For more course offerings and program descriptions
PhD Progression
CCB Required Courses
Other Divisional Course Offerings
Year 1

- Coursework

- Two nine-week or three six-week laboratory rotations during Winter and Spring quarters.

- First year students are required to take the Preliminary Examination during Summer quarter and must pass to begin their full time thesis research. 

Year 2

- Primary focus is making progress on the thesis project. Milestones are passing the qualifying exam, completing the formal curriculum and submitting a fellowship proposal

- During the Summer or Fall quarters, students will form a thesis committee. During Fall or Winter quarter, students will meet with their thesis committee and present their thesis proposal, which will serve as the qualifying exam.

Year 3

-The key objective in Year 3 is to make substantial progress on the thesis project. Most students should hold two thesis committee meetings during their third year.

- Third year CCB students attend the AACR annual meeting as part of their training and to gain exposure to broad based, cancer-focused scientific meetings. 

Years 4, 5, and 6

- Senior students continue their thesis research, with a focus on developing publication-quality results and submitting research papers. 

- Students should plan to hold their penultimate meeting during the fifth year, with the expectation of defending their thesis in Spring or Summer quarter.

Cancer Biology Fundamentals

This course introduces students to key aspects of cancer biology, including fundamental molecular mechanisms (includes tumor suppressor and oncogene function, cell cycle checkpoint control, cytokinesis defects and aneuploidy, DNA damage sensing & repair, cell death mechanisms, cellular senescence) underpinning the initiation and progression of disease.

Readings in Cancer Biology

This course consists of five week sessions of directed reading with individual CCB faculty members. Pairs of students select a faculty member from the schedule. The faculty member selects a recent peer-reviewed paper for each week. The students read the paper along with background literature and prepare two presentations that together cover the components of the Preliminary Exam.

Hypothesis Design and Grant Writing Skills

This is a course based on developing and testing hypotheses that will provide an overview and real-world experience of the grant-writing process, as well as responding to criticisms and presenting one’s grant in a precise but concise manner.

Translational Approaches in Cancer Biology

This is a lab/clinic-based course in which students complete training objectives in multiple modules of translational/applied cancer research (clinical, animal models, targeted therapy, intellectual property, bioinformatics, nanotechnology and population science).

Cell Biology 1

Eukaryotic protein traffic and related topics, including molecular motors and cytoskeletal dynamics, organelle architecture and biogenesis, protein translocation and sorting, compartmentalization in the secretory pathway, endocytosis and exocytosis, and mechanisms and regulation of membrane fusion.

Stem Cells and Regeneration

The course will focus on the basic biology of stem cells and regeneration, highlighting biomedically relevant findings that have the potential to translate to the clinic. We will cover embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as adult stem cells from a variety of systems, both invertebrate and vertebrates.

Genomics and Systems Biology

This lecture course explores the technologies that enable high-throughput collection of genomic-scale data, including sequencing, genotyping, gene expression profiling, assays of copy number variation, protein expression and protein-protein interaction.

Protein Fundamentals

The course covers the physical chemical phenomena that define protein structure and function. Topics include:  the principles of protein folding, molecular motion and molecular recognition; protein evolution, design and engineering; enzyme catalysis; regulation of protein function and molecular machines; proteomics and systems biology.