How to Apply to the PhD in Cancer Biology Program at PCOM
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PhD in Cancer Biology 
Application Requirements

Admission to PCOM's PhD in Cancer Biology program is comprehensive as well as competitive. We seek candidates who combine academic excellence, research experience, passion for the field, and a commitment to advancing knowledge and making a positive impact in the fight against cancer.


Quick Facts: PhD in Cancer Biology

  • Duration: 5-7 years
  • Credits: 99-121
  • Location: PCOM + The Wistar Institute
  • Start Term: Fall (August)
A female student looks through a microscope.
Degree and prerequisite coursework requirements
  • Satisfactory completion of a bachelor’s degree with strong coursework in the sciences from a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
  • If an applicant has completed a degree(s) from institutions outside of the United States, he/she must request an official course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services ( that validates equivalency to a U.S. degree.
  • Demonstrated research experience
Test requirements
  • Admission to the Cancer Biology PhD program is test-optional. A candidate may submit an official score report from the GRE, PCAT, DAT, OAT, or MCAT.
What does the PhD in Cancer Biology program look for?

PCOM Admissions Committees review applications holistically, taking several factors into account when assessing applications for interview and acceptance to the Cancer Biology PhD program. Interviews and admissions decisions for the program are granted not solely on academics, but after consideration of all aspects of an application including but not limited to: letters of recommendation, autobiographical statements, and research experience. The candidate's application, personal statement, and interviews should demonstrate their passion and interest in cancer biology, as the program seeks individuals motivated to make meaningful contributions to understanding and treating cancer. Additionally, the ideal candidate should possess dedication, resilience, and the ability to work independently and as part of a team. The candidate needs to understand the program's strengths and how their research interests correspond to those of the faculty.

How do you apply to PCOM's PhD in Cancer Biology program?

Prospective students may submit their application through PCOM's online application management system. Additional details, including application availability and instructions, are available on the application portal.

When is the deadline to apply?

This academic program operates on a rolling admissions basis. The application closes on Friday, August 2, 2024, but an early application is highly recommended.

Where do I send my college transcripts?

Note that official college transcripts from all colleges/universities/schools attended must be sent directly to:

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Office of Admissions
4170 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131

We will accept electronic transcripts via mail, eScript and/or Parchment Services and National Student Clearinghouse.

What are the next steps?

Once your application has been submitted, you will be contacted via email with a confirmation within seven (7) business days of its receipt including reminders of the appropriate steps to complete the application process.

As an applicant to PCOM's PhD in Cancer Biology program, you are responsible for ensuring that all admissions materials are completed accurately and submitted in a timely manner.

Does the committee require an interview?

Yes. Online interviews are conducted for admission into the Cancer Biology PhD program. A candidate will be contacted via email if selected to interview.

PhD in Cancer Biology application fees

The Office of Admissions will acknowledge receipt of each Cancer Biology PhD program application electronically to the email address provided on your application; this message will include instructions on how to pay the PCOM application fee of $75.

Application processing and assessment

Your PhD in Cancer Biology program application will be processed and assessed by the appropriate Faculty Committee on Admissions only after the receipt of:

  • Non-refundable application fee of $75 (required to begin application processing);
  • Official transcripts for all colleges and universities attended
  • Fulfillment of the Letter of Recommendation requirement (see instructions below).

Permanent Residents of the U.S. will be required to provide a copy of their Permanent Resident card ("green card") prior to admission. NOTE: Permanent Residency status "pending" is not eligible for admission.

Important reminder for your PhD in Cancer Biology program application submission

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the receipt of all required materials by PCOM. Candidates are expected to review the applicant portals frequently and to exercise patience during the processing of all application materials.

We do not provide status updates, but encourage applicants to access their PCOM application portal to review their materials.

PCOM requires all students to adhere to PCOM's Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation [PDF].

Letters of recommendation

The letter of recommendation requirement for Cancer Biology admission is as follows.

A minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation (three [3] preferred) are required from individuals who know the applicant in a professional capacity and can comment on one's character, work ethic, academic history, scientific acumen, research skills, empathy, compassion, resilience, emotional intelligence and commitment to a career in research. The Faculty Committee of Admissions strongly prefers that the letters be from the following sources:

  • Undergraduate, graduate or post-baccalaureate faculty (preferably those who delivered a candidate’s completed science coursework), who can attest to academic performance and aptitude. We highly recommend at least one letter from an academic source.
  • Researchers with whom a candidate has had a professional relationship, who can attest to the applicant's research experiences and overall fit for the profession.

Candidates who may not have the ability to submit letters from any/all of the above sources should select letter writers who know them in a professional capacity and can comment on the applicant's character, work ethic, academic history, scientific acumen, empathy, compassion, resilience, emotional intelligence, commitment and/or knowledge of the research environment.

How do you submit your letters of recommendation for PCOM’s Cancer Biology PhD program?
  • All recommendation letters for the Cancer Biology PhD program must be on letterhead and preferably signed by the recommenders.
  • Recommendation letters must be submitted via email to We cannot accept letters from other sources.
  • Letters of recommendation processed through Interfolio may, upon your request to Interfolio, be emailed directly to
Cancer Biology PhD program interviews

Qualified PhD in Cancer Biology program applicants selected by the Faculty Committee on Admissions are invited for a virtual interview on a rolling basis.

When do interviews occur?

Interviews for the PhD in Cancer Biology program will be conducted on a rolling basis until a desired class size has been met for the class entering the following Fall term. If you are selected for an interview, you will be sent an email with required next steps. A candidate can be selected for an interview at any time throughout the review process at each location as deemed competitive by the Faculty Committee on Admissions.

How are selected candidates notified?

Applicants to our Cancer Biology PhD program will receive an email from Please add this address to your directory so they will not be captured in any email filters.

Again, we will use the email address provided on your application. Please check your account on a regular basis. It is your responsibility to update your email address within your PCOM application portal if it changes.

Interviewed candidates are usually notified within 4-6 weeks of their interview date.

Accepted PhD in Cancer Biology program applicants are asked to confirm their enrollment by submitting a completed Technical Standards document [PDF].

Criminal background check requirement

The College requires a criminal background check for all program applicants and enrolled students. The PCOM Office of Admissions will facilitate a criminal background check prior to matriculation processed by a PCOM vendor of choice. Subsequent criminal background checks can occur during enrollment, including but not limited to, when the student is conducting internships, clerkships, clinical coursework, or other types of coursework that occur off campus. Any student charged, convicted of, or who pleads guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony crime after the date of the original application submission is required to notify the dean of the program in writing within 10 business days of the occurrence. This communication should be sent by certified mail to the dean at the address on the acceptance letter.

English proficiency requirements

Proficiency in written and oral English appropriate to graduate and professional study is expected of all PCOM students. Any applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must demonstrate objective competency in English within the past two years by satisfactory performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum required score for the IBT (Internet Based Testing) is 79 and a minimum score of 26 is required for the speaking component. Your score is considered too old, and will not be accepted, if it is more than 2 years old from the start of your admission term. Country of citizenship does not exempt applicants from this requirement. Language of instruction at the college or university level, and how recent it has been, are the determining factors in meeting this requirement. General writing assistance is available for theses and dissertations, however, as an institution offering only graduate and professional programs, PCOM does not offer remedial ESL coursework.

Applicants are exempt from this requirement if:

  • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate level; or
  • they have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment; or
  • they have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction, not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.
  • By Dean or Program Director’s request, the exemption could be overruled.