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The online post-baccalaureate certificate and master of science degree programs in Molecular Basis of Cancer train students to obtain understanding of the molecular, cellular and physiological basis of cancer. Offered by the prestigious Drexel University College of Medicine faculty with expertise in cancer research, this program prepares students for a career in basic, translational and clinical research in cancer biology. It is also designed to help advance the career of those who are currently working in the field of cancer biology.

The online certificate (CMCA) and master of science (MCAN) programs build foundational knowledge in cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, with an emphasis in cancer pathophysiology. All the required and elective courses are remote asynchronous and are designed to be finished in three (certificate) to six (master of science) semesters.

Program Features

  • Both the certificate and master of science degree can be completed on a part-time basis, with one or two courses per semester. It offers flexibility to students who wish to continue their employment while finishing their degree.
  • The certificate and master of science programs are “stackable.” All credits and courses completed in the certificate can be counted towards the master of science degree.
  • The curriculum relates basic science knowledge to cancer pathophysiology. It enables students to apply what they learned in class to research and development of novel diagnostics, therapeutics and treatment of cancer.
  • Program director and faculty work closely with students to ensure their success.
  • No thesis or in-person laboratory work required.
  • The master of science in Molecular Basis of Cancer (MCAN) is the only fully online degree program in cancer biology in the US.

Open House

Watch a recorded open house webinar about the Molecular Basis of Cancer program.

 Learn more about the curriculum.

Is This Program for Me?

Both recent graduates and professionals actively working in the cancer biology field are encouraged to apply. The online certificate program provides in-depth knowledge in the molecular, cellular and physiological basis of cancer necessary for you to launch or advance your career. Students who are interested in or are currently working on basic science, translational or clinical research in cancer biology will benefit from completing the online certificate program.

If you are interested in acquiring in-person laboratory experiences, you can learn more about our MS program in Cancer Biology here.

Choosing Between the Certificate and MS Programs

Please compare the information in the following table that highlights the differences between the certificate and master of science programs to help you decided which program is more suitable for your career and goals.


Post-baccalaureate Certificate

Master of Science

Total credits needed to complete



Length to complete (2 or 3 courses/semester)

3 semesters

6 semesters

Numbers of required courses

4 (11 credits)

7 (17-19 credits)

Financial Aid

Not eligible


Application materials

Resume, personal statement, transcripts, two letters of recommendation

Resume, personal statement, transcripts, three letters of recommendation

Optional practicum