CBIO HandbookCBIO Handbook

Coursework | Rotations | Qualifying | Retreat | IDP | Committee Meetings | Dissertation | Resources


CBIO students must be registered for classes in all semesters. All required courses MUST BE taken with a letter grade. If a student does not earn a grade of "B" or better in a required course, the course must be repeated. Refer to the CBIO Core Classes or Suggested Elective Courses page for more information. Refer to the CBIO Handbook for the full details. 

Total units required for completion of degree per Grad College:

  • 36 units in Major (1/2 of which must be graded. All core courses are graded)
  • 9 units in Minor (Cancer Biology can be your minor or you can have a "Distributed Minor" with courses from different majors)
  • 18 Dissertation units (CBIO 920)

Program requirements must be completed (short version, refer to Handbook for full version):

  • Complete all core coursework. A "C" grade in CORE coursework is grounds for dismissal. Maintain minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Submit required forms through GradPath. Comprehensive Exam cannot be scheduled until forms have been submitted. 
  • Successfully pass Comprehensive Exam by the end of your 3rd year of graduate school. No later.
  • Maximum time allowed to complete PhD after Comprehensive Exam is 5 years. 


ABBS Laboratory Rotations

A minimum of three laboratory rotations will be required of all new students during the first year. Students must choose a thesis advisor prior to the end of March during their first year. Please be aware of emails regarding how to upload rotation summaries.

CBIO Retreat

Every CBIO student, beginning in their second year, must present a poster at the CBIO retreat

Annual Progress Meeting

Each CBIO student starting at the end of their first year will have an annual progress meeting which includes an individual development plan (IDP). This meeting is with two CBIO faculty members without the presence of their thesis mentor. Please complete and update your IDP form prior to this meeting. This is a chance for students to talk to the IDP Committee Members about any issues that they may have in lab, as well as, a chance for the student to update the committee on his/her progress. Click here for the most updated IDP Form. 

Annual Committee Meeting 

Every student, beginning in their second year, must have an annual meeting with his/her committee in order to assess progress and provide advice toward his/her degree. After each meeting, the Annual Committee Meeting form must be filled out and submitted to the CBIO GIDP program office. Click here for the most updated Committee Meeting Form. CBIO students are responsible for scheduling the date and time for the meetings with the supervisory committee. In light of faculty members’ schedules, it is advisable to begin looking for a meeting time about one month in advance. Once the meeting is scheduled, the program coordinator, Anne Cione, can assist with reserving a room.

Preliminary Qualifying Exam

The UA Cancer Biology Prelim is a two-part examination: 1) an R01 NIH-style written proposal not to exceed 12 pages (excluding references) and 2) an oral defense. The qualifying committee consists of five faculty members including the student's thesis advisor (three faculty affiliated with Cancer Biology, two faculty affiliated with the student's minor -- which also could be Cancer Biology). The composition of this committee is chosen by the student and thesis advisor prior to the first committee meeting. The written and oral defense should represent the student's own effort to identify a scientific question and develop appropriate experimental designs in an R01 styled grant. The qualifying exam must be taken prior to the summer, third year. If necessary, one retake will be permitted. Do not forget to fill out the necessary GradPath forms! For additional details, please review the CBIO Handbook, located below

Dissertation and Oral Examination

A key component toward earning your PhD is the dissertation that details the contributions made toward the general knowledge of Cancer Biology. The written dissertation is presented to the committee no later than three weeks before the schedule Final Oral Dissertation Defense. The Final Oral Dissertation Defense is scheduled through GradPath and the room is schedule through the Cancer Biology GIDP office. The Final Oral Dissertation Defense is a public presentation followed by a private meeting of the student and the committee. Do NOT forget to fill out the necessary GradPath Forms. For additional details, please refer to the CBIO Handbook

Other University Requirements for Graduation 

Please consult the University of Arizona Graduate Student Handbook. 


Handbook: CBIO Handbook

Committee Meeting Form

Individual Development Plan (IDP) Form