Ph.D. Program in Cancer Sciences
The Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is the world's first cancer research center, founded in 1898, and a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The internationally-recognized scientists and world-class facilities at RPCI provide an outstanding training environment for graduate students. Because RPCI is a cancer research hospital, students have a wide spectrum of choices for their research focus, from the investigation of cancer mechanisms to translational/clinical research with direct relevance to disease treatment. RPCI has particular strengths in the areas of tumor immunology, cancer genetics and genomics, biophysical oncology, cancer prevention/epidemiology and cancer therapeutics development.
Doctoral training at RPCI is an academic collaboration with the University at Buffalo (UB). RPCI offers a Cancer Sciences Ph.D. program with an enrollment of approximately 100 students. More than 100 scientists are available to serve as faculty mentors for doctoral students. The average time-to-degree for students graduating since 2005 is 5.8 years, and we are implementing changes in the curriculum and the tracking of student progress that we expect will decrease this even further.
Program of Study
Students select a research specialization area at the end of their first semester of enrollment. This is followed by the completion of three research rotations to facilitate the matching of students to faculty mentors.
In the first year, all students complete a two-semester core course, Integrated Cancer Sciences, a statistics course and a seminar on Responsible Conduct of Research. Second-year students enroll in a grantsmanship training course. Track-specific courses also are included in the curriculum.
All doctoral students are offered generous financial support that includes a stipend (currently $27,000 per year), a full tuition scholarship and paid health insurance. Importantly, this support is guaranteed for the duration of training. We also offer additional financial incentives for students who are awarded extramural fellowships.
Graduates of our doctoral program are encouraged to consider the wide variety of career options available to Ph.D. recipients. To foster professional development we instituted a Career Directions seminar series with speakers from diverse career sectors, such as pharma/biotech, intellectual property and science policy. The series also includes workshops on job searching, interviewing, using social media and other critical skills.
Another innovation is the availability of small institutional grants (up to $2,500) to support participation in science-related professional development and career exploration activities. Ph.D. students are eligible to receive these funds once in each academic year. These grants have supported such activities as biotechnology industry internships, bioinformatics workshops, regulatory affairs certification training and translational research workshops.
All students also have access to career guidance resources available through UB. In particular, the UB Graduate School maintains a Graduate Professional Development web site with valuable information to help students succeed in selecting and entering a career path.
Applying and Admissions
Each year, approximately 20 doctoral and 10 MS students are selected to study at RPCI from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Applicants admitted to our graduate programs since 2015 had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.45 (U.S. applicants) and these average general GRE percentile scores: Verbal – 60, Quantitative – 62, Analytical Writing – 51.
Applications are submitted electronically and must include:
- Online Application Form
- $75 application fee, payable electronically on the online application form
- Undergraduate transcripts – a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA is required
- Three letters of recommendation
- Personal statement/resume
- GRE General Test scores (other standardized test scores, such as MCAT, are not acceptable substitutes for the GRE)
- International applicants must submit results of either the TOEFL (minimum acceptable score: 79) or the IELTS (minimum acceptable score 6.5 overall with no individual sub-score below 6.0).
Please have GRE and TOEFL scores sent to the University at Buffalo using ETS code 2925. No department code is required.
The application deadline for fall 2018 will be January 5, 2018.
For further information, contact:
Dr. Norman J. Karin
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
Roswell Park Graduate Division