What Is Cancer Biology?

The UAB cancer biology program offers a thorough and comprehensive understanding of cancer cell biology and behavior, including:

  • carcinogenesis
  • proliferation
  • cancer genetics
  • the tumor microenvironment
  • cell signaling
  • cancer immunology

Upon graduation, our students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of current cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, gene therapy, and personalized approaches to cancer treatment.

Why Major in Cancer Biology at UAB?

In a nutshell—because we are the only university in the nation offering this innovative program.

Students in the UAB cancer biology program will gain a broad background in the biomedical sciences through courses that support current biomedical requirements in academic, private, and government settings. This interdisciplinary curriculum is anchored in cell biology and chemistry. It also includes microbiology, immunology, genetics, pathology, pharmacology, and medicine.

Research is required in this program. Our students will have early exposure to a cutting-edge research environment; they'll participate in investigator-led programs in multiple research-intensive departments at UAB.


The anticipated expansion in healthcare-focused research and development, including the NIH $1 billion “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, will require more specialized professionals. The cancer biology program is designed to help students pursue these opportunities in Alabama and nationwide. Graduates of this program are expected to be extremely competitive for graduate/professional schools and to be able to consider a wide range of employment opportunities in both public and private sectors, including working:

  • as laboratory technicians/research assistant in basic and clinical laboratories
  • in laboratories, medicine, healthcare administration, and pharmaceutical/scientific sales
  • in healthcare in clinical trials
  • in policy
  • as counselors and educators
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If you are a current student and wish to change your major, be sure to speak with your current advisor(s). Find your advisor(s) listed on your student profile page when you log in to BlazerNET.

Then you can change your major on BlazerNET. Find more information here.