School of Health Sciences & Education

Cancer Care, Academic Programs


Embrace a Multi-disciplinary Approach to Cancer Care at Saint Francis University 

The American Cancer Society projects that there will be more than 22 million cancer survivors in the U.S. by 2030. While that is a wonderful statistic, "survivorship" is not synonymous with "cured."  Cancer is currently understood as a chronic disease with the specter of recurrence and metastasis is looming in the shadows.  The healthcare system is changing with the recognition that improvements are urgently needed to the quality of cancer care.


With the right preparation, you can impact the future of cancer care in your role as a healthcare professional.


Choose your Path:

NEW Online Certificate Program: 

  • Our fully online Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Cancer Care can help health professionals working in the field, have a better understanding of cancer survivors and their caregivers. (Opening Summer 2022)


Master's Degree Program:

  • Master of Science in Cancer Care (on-campus. full-time)


there is a growing need for trained healthcare professionals in the area of cancer survivorship

 22 million cancer survivors will be in need of post-acute treatment support by the year 2030

clinical and research opportunities abound at SFU related to cancer prevention, rehabilitation, and survivorship


Cancer Care the Saint Francis Way

Cancer rehabilitation can assist individuals with cancer in improving their physical, psychosocial, and vocational function within the limitations imposed by the disease of cancer and its treatments. The Cancer Care program at SFU was established to advance knowledge and bring advocacy to rural cancer survivors. 

A Franciscan Commitment to Cancer Care 

St. Francis of Assisi went out into the world to minister to the marginalized, preaching the Gospel through actions. In our Cancer Care program, we follow his model and strive to educate caring, compassionate, professionals who use their talents for the greater good.  


Academic Highlights

  • Flexible paths: You may choose to pursue a master's degree on campus or gain skills through our certificate program online.

  • Multi-disciplinary approach: Taught by faculty specializing in Biology, Exercise Physiology, Medicine, Nutrition, Philosophy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, and Social Work. 

  • The Master of Science in Cancer Care is the first master's program in the nation with a multi-disciplinary approach focused on exercise oncology.

  • Aligned with the Center for Rural Cancer Survivorship at SFU founded to provide clinical care, education, and conduct research to meet the needs of rural Pennsylvanians with cancer.

  • On-campus clinical opportunities abound through the Center for Rehabilitation in the  DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness.

A Survivor's Perspective

"I'm grateful that an organization like this cares enough to create a cancer care team, and sees the importance of helping build the foundation of getting well and staying well." ~Linda Gilroy Palmer, breast and ovarian cancer survivor.



Online Certificate in Cancer Care (post-baccalaureate)

This is a fully online certificate is perfect for individuals with a bachelor's degree in any field who seeks advanced study in Cancer Care.

  • Program Snapshot
  • Admissions Information
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Program Snapshot

    • fully online
    • 18 total credits
    • 1-year anticipated completion time (July-May)
    • Courses offered either as 8-week or 15-week sessions 
    • Rolling enrollment 

    In this post-baccalaurate certificate program you will:

    • Gain knowledge in the biopsychosocial aspects of cancer survivorship.
    • Have the opportunity to explore the synergy of individual, disease, and environment.
    • Distinguish between descriptive and analytical epidemiology designs.
    • Apply positive psychology approaches in daily living.

    See the FAQ for additional information on courses.

  • Admissions Requirements: 

    • Completed bachelor's degree in any academic discipline prior to the beginning of the program

    • Completed graduate Admissions application 

    • Admission deadline:  This certificate program has a rolling admission. 


    Dr. Stephen Baker, PhD

  • The student goals of this certificate include: 

    • Students will gain knowledge in the biopsychosocial aspects of cancer survivorship. 

    • Students will have the opportunity to explore the synergy of individual, disease, and environment. 

Master of Science in Cancer Care Program

The Master of Science in Cancer Care curriculum provides education in the biology, epidemiology, psychosocial and methods of treatment and exercise interventions of cancer so that the graduate has a more complete understanding of the disease as well as the skills and knowledge to assist patients and their caregivers to deal with this disease and its limitations.  

