Harvard Medical School Post-Graduate Certificate Program

Course Overview


State-of-the-Art Principles and Skills Development for High-Impact Cancer Research

Cancer Biology & Therapeutics: High-Impact Cancer Research is the acclaimed Harvard Medical School post-graduate certificate program for cancer research. It teaches the principles and skills shaping today’s most important cancer research activities.  

Participants learn directly from distinguished leading experts who have achieved breakthroughs in fields from discovery biology to therapeutics and prevention. Faculty are leaders from Harvard and other internationally recognized institutes.


With so many new and promising strategies and recent developments, the opportunities to produce and enable high-impact cancer research are unprecedented. Recent advances continue to expand and reshape our views of the essential features of cancer. We are learning important new aspects of how cancers develop, how to find and diagnose cancers earlier, how to design and unleash powerful new anti-cancer therapies, and how to evaluate cancer risk and even prevent tumors from arising. These advances are delivering useful, productive changes that lead to better cancer outcomes. 

In this special program, world leaders in cancer research share their insights and teach this changing science. Participants learn the new fundamentals of a wide spectrum of cancer science and the skills necessary to envision, design, and lead cutting-edge cancer research projects that can contribute to these changes. 

This program is designed to help participants make high-impact contributions that lead to better cancer outcomes. As a participant, you will:

  • Explore the most current understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of cancer development, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
  • Learn innovative science from the innovators themselves
  • Hear about new cancer treatments from the individuals who developed the therapies and are testing them in ongoing clinical trials
  • Hone the skills necessary to identify and answer key questions needed to make your own future contributions
  • Customize your learning experience for your specific interests
  • Build an international network of colleagues and friends

This Harvard Medical School program is open to both new and seasoned researchers. The customized facets of this program enable you to tailor your learning experience to your specific research interests and career goals. 


This program features an innovative learning model that is structured around the practical needs of research professionals. The latest information on cancer is presented through a blend of different teaching formats. 

This learning model includes:

  • Three workshops hosted at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA):
    • October 29–November 2, 2018
    • April 8–12, 2019
    • October 21–26, 2019

Workshops feature highly interactive teaching experiences and afford participants time with leading researchers in cancer biology, prevention, risk assessment, clinical tumor development, and cancer therapeutics.

  • The opportunity to learn directly from Harvard’s leading faculty in discovery biology and clinical tumor development and from internationally recognized leaders in the cancer research community who have achieved breakthroughs in therapeutics, risk assessment and prevention.     
  • A comprehensive core curriculum that is presented in 120+ live lectures, on-demand lectures, and live online webinars.
  • Peer-to-peer learning projects that allow participants to learn from one another, while producing publication-quality reports on important aspects of cancer research. This also allows each participant to develop a large network of international colleagues who will be resources throughout their career.
  • The ability to customize your learning experience and skills development around your interests and career goals. Customization of your program starts with your selection of an education track for deeper immersion into one of four areas:
    • Cancer -Omics
    • Clinically Challenging Cancers
    • Risk and Prevention
    • Therapeutic Development 

Customization extends to skills-development projects and culminates in a personalized Capstone Project, with guidance from a faculty mentor chosen expressly for you based upon your specific research objectives.

  • Two optional electives:
    • Communications
    • Leadership and Management



    Every participant of Cancer Biology & Therapeutics: High-Impact Cancer Research is paired with a Harvard faculty mentor. Mentors are chosen by the program directors based upon the mentor’s expertise in your general area of interest.

    Your mentor will provide guidance for your Capstone Project, including:

    • Counseling you and providing assistance in choosing the subject for your project
    • Providing feedback on your paper’s outline
    • Reviewing the first and final drafts of your project and providing guidance to help you optimize its value to you and/or your institution


    Upon successful completion of the program requirements, participants are awarded a Harvard Medical School Certificate of Completion and are eligible to become Associate Members of the Harvard Medical School Alumni Association.