Tumor Biology


The Tumor Biology Program is designed to provide comprehensive training in cancer research, leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. degree. This interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program supports education and training of graduate level cancer researchers and is one of less than a dozen such programs in the U.S.

Tumor biology at Georgetown is broadened and enriched by interactions with a wide range of basic science and clinical departments, including biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, cell biology, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology, physiology and biophysics, pathology, otolaryngology, radiation medicine and medicine.

Areas of particular strength include research in breast cancer, tobacco use, gene-environment interactions, diet and nutrition, developmental therapeutics, molecular cytogenetics as well as tumor angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis.

A wide variety of facilities are available to support the training program. These include: macromolecular synthesis and sequencing shared resource; flow cytometry/cell sorting resource; image analysis center; tissue culture resource; histopathology and tissue resource; serum and plasma bank; microscopy and imaging resource; drug metabolite analysis resource; molecular modeling resource; molecular diagnostics shared resource; and the molecular cytogenetics shared resource.

Degrees Offered

  • M.S.
  • Ph.D.
  • M.D./Ph.D.

Application Deadlines

M.S. Program

Fall 2021

       May 15, 2021 

Ph.D. Program

Summer 2021

December 1, 2020

M.D./Ph.D. Program

Check website: http://som.georgetown.edu/prospectivestudents/degrees/dualdegree

Application Requirements

Please be sure to review the Graduate School Admissions How to Apply page.


Please read the complete admissions information found on the the Biomedical Graduate Education page.

Application Materials required for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs:

  • Application Form
  • Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Personal Statement (Include your reasons for choosing tumor biology research as a career and your past research experience, if any)
  • Transcripts – Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Visit our How to Apply (new window) page for additional details and FAQs.
  • 3 Official Letters Recommendations
  • Official Score Report for the TOEFL/IELTS (please see below)
  • Graduate Record Examination (general and subject) or MCAT scores are required for the M.S. program.  GRE scores are optional for Ph.D. applicants but may be submitted if desired (e.g., if the applicant wishes to demonstrate improved academic performance).

TBIO Admissions Philosophy

The primary consideration for acceptance into the Tumor Biology Training Program is a student’s potential for the highest quality academic scholarship and research. We ask each applicant to present her or his strongest case for admission.

Additional information is available at: http://tumorbiology.georgetown.edu/tbio-ms-admissions

Application Materials required for the M.D./Ph.D. program:

Application to the M.D./Ph.D. program requires ONLY an application to Georgetown medical school; a separate application to graduate school is NOT required. Similarly, the GRE is not required except for the those candidates interested in performing their doctoral thesis in bioethics. There are no specific GPA or MCAT score cutoffs used for admission to the M.D./Ph.D. program. Students matriculating in the program enter as undifferentiated graduate students, and make a choice about their graduate program sometime during their first three years of study.

Apply as an M.D./Ph.D. candidate via the AMCAS system. This will require two extra essays at this initial step. When you receive the secondary application, make sure to denote that you are an M.D./Ph.D. applicant.

Additional information is available at: http://som.georgetown.edu/prospectivestudents/degrees/dualdegree.

General Qualifications and Prerequisites

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required, although 3.5 or higher is preferred.
  • GRE General Test required for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.
    • M.S. Program: No minimum score, however scores of 600 or 150 (depending on the version taken) or higher for each section (Verbal and Quantitative), and 4.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section, are preferred
    • Ph.D. Program: No minimum score, however combined scores of 1,300 or 314 (depending on the version taken) for the Verbal and Quantitative sections, and 4.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section are preferred
  • Previous research experience is preferred.
  • Previous research publications are preferred. (Does not apply to M.S. applicants.)


Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for M.S. applicants and optional for Ph.D. applicants. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE scores.  Georgetown University’s GRE score reporting code is 5244. Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at:   http://www.gre.org/ttindex.html


All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English). All other applicants must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE or TOEFL/IELTS scores.

TOEFL: A minimum score of 80 (iBT) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Georgetown University Biomedical Graduate Education TOEFL score reporting code is 5244.  TOEFL information can be found at: http://www.ets.org/toefl/

Degree Requirements
M.S. Program

The M.S. degree option is a 30-credit program requiring a minimum of 24 credits of non-research coursework plus 6 credits of Cancer Research Techniques (laboratory research experience).

The M.S. program provides 2 tracks: Standard Track or Cancer Systems Biology Track (see curriculum at: http://tumorbiology.georgetown.edu/tbio-ms-curriculum).

Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. curriculum consists of 33 credit hours (two years) of didactic coursework, laboratory training, cancer literature discussion groups, and seminar series (see curriculum at: http://tumorbiology.georgetown.edu/phd-curriculum).

Upon completion of coursework, the student must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination. The student then enters the thesis research phase of training in the laboratory of a faculty mentor, culminating with the preparation of a written dissertation and its oral defense.

Students are also required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average for all coursework. In addition, current topics and student seminars must be attended each semester until completion of the Ph.D. program.

M.D./Ph.D. Program

Information regarding the M.D./Ph.D. program and degree requirements is available at http://tumorbiology.georgetown.edu/md-phd.

For more information, please visit the department website.

IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information: http://www.ielts.org/