University of Colorado Denver

Graduate School

Cancer Biology


Academic Office 1, L15-1503

12631 E. 17th Avenue

Aurora, CO 80045

United States





Program Information

Degrees Offered:

PhD in Cancer Biology

Format: Campus

Program Description:

The Cancer Biology PhD program provides rigorous interdisciplinary training with an emphasis on the discovery and targeting of pathways that contribute to cancer initiation and disease progression. Our goal is to train innovative and creative cancer biologists that are prepared to compete in a biomedical research environment increasingly focused on translational applications of basic research. Students work in a highly collaborative environment under the guidance of our world-class training faculty that includes over 50 highly accomplished basic and clinical scientists from 14 departments. We offer personally-tailored opportunities to study a wide variety of topics in basic and translational oncology. The foundation of our training plan includes: Didactic knowledge: Coursework provides trainees with a firm foundation in cancer biology and innovative technologies so that they will conduct the most relevant and cutting edge research. Hypothesis driven research: Our training includes a strong emphasis on skill development for hypothesis generation and testing. This concept is emphasized in didactic course work, journal clubs, written and oral communication, clinical issues and laboratory research approaches. Clinical relevance: We believe that understanding the patient experience and the clinical relevance of their laboratory research will help students to better focus their research plan and develop more nuanced hypotheses. Many clinical related opportunities are available including modular courses that include options to learn about clinical trial design, drug resistance, drug targeting of cancer subtypes, etc. Communication skills: Research advances are only achieved if scientific discovery is communicated to the rest of the scientific community and the public. Written and oral presentation skills are developed by presentations in seminars and journal clubs, written research proposals and fellowship applications. Career and professional development: Our approaches are designed for the specific success of our trainees and include strength and goal evaluation through the Individual Development Plan tool (IDP), mentoring by the primary mentor and research advisory committee, exposure to various scientific career paths, and professional networking at scientific meetings.


  • NIH-supported pre- and post-doctoral training program
  • Full benefits and competitive stipend for all trainees
  • Interdepartmental and collaborative
  • Clinical and translational research opportunities
  • Highly accomplished training faculty
  • Rigorous, yet flexible, curriculum
  • NCI/NIH designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Member of The Cancer Biology Training Consortium (CABTRAC)

Research Focus: Research areas include experimental therapeutics, basic mechanisms of cancer cell biology, cancer stem cells, cancer initiation and progression, tumor immunology, and the tumor microenvironment.

Annual Program Events: Student-hosted seminar series and an annual research retreat in the Rocky Mountains where faculty, postdocs and students present their work.

Financial Support: Students receive full support that includes all tuition and fees, health and dental insurance, and a $31,000 annual stipend.

Applications: Applications accepted September 1 to December 1 for the following Fall semester. On-campus interviews take place in February.

Career paths of graduates: The PhD program in Cancer Biology prepares students for careers in academia or the private sector, including biotechnology, biomedical research, consulting, and pharmaceuticals.

Why CU Anschutz? Located in Aurora, Colorado, the Anschutz Medical Campus is the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region. With six graduate and health professional schools, multiple clinical centers and institutes including an NIH-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, two nationally-ranked teaching hospitals, and a VA hospital, CU Anschutz is engaged in clinical care, research, education, and service. Together, clinicians, graduate students, and research faculty contribute to a large and vibrant cancer research community that is poised to address present and future challenges.

We are committed to diversity and equity. Students from all backgrounds will find resources & support on campus.


The University of Colorado Denver is Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

International Student Requirements:

International students must meet ALL of the standard requirements and also must provide: • Original transcripts and documentation in English (or a certified English translation) of the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or the equivalent • Documents required to process immigration documents • Certified English translation of all academic records and references not in English • $75.00 international non-refundable application fee • Evidence of proficiency in English as demonstrated by one of the following: - Citizen of a country whose official language is English - Composite score of 75 or above on the TOEFL or composite score of 6.5 or above on the IELTS - Graduate of CU Denver’s ESL Academy - Earned bachelor’s degree or higher from a foreign or US accredited institution where the language of instruction was English. - Earned a bachelor’s degree from the US or successful completion of at least 2 semesters (12 credits) of full-time study in a graduate-level master’s program at an accredited institution with a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: Yes

International Financial Aid: Yes

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Intensive

Loans Offered: Students are encouraged to work with the University's Financial Aid Office to obtain information on financial aid opportunities. University of Colorado Denver FASFA Code: 004508

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 0-999

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