Masters in Cancer Biology: Salary & Jobs

A background in cancer biology can be applied to several different research- and lab-oriented careers. Explore several of the career options for graduates with a master's degree in the field, as well as the median salary for each job.

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A master's degree in cancer biology can give students the advanced laboratory and research skills necessary for several scientific research careers. Although not all of these careers may work with cancer directly, some research findings from these positions may have applications to new treatments in the field of cancer biology. Here we discuss a few of the related careers for graduates with a master's degree in cancer biology.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Cancer Biology

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Microbiologists $66,850 4%
Biochemists and Biophysicists $82,180 8%
Epidemiologists $70,820 6%
Natural Sciences Managers $119,850 3%
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists $61,070 14%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Descriptions


Microbiologists may need a master's degree for more advanced positions in the field to study microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and more. Although microbiologists may not work with cancer directly, their research on how these microorganisms affect various environments may have implications for medicines and treatments of diseases, including cancer. A master's in cancer biology would also provide graduates with the necessary laboratory skills needed for a microbiologist to conduct their complex research projects studying these microorganisms and developing new drugs. These scientists must carefully document their procedures and findings in reports and scientific papers.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

A master's degree may qualify graduates for some entry-level positions as a biochemist or biophysicist who examines the chemical and physical components of biological processes. Their research could have huge implications in cancer biology and other health-related conditions as they study the effects of drugs and substances on these biological processes. They may also be involved in breaking down cancer or other diseases to look at its DNA, proteins and other components on the molecular scale to learn more about the disease and how it lives and grows. Their work is presented in technical reports and research papers that are available to other scientists.


Epidemiologists need a master's degree to study the causes and patterns of human diseases. Some of these professionals may focus their studies on cancer or other health topics like injuries, infectious diseases, chronic diseases, environmental health and more. Epidemiologists collect and analyze data to try to determine the causes of these health conditions and figure out ways to prevent the spreading of these conditions, if possible. They discuss their findings with other public health officials and may help develop public health programs to educate the community and improve overall health.

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers may hold a master's degree and typically have several years of experience working as a scientist. These managers oversee teams of biologists, chemists and other scientists who are working on a variety of projects, some of which may involve cancer biology and research. Natural sciences managers are responsible for coordinating the efforts of these scientists and monitoring their work for accuracy and compliance with procedures. They also keep a project running on time and within budget, and communicate progress with the client.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

Although most medical and clinical laboratory technologists only need a bachelor's degree, some may earn a master's degree on their way to becoming a medical scientist or reaching other advanced positions. These technologists are responsible for conducting the various medical tests that may be ordered for a patient, including those with cancer. They may collect tissue, blood or other biological samples to test with complex laboratory equipment. Their findings are included in a patient's medical records and discussed with physicians to help determine the best treatment for a patient.

A degree program in cancer biology gives graduates the background in biology, chemistry and laboratory skills that are easily transferable to several research-oriented careers that may have implications in the field of healthcare. Most of these positions are expected to grow in the future and offer relatively high median salaries.

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