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Graduate Programs

The Wistar Institute offers opportunities for students who wish to further their education through graduate programs focused on the areas of research emphasized by Wistar’s scientific faculty. Through academic partnerships with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Sciences, Wistar can continue to play an important role in training the next generation of scientists.

University of Pennsylvania

Predoctoral trainees at Wistar are Ph.D. or combined M.D.-Ph.D. candidates in one of the graduate groups (Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Cell & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Genomics & Computational Biology, Immunology, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology) of the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania oversees all the course work required by the graduate programs represented by the predoctoral trainees at The Wistar Institute. The faculty of The Wistar Institute also contribute significantly to such teaching efforts. The courses required are defined by the curriculum committee for each graduate group, and members of The Wistar Institute faculty serve on these committees.

The trainees obtain a basic foundation of knowledge through lecture and seminar courses and obtain experimental research experience at the University of Pennsylvania or within The Wistar Institute. In addition, a number of predoctoral students each year, working either at the Institute or the University, choose to supplement their course work by participating in a “Cancer Biology” course offered annually at Wistar that covers both molecular and clinical aspects of cancer research.

Predoctoral trainees select a dissertation laboratory and their progress is monitored by their dissertation advisor, selected faculty at The Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, and by Wistar's Training Committee. At the appropriate time, the trainee obtains permission to write the dissertation, and the Training Committee is informed of consent. In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D., the dissertation committee must approve the dissertation and an oral presentation and defense of the dissertation.

When all the requirements of the individual's graduate group have been satisfied, the Ph.D. is granted by the University of Pennsylvania.

University of the Sciences

The cancer biology graduate degree program—jointly administered by The Wistar Institute and University of the Sciences (USciences)—trains individuals with outstanding potential for a successful academic or industrial career in cancer biology and drug development.

This comprehensive, integrated cancer biology graduate program is centered on the involvement of Wistar faculty and USciences faculty and provides an inclusive, broad-based graduate educational venue that complements and expands existing opportunities for cancer training in the greater Philadelphia area. Successful candidates will be granted a Ph.D. in cancer biology from University of the Sciences.

This integrated program focuses on cutting-edge strategies in translational aspects such as cancer prevention and therapy while also emphasizing the process of drug discovery, including hands-on training. The curriculum equips students to succeed in a multidisciplinary environment as both hypothesis-driven academic cancer researchers and industrial or academic discoverers. Students in this program have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in biology, biochemistry or a related field, as well as laboratory experience in at least two of the following areas: microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, or cellular biology.

Students in the cancer biology program participate in courses at the University of Sciences and The Wistar Institute and engage in hands-on training at Wistar’s Molecular Screening and Protein Expression Facility.

The Wistar Institute gratefully acknowledges generous support for the Cancer Biology Graduate Program from the Cigna Foundation, the Scholler Foundation, and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation.

Contact Us

For more information about these graduate programs, contact:

Brian Keith, Ph.D.
The Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104