Cancer Biology PhD Program (Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology & Moffitt Cancer Center) College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida

Cancer Biology PhD Program (Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology & Moffitt Cancer Center) College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida

Tampa, FL
student ratio
total students
Tuition Cost Not Reported
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
November 30
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


Training the next generation of Cancer researchers

One of the oldest Cancer Biology doctoral programs in the country, the Cancer Biology Ph.D. program at Moffitt Cancer Center is a collaborative effort with the University of South Florida. The program was designed to prepare young scientists to meet the future challenges of cancer research. It was founded in 2000 and embraces the concept that curing cancer is based on two challenges: unraveling the molecular and biological basis for tumor development and devising new detection and treatment approaches based on those discoveries.

To meet these challenges, the program provides an integrated curriculum that incorporates training in multiple disciplines encompassing immunology, cancer genetics, cell and molecular biology, signal transduction, drug discovery, functional genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, chemistry, and translational cancer therapies.

Moffitt Cancer Center and USF - Nationally Recognized Institutions

Moffitt Cancer Center is the first and only cancer center in Florida to achieve and retain Comprehensive Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute. Moffitt Cancer Center was recently listed No. 6 on "U.S. News & World Report's" Best Hospitals for Cancer rankings. This makes Moffitt the top ranked cancer hospital in the Southeast and in the state of Florida. Of the 902 hospitals overall evaluated for cancer care in the United States, Moffitt's ranking places it in the top 1 percent. The University of South Florida System is ranked 25th in the nation among public universities and 41st among all U.S. universities, public or private, for total research expenditures by the National Science Foundation (2014). USF is one of only four Florida public universities classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the top tier of research universities (RU/VH), a distinction attained by only 2.3 percent of all universities.

Cancer Research at the Moffitt Research Center

Shared Resources (i.e. Cores) and individual faculty research laboratories are located in two crosswalk-connected structures: the Moffitt Research Center and the Vincent A. Stabile Research Tower. The Moffitt Cancer Center Hospital is adjacent to these research buildings, facilitating the center's goal to rapidly move laboratory discoveries into the clinical setting.

In addition to well-equipped faculty laboratories, a full range of core facilities, including analytical microscopy, molecular genomics, proteomics, biostatistics, cancer informatics, cell therapies, chemical biology, collaborative data services, flow cytometry, image response assessment team, small animal imaging lab, survey methods, tissue and translational research are provided for the faculty members and students.

The Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program's Faculty

The majority of the Cancer Biology faculty is housed within the Moffitt Cancer Center and includes basic science, population science, and clinical research investigators. Faculty members have vigorous NCI-funded research programs and share a unique focus on cancer. They come from five broad areas of interest: immunology, molecular oncology, drug discovery, cancer genetics, and clinical investigations. Each area shares the common goal of understanding, preventing, and curing cancer.

The Student Population at USF

The USF campuses had total enrollment of 49,591 for fall 2016; 10,239 were graduate students (with 1,978 international students). The Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program currently has 29 students from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Ghana, Taiwan, Brazil, Trinidad, South Korea, India, China and the Netherlands Antilles.

All Students in Good Standing Receive Full Financial Support for Tuition, Fees, and Health Insurance

All students in good standing receive full financial support for tuition, fees, and health insurance. For the academic year 2016-17, a stipend of $25,000 is awarded to entering students to cover living expenses. A $1,000 increase is awarded to students following successful completion of their qualifying exam and admission into doctoral candidacy, usually by the spring semester of their second year. As an incentive for students to apply for fellowships, the mentors in the Cancer Biology Program provide a bonus to those students who successfully acquire stipend funding. Several current and former students have been funded by NIH/NCI F31 and F99/K00 awards, the American Heart Association, the U.S. Department of Defense, NIH/NCI Minority Research Supplements, the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.

Student Research

Students begin research during the first semester, typically rotating through two to three laboratories. Formal course work is usually completed by the end of the first academic year. Qualifying examinations consist of the development of a project and writing a grant proposal based on the project. Most students complete the qualifying examinations in the fall semester of their second year. Graduates have earned their Ph.D. degrees within an average 5 years of entering the program (as of July 2016). Students in the Cancer Biology Program have an opportunity during the summer months to conduct research at the Ponce School of Medicine, in Puerto Rico, through the U56 Planning Grant for Minority Institution/Cancer Center Partnership from the National Cancer Institute. This is a cooperative agreement between the Ponce School of Medicine, the Moffitt Cancer Center, and the NCI.

Additionally, students have opportunities for exposure to the clinical side of cancer treatment through participation in Fellows Multidisciplinary Conferences, surgery observations and Moffitt Cancer Center Grand Rounds.

Location & Contact

Cancer Biology PhD Program (Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology & Moffitt Cancer Center)

College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Florida

4202 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
United States

Dr. James Garey


Phone: 813-974-7103
Fax: 813-974-1614

Dr. Kenneth Wright

Associate Professor of Cancer Biology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

Phone: 813-745-3918
Fax: 813-974-1614

Request More Info

Degrees & Awards

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Cancer Biology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 21
    • Doctoral Degrees 10
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? No
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Thesis Alternate accepted
    • Doctoral Degrees Comp Exam Required and Thesis Required
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


18% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 159
    • Accepted 29
    • Acceptance Rate 18
    • Enrolled 23
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $30
    • Application Fee - International $30
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline November 30th November 30th Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline July 1st July 1st Yes
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum GPA of 3.0, extensive background in biology or chemistry
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum GPA of 3.0, extensive background in biology or chemistry
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL (minimum score 570 paper-based; 79 iBT) or IELTS (minimum score 6.5)

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsApril 1
    • Types of financial support availableCareer or Field-Related Internships, Health Care Benefits, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students85
    • Female Percentage67%
    • Male Percentage33%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students85
    • Part-time Percentage5%
    • Full-time Percentage95%
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino6%
    • Black / African American1%
    • White / Caucasian49%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian2%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races3%
    • Unknown or International Student39%


  • Faculty Breakdown
    • Total Faculty19
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage32%
    • Male Percentage68%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchCell biology, microbiology and molecular biology: basic and applied science in bacterial pathogenesis, genome integrity and mechanisms of aging, structural and computational biology; cancer biology: immunology, cancer control, signal transduction, drug discovery, genomics
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$1,773,593



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