Medical Physics Graduate Program

The Medical Physics Graduate Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) and offers MS and PhD degrees.

The goal of the program is to prepare students for entering a medical physics residency program in therapy or imaging physics and/or to pursue a career in teaching and research in medical physics. 

The program meets the requirements of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota, AAPM Reports 197, 197S, and the CAMPEP Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Educational Programs.

The Medical Physics Graduate Program only admits students for the Fall semester. 

The application deadline for Fall 2020 admissions is January 5, 2020. This is a firm deadline and all the necessary documents (including test scores) must be submitted by this date. This program does not grant conditional admissions.

Program Structure

The program governance includes the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), the Steering Committee, and the Admissions Committee. The DGS has many duties as specified by the Univeristy of Minnesota. The Steering Committee addresses the long term needs of the program and any short term issues. The Admissions Committee reviews applications for admissions and makes admissions decisions.

The majority of the instructors for the program are from the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology at the University of Minnesota. Faculty are listed as full if they advise and support a student in the program at least once every five years or if they show active participation in the program by serving on student’s MS and PhD committees at least once every five years. Classrooms for instruction are located either in University of Minnesota buildings or in the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Office space for students is provided in University of Minnesota facilities. Equipment required for laboratory courses is either owned by the University or is supplied by the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Program History

This graduate program was started as an interdisciplinary graduate program under the name Biophysical Sciences in the 1950s by Dr. Otto Schmidt to encourage collaboration among biologists, chemists, and physicists. Then, as now, faculty had their salaried appointments in various home departments, including departments within the Medical School, but participated in Biophysical Sciences because of their interests in collaborative, interdisciplinary projects.

  • 1960 - 1970
  • 1980 - 1990
  • 2000 - Present
  • 1960 - 1970

    By the late 1960s and early 1970s, disciplines such as biophysics, biochemistry, physical chemistry, etc. were established in the mainstream, so the emphasis in Biophysical Sciences shifted to health informatics (integration of computers for modeling and data base analysis) and medical applications of biochemistry with Dr. Gene Ackerman and Dr. Russell K. Hobbie as Directors of Graduate Studies. 

  • 1980 - 1990

    By the late 1980s the computerization of all disciplines had become routine and most of the faculty had minimized their participation in the Biophysical Sciences Program. At about that time, however, a resurgence of interest in applications of various disciplines to problems in “radiologic sciences” – medical imaging, radiation therapy, and radiobiology – resulted in a renewal of interest in the program. In the US, the field of radiologic science is known as a profession by the term “Medical Physics”. Thus, by the early 1990’s the emphasis of the program had shifted to Medical Physics. In 1993, the program underwent an internal review under the direction of Associate Dean Kenneth Zimmerman at the request of Vice President and Dean Anne Petersen. The purpose of the review was to explore the future of involvement of the Medical School in the program. E. Russell Ritenour, became Director of Graduate Studies at that time.

  • 2000 - Present

    In 2012, the name of the Biophysical Sciences and Medical Physics program was changed to Medical Physics to more closely align the name of the program with the focus of the majority of the students in the program. The program as it currently stands focuses on Medical Physics but does not preclude the student from having a graduate project that is outside the traditional borders of Medical Physics. This is due to the fact that there are several professors associated with the program that have interests aligned with Medical Physics that are not purely clinical in focus. To aid in this transition of the program and to promote the accreditation process, Bruce J. Gerbi, PhD was installed as Interim Program Director.


The full facilities and all clinical equipment of the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the University of Minnesota Physicians Clinic are available to the faculty of the graduate program in Medical Physics. These include departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology, including The Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.

The full resources of the University of Minnesota Library systems both online and its physical holdings are available to all graduate students of the University of Minnesota. Other materials not directly accessible within the University of Minnesota Library system can be acquired via interlibrary loan.

Read a general description of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Read about particular library services offered to graduate students.

Graduate Outcomes


Academic Yr Applications No. admitted Matriculations Degrees Awarded
2002-03 19 5 1 2
2003-04 21 6 6 4
2004-05 25 6 5 8
2005-06 35 9 4 5
2006-07 44 8 5 2
2007-08 38 12 9 4
2008-09 51 14 11 3
2009-10 30 8 6 2
2010-11 23 4 4 2
2011-12 9 0 0 2
2012-13 0  0
2013-14 0  1
2014-15 35 7 2  3
2015-16 52 10 4 0
2016-17 39 11 8 0
2017-18 62 5 4 1
2018-19 60 8 4 3
2019-20 42 13  4