Considering applying to the University of Minnesota Medical School's graduate program in Medical Physics? Here's what you need to know.
- The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or a comparