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Ph.D. Requirements

The Cancer Biology Program conforms to the general GSBS requirements requiring 54 credit hours minimum to include one credit hour of the Ethical Dimensions of the Biomedical Sciences (GS210051), 12 credit hours of Tutorial Research Experience (GS000514), four required GSBS area requirement courses and a minimum of one year of registration for research which includes Research in Biomedical Sciences (GS000520) and Dissertation for Doctor of Philosophy (GS000920).

GSBS Areas


  • GS010014 Biomedical Statistics


  • GS030102 Current Methods in Molecular Research (two semesters required)


  • GS041123 Molecular Biology of Eukaryotic Cells
  • GS030024 Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • GS040133 Cancer Cell Signaling


  • GS040063 Cancer Biology
  • GS040083 Basic Concepts of Tumor Biology (UT-Science Park, Smithville, TX)

Alternative Courses

In the event that students can demonstrate previous undergraduate academic experience in one or more of the areas, they may petition to substitute one of the following alternative courses to satisfy an area requirement.


  • GS040123 Eukaryotic Gene Expression
  • GS040113 Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis


  • GS110023 Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Human Genetics
  • GS120063 Histology
  • GS120134 Introduction to Histology (UT-Science Park, Smithville, TX)
  • GS140103 Advanced Neurobiology: Cellular and Molecular
  • GS040013 Cell Biology
  • GS060014 Immunology I

Seminar Courses

Six credit hours required. Students can take one course multiple times with the cumulative time counting toward the six-hour requirement.

  • GS040173: Current Concepts of Human Cancers
  • GS040181: The Molecular Basis of Programmed Cell Death
  • GS040213: Mechanisms in Cancer Therapeutics
  • GS040612: Selected Topics in Molecular Virology: Gene Therapy and Transgenics
  • GS040711: Seminar in Virology and Gene Therapy
  • GS040721: Seminar in Tumor Suppressor Genes
  • GS040731: Seminar in Developmental Biology
  • GS040741: Seminar in Applied Oncology Research
  • GS040751: Seminar in Regulatory Biology
  • GS040761: Current Topics in Oncogene Research
  • GS040771: Current Topics in Tumor Progression
  • GS040791: Current Topics in Programmed Cell Death
  • GS040801: Current Topics in Genes and Development
  • GS040812: Seminars in Molecular Mechanisms of Human Cancer
  • GS040061: Seminar in Cancer Cell Signaling

Research Requirements

Students typically complete three laboratory tutorial research experiences (GS000514) within their first year of study. The choice of tutorial laboratories is determined by each student. Following these, a student chooses a laboratory in which to undertake thesis research. During this time, an Advisory Committee composed of the student's advisor and four additional faculty members will assist the student in directing his or her research.

Candidacy Examination

All GSBS students must petition to take the oral candidacy examination within two years of admission to the Ph.D. degree program. This examination is designed to ascertain both the student's preparation for investigation of a specific research problem, and the extent of knowledge in pertinent and related areas of biomedical science. It is administered by the student's Candidacy Examination Committee, and the results of this examination are communicated to both the Executive Committee of the Cancer Biology Program and the GSBS. The Cancer Biology Program requires that all students must have at least 2 CBP faculty members on their committees.

Teaching Experience

There is no formal teaching requirement for students in the Cancer Biology Program. Recently, the GSBS has initiated a Teaching Assistant Program where students are selected to assist in certain core courses. The teaching experience will vary from course to course, but it can include formal classroom teaching. Additional opportunities for teaching may be obtained through arrangement with individual course instructors.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center