. A doctoral program will allow you to conduct more in-depth independent research. You'll be able to earn a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology within 5-7 years, at the end of which you'd need to submit an independently researched dissertation and take an exam. A Ph.D. program can prepare you for a teaching or researching career.

What Kinds of Courses Might I Take?

Courses you'll typically find in a cancer biology master's program include biostatistics, cancer prevention, environmental health and cancer genetics. A Ph.D. curriculum will have you enroll in courses and seminars related to your area of research. Topics covered might include cancer genetics, research techniques and tumor immunology. You'll also complete laboratory rotations, which will give you a feel for the labs you might work in after graduation. Additional coursework for a master's degree may cover these areas:

  • Research methods and cancer development
  • Tumor biology
  • Applied ethics
  • Behavioral science in cancer control
  • Molecular and cancer epidemiology

What Prerequisites Can I Expect?

You'll need a bachelor's degree to apply to any graduate-level program in cancer biology. You may consider majoring in biology, chemistry or a related laboratory science. If your major isn't in a science-based field, you might want to minor in one or take significant coursework in such subjects. Doctoral programs in cancer biology may accept master's degree graduates, but many programs integrate their master's and doctoral programs into a continuous Ph.D. program.

What Else Could I Do With My Training?

Oncology programs educate and train physicians in treating cancer and cancer-related illnesses. As a medical practitioner in an oncology program, you would learn to assess, diagnose and treat cancerous tumors. Hospitals and treatment clinics would be among your likely employers as an oncology specialist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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