How to Apply

The Duke University program in Molecular Cancer Biology is designed to generate independent scholars who are interested in augmenting current knowledge on the basic mechanisms underlying cell growth, differentiation, and development, and discerning how these processes are perturbed in cancer cells. This knowledge will aid in the development of improved anticancer therapies.

The advantages of enrolling in the Molecular Cancer Biology program are:

• It is a degree-granting program that confers a Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology.

• The funding mechanisms of the program provide financial support to the students, allowing devotion of full attention to course work and laboratory research, thus accelerating progress toward completion of the Ph.D. degree.

• The students in the program may affiliate with any of the program faculty without concern of the departmental affiliation of the faculty mentor. This allows students complete freedom to choose a laboratory that it is most appropriate to their research interests.

• Graduate training is enhanced by the interactive nature of the faculty, the diverse processes under investigation, and the multiple approaches used by the participant researchers.

• The Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology has an internship program for all PhD candidates in the Department to participate in an 8 week internship program. To be eligible, students must join the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics as student members. Most students will need to be post-prelim in order to be eligible for the internship, but there is some flexibility for timing to allow students to coordinate with their thesis work. Current corporate partners include Celgene, G1 Therapeutics, Incyte, Innocrin, Metabolon, Metacrine, Pfizer, and Roivant . We expect to add additional corporate partners in the future.

Students accepted into the Program will usually have earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, chemistry or engineering. This program does not require applicants to provide GRE or other graduate entrance exam scores, but does allow you to upload scores if you feel they enhance your application. If you choose to submit test scores, you may enter them on the Test Scores page. If you choose to enter self-reported test scores, official test scores will become a required component of your application. The TOEFL test is required of all foreign applicants.

To apply, please visit the Duke University Graduate School web site. All application materials should be sent to the graduate school office. The institutional code for the Duke University Graduate School is 5156 for both the GRE and TOEFL. No departmental code is necessary since all test scores come to the Graduate School and are distributed to the appropriate departments. Once all materials are received, the department will review the application.

We do not accept applications for spring semester matriculation.

Admissions Program Statistics for the last 10 years, including average GPA and GRE’s, is available on the graduate school web site.

Minorities are encouraged to apply. The graduate training program in Molecular Cancer Biology is committed to increasing the involvement of under-represented minorities in graduate education. Financial aid is available for qualified minority applicants through a variety of funding mechanisms. For more information, please visit The IDEALS Office website.

The Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Graduate School are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, as well as applicable state regulations and federal and state privacy laws. We encourage applications from all sectors of society, including those whose life experiences may include the challenge of access due to a disability.

If you believe you may need and qualify for reasonable accommodations, please visit Duke’s Disability Management System (DMS) at for detailed information and procedures. The knowledgeable staff at DMS serve Duke’s undergraduate, graduate and professional students, trainees, employees, and faculty, as well as the public, in support of Duke University and Duke University Health System efforts to ensure an accessible, hospitable working and learning environment for people with disabilities. Through DMS, Duke ensures consistent processes for requesting accommodations, evaluating needs, and determining appropriate response, and the DMS serves as a clearinghouse for disability-related information, procedures and services available at Duke, in Durham, and in North Carolina.  For more information about DMS visit

In support of disabled trainees, the School of Medicine offers a Biomedical Graduate Fellowship for disabled trainees that provides a $5,000 stipend supplement. Trainees are deemed eligible by the Duke Student Disability Access Office for both accommodation and the fellowship. The Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity is partnering with Duke Counseling and Psychological Services to hold programmatic initiatives that support disabled students (for example, workshops on decreasing stress associated with imposter syndrome). The School of Medicine also plans to create focus groups with all currently enrolled disabled biomedical PhD trainees to ensure that the program and institution actively create an environment to promote their scientific success.

Financial support for both tuition and stipend is available on a competitive basis to all qualified applicants. The bulk of the support for the MCB Program derives from a Federal training grant and hence these funds are available only to US citizens and permanent residents.

Support derived from the Graduate School (generally sufficient to support 1-2 students per year) is available to both US residents and international students.

In addition, students frequently receive individual awards through independent funding agencies.