Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides a training and support framework for the academic and professional development of students undertaking cancer-related research within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer (VCCC) Alliance.

Tapping into the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience offered by the ten partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance, the University of Melbourne’s Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary cancer-related PhD candidates to experience clinical and research activities across the alliance.

This integrated program will provide academic and specialist cancer research training that will broaden their knowledge and the context of their research. The program is designed to complement existing PhD  activities and provides opportunities to develop professional skills that will help candidates to fulfil their career ambitions.


Students in the Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program will have access to opportunities across the alliance that will assist them in developing a thorough understanding of the bench-to-bedside model that is fundamental to the Comprehensive Cancer Centre approach to integrated research

Students undertake their PhD research activities in their host  department/organisation, but will also have access to the Comprehensive Cancer PhD program to bolster their research and  professional development

The high calibre of expertise across the VCCC alliance provides a unique opportunity to harness expertise spanning discovery-based research through to patient outcomes:

  • Multidisciplinary program open to all cancer-related postgraduate research students across VCCC
  • Incorporating basic, translational and clinical research
  • Provide scholarly and specialist cancer research training
  • Build breadth in research knowledge and skills
  • Assist with academic progress and timely completion
  • Address emerging cancer research training needs
  • Breadth of clinical and research experiences
  • Complement existing PhD and department activities
  • Clinical and research experiences
  • Formal record of participation


Peter Mac is one of the world’s leading cancer research, education and treatment centres globally and is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer. We have over 2,500 staff, including more than 580 laboratory and clinical researchers, all focused on providing better treatments, better care and potential cures for cancer.  This provides Peter Mac research students with a unique opportunity to become part of Peter Mac's drive to be at the forefront of this major transformation in cancer care and discovery.

Our postgraduate research program provides excellence in research training and support for all laboratory and clinician research students as they develop expertise in new technologies, and help drive new discoveries that lead to changes in research and clinical practice.

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD (CCPhD) program is administered by Peter Mac, and is modelled on Peter Mac's research education structure.

We provide a world-class research education program at a leading Australian cancer research institution for students from The University of Melbourne and other national and international universities.  Our postgraduate research program provides excellence in research training and support for all laboratory and clinician research students as they develop expertise in new technologies, and help drive new discoveries that lead to changes in research and clinical practice. Our model for research education and training, includes: 
1) Postgraduate Program Requirements, including support for the research project, progress reviews and supervisor training and management, 
2) Research skills development, including mastery of core technologies, critical analysis through exposure to journal clubs, scientific seminars and presentations, 
3) Professional and Career development, including generic and transferable skills, mentoring, networking, leadership, and career opportunities and 
4) Science Communication including thesis and journal writing skills and oral or poster presentations at conferences. 

Complementing established conventional training for biomedical research students, our program allows our students to develop a higher degree of independence and leadership during their candidature to enhance preparation for a competitive and broader job-market.

Collaborative interaction with national and international peers is a lynchpin of any vibrant program. Peter Mac is continually seeking to work with the best worldwide and the world’s best are increasingly seeking out Peter Mac researchers to interact with.

In speaking to past research students, it is immediately evident that the two factors most strongly influencing their decision to join and stay at Peter Mac are firstly, the opportunity to be mentored by a strong and collegiate group of senior researchers and secondly, the well-established research infrastructure that enabled them to perform virtually any type of experiment they required at affordable cost. This is a strong vindication of our strategy of identifying, seeding and supporting the growth of an enabling environment, both in terms of talented senior personnel and first-class research infrastructure.

Find out more about our postgraduate program and becoming a student at Peter Mac.



The flexible program is designed to be of interest to PhD students with either a scientific or clinical background, including medical graduates, nursing and allied health specialists.

Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline and  meet university PhD entrance requirements. Applicants must also enrol to undertake a cancer-related PhD in an organisation that is part of the VCCC Alliance.

There are two general stages in preparing to become a student in the CCPhD programs. Students must:

1. Find a project and supervisor for their research program. Download the Peter Mac 2018 Student Project Book. Contact supervisors directly to discuss your interest in their project.

2. Meet the university's degree eligibility and entry requirements. Find out more.

3. Once enrolled in a cancer-related PhD project, students are eligible to join the CCPhD program.


FInd out more about the University of Melbourne program, the alliance organisations and their available projects.

For general information on the CCPhD program, email: [email protected]