The graduate education of each cancer biology student is tailored to his/her specific interests and research requirements. Previous educational experience is recognized so as to permit the student to progress as rapidly as possible, however credits applied toward a previous degree cannot be counted toward the PhD. Since the program requires a broad understanding of cancer biology, a core curriculum is required. A total of 32 credits from the following are required for graduation.

Course # Course Name Credits
IBS7015 Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology 6

Essential Research Practices: Responsible Conduct of Research

CB7210 Fundamentals of Cancer Biology 3
IBS7030 Functional Genomics and Systems Biology 2^
IBS7050 Biomedical Neurobiology 2^
IBS7090 Biomedical Immunology 2^
IBS7100 Biomedical Neuropharmacology 2^
CB7130 Clinical Aspects of Cancer Biology Fall Even Only 1
CB7600 Applied Cancer Biostatistics 2
CB7700 Recent Developments in Cancer Biology (journal club) 6*
CB7710 Individual Study in Cancer Biology (research rotations for 1st year students) 3
CB7800 Rigor & Reproducibility 1
CB7890 Seminar Series 6*
CB8920 Principles of Translational and Clinical Cancer Research 1
  * One credit per semester until 6 credits have been completed  
  ^ 2 IBS Electives are required  

In addition to the required courses, a number of advanced cancer biology courses are offered from which students choose a minimum of 8 credit hours. This gives a total of 45 coursework credits. A number of other courses are available to allow students to specialize in a specific research discipline, and students may go over 45 credits.

Cancer Biology Electives

Course #  Course Name Winter Even Fall Even Winter Odd Fall Odd Credits
CB7240 Principles of Cancer Therapy x       2
CB7460 Mechanisms of Neoplasia: Signaling   x     3
CB7430 Cancer Epidemiology     x   2
CB7220 Molecular Biology of Cancer Development       x 3
CB7410 Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy       x 3
*CB7300 Special Topics in Cancer Biology x x x x 1-3
CB8910 Applied Cancer Omics and Data Analysis x       1

Requirement: Students are required to take CB Electives for a minimum of 8 credits

*CB7300 Special Topics in Cancer Biology


Future Topics - TBD

It is expected that the majority of the course work will be completed during the first and second years of PhD study. A written comprehensive qualifying exam is administered in the late spring of the first year of study, followed by an oral comprehensive exam of the proposed dissertation research. During the summer of the first year, a month-long, full day clinical rotation is required (CB7130) during which graduate students "round" with oncologists treating cancer patients in the Karmanos cancer hospital. The third and subsequent years are primarily devoted to dissertation research. Forty-five credits of general research, including 30 credits of candidate status dissertation research (see below), will complete the Graduate School requirements for the PhD degree. Candidate credits must be taken in consecutive terms, with the exception of the spring/summer term.

Number Course Name Credits
CB7996 Research up to 15*
CB9991 Doctoral Candidate Status I 7.5
CB9992 Doctoral Candidate Status 2 7.5
CB9993 Doctoral Candidate Status 3 7.5
CB9994 Doctoral Candidate Status 4 7.5
CB9995 Doctoral Candidate Status 5 - placeholder until graduation 0
  * Research credits can be reduced in order to take more elective courses  

In addition to traditional classroom learning, there are additional educational opportunities available to our students including seminars by nationally/internationally renowned scientists both within and outside the cancer center, special non-credit courses, fellowship and grant writing courses, and research workshops.