Study alongside 3,000 scientific, academic and medical minds

If you’re looking for a prestigious program where you can make name for yourself, a PhD in Cancer Sciences from Roswell Park is the next step on your career or academic journey.

You’ll be right at home in our world-class labs – but your studies won’t start or end there. You’ll work one-on-one with our internationally-renowned faculty to design your own training experience in one of our five specialized tracks. You’ll get direct experience with physicians and specialists in every cancer discipline as they work with patients across the entire continuum of care.

In our collaborative, multidisciplinary community, we want you to reach farther and make an impact. Our patients put their futures in our hands. You can too.

Average Time-To-Degree

5.8 Years

PhD Candidates


Faculty Mentors


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Why get your PhD at Roswell Park?

When you pursue your PhD in Cancer Sciences at Roswell Park, you’ll work alongside our principal investigators, driving our research in understanding, preventing and treating cancers.

Whether your goal is an academic position, a post-doc appointment or the biosciences industry, you’ll get the training you need for flexible career options.

Doctoral training at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is offered through an academic collaboration with the University at Buffalo (UB).

The scientific and translational research training I received from the Department of Immunology was critical to my development as a scientist. In addition to the exemplary mentorship I received from my advisor, Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, I was also continuously exposed to clinical situations from outstanding mentors including Kelvin Lee, MD and Philip McCarthy, MD. My graduate program placed added emphasis on professional necessities such as grant writing, effective oral presentations and manuscript preparation and offered many opportunities to “network” with leaders in the fields of immunology, translational medicine and cancer biology. Roswell Park’s PhD Program offers students a very well-rounded graduate education. I felt very prepared when I left graduate school to pursue the next stages of my career and I am excited that I now can help train the next generation of cancer researchers right here at Roswell Park!
Kathleen Kokolus, PhD
Class of 2014

Find your focus

Because Roswell Park is a dedicated cancer research hospital, you’ll have a wide spectrum of choices for your research focus, from the investigation of cancer mechanisms to translational/clinical research, with direct relevance to disease treatment.

After your first semester, you’ll choose your path in of our five PhD tracks:

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During the first semester, all PhD candidates take the mandatory introductory courses, including:

  • Integrated Cancer Sciences I and II (RPG501 and RPG502) - Highlights the various aspects of cancer biology and treatments.
  • Biostatistics for Cancer Sciences (RPG519) - Introduces basic statistical concepts relevant to pre-clinical and clinical oncology studies
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RPG504) - introduces students to various ethical dilemmas in research.

You’ll select your research track at the end of your first semester, then begin three laboratory research rotations in your second semester to find the best match for your faculty mentors.

All doctoral students are offered a stipend (currently $28,500 in the first year; $30,000 per year thereafter), a full tuition scholarship and paid student fees.

Importantly, this support is guaranteed for the duration of training. We also offer additional financial incentives for students who are awarded extramural fellowships.

  • Career Directions seminar series: Hear from speakers from diverse industry sectors, including pharma/biotech, intellectual property and science policy, and take advantage of workshops on job searching, interviewing, using social media and other critical skills.
  • Small institutional grants: Once each academic year, you can apply for a grant of to $2,500 for science-related professional development and career exploration activities. Examples include biotechnology industry internships, bioinformatics and translation research workshops, and regulatory affairs certification training.
  • Guidance resources through UB: In particular, the UB Graduate Professional Development web site has valuable information to help you succeed in selecting and entering a career path.

New initiatives are ongoing to help students develop and pursue their interests and career passions while maintaining their own personal wellness:

  • Science Policy
  • Teaching and Mentoring
  • Student Wellness
  • Patient Engagement
  • Career Options

How to apply

Application cycle for Fall enrollment 2024 of the PhD program will open September 15th, 2023 and end on December 4, 2023.

Did you know?

Roswell Park no longer requires GRE scores for admission to the PhD program!

Each year, we select approximately 20 doctoral candidates from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Your application package will include:

  • Online application form
  • $75 application fee, payable electronically on the online application form
  • Undergraduate transcripts – a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA is required
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • WES Grade Conversion for all trasncripts from international academic institutions

Be sure to highlight your successful completion of biological coursework and previous research!

If you’re an international student, you 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). Send your TOEFL scores to the University at Buffalo using ETS code 2925 (no department code is required).

For other general inquiries about the application/admissions process please see the FAQ page located at the University at Buffalo's Graduate School site.

I’m so grateful for the support and guidance of my professors and mentors. The graduate program at Roswell Park fosters a kind, nurturing environment to help students achieve their best work. There is a spirit of both competition and collaboration, allowing us to move forward as a team, work together and learn from one another. Stephanie Tzetzo, MS, Predoctoral Trainee, Department of Immunology

Read more of Stephanie's story on YRoswell.