  • Program Snapshot
  • Admissions Requirements
  • Learning Objectives
  • Program Snapshot

    • 46 total credits

    • Full-time, on-campus

    • 2-year anticipated completion time

    • Priority enrollment deadline, June 1 

    • Fall semester start time 

    • Tuition and Fees

    Degree Path

    Degree Type Description Course Catalog  Plan of Study

    Master of Science in Cancer Care 

    2-year graduate degree program with an exercise physiology  concentration

    Course Catalog

    Plan of Study

  • Admission Requirements: 

    • Completed bachelor's degree prior to beginning the program.

    • Completed graduate admission application.

    • The completion of the following prerequisites or their equivalent with at least a cumulative 3.000 QPA:
      - General Biology with Lab
      - Human Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab
      - Human Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab
      - Exercise Physiology with Lab*
      - Clinical Exercise Physiology*
      - Exercise Testing and Prescription*
      - One Psychology course at or above the 200 level
       - A Statistics and/or Research Methods course

    • Coursework in Chemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Immunology are suggested but not required.

    • EP-C or similar BS level Certification is recommended but not required 

    *No grades in the conferring degree or prerequisites less than a "C" 
    **Students not possessing the above requirements may enroll in Saint Francis University courses to meet the requirement. 


  • As a graduate of our Cancer Care program, you will be able to:

    • Gain a more complete understanding of cancer as a disease, its treatments, and the limitations it poses;

    • Assist those who have struggled or are struggling with cancer via rehabilitation and counseling;

    • Draw from interdisciplinary studies in other fields to approach the study of cancer and further the field in unique ways.

    The outcomes of the program will be to graduate students who either want to be practitioners, at the RCEP or CES level with an ability to fit into a variety of clinical or research environments or those who go on for a Doctoral Degree (PhD).

Integrated Expertise

Cancer Care faculty members are passionate about improving post-acute treatment for cancer survivors. While each professor approaches healing from his or her own area of specialization, they see the power in combining forces. The interdisciplinary curriculum is taught by faculty specializing in Biology, Exercise Physiology, Medicine, Nutrition, Philosophy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, and Social Work. 


Program Chair: Dr. Stephen Baker,, 814.472.2769

Faculty List


Frequently asked questions about the Cancer Care programs at Saint Francis University

  • What is the Center for Rural Cancer Survivorship?

    The University's  Center for Rural Cancer Survivorship plays a pivotal role in the academic Cancer Care programs. This comprehensive interdisciplinary center was developed to provide outpatient services to all cancer patients and survivors in need. Whether newly diagnosed or long finished with treatment, our goal is to improve daily function and quality of life for the cancer survivor.


    View the Center Homepage

  • What facilities and clinical opportunities are available?

    Campus classes meet in dedicated physical therapy lab and lecture spaces. Clinical opportunities will be available through the Center for Rehabilitation in the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellnesson campus. Here survivors receive physical, occupational and/or speech therapy in conjunction with exercise interventions for fatigue and other related comorbid conditions. Additionally, students will have access to the Human Performance Lab within DiSepio. 

  • What courses are required for the Cancer Care certificate program?

    Total credits: 18

    Required Courses (15 credits): 

    • Introduction to Integrated Cancer Care 
    • Epidemiology Primer 
    • Epidemiology of Cancer 
    • Biology of Cancer 
    • Diagnosis & Treatment of Cancer 
    • Psychosocial Landscape of Cancer 
    • Compassionate Caregiving for Cancer Professionals 
    • Recent Developments in Cancer Care 

    Elective Courses (3 credits)

    • Positive Psychology 
    • Principles of Clinical Research 
    • Nutrition
    • Communication for the Health Professional
    • Exercise and Testing for Cancer Survivors (lecture only, restricted to Exercise Physiology students) 
    • Leadership Biostatistics
    • Health Care Marketing
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health 
    • Medical and Research Ethics 
    • Narrative Medicine 

Career Outlook in Cancer Care

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), 1.6 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year and nearly 14 million people have survived cancer. This makes cancer care an immense network of jobs and studies, from biology to psychology to physical therapy. Graduates of our program will be perfectly placed to choose their path and begin making a difference in the lives of those affected by this disease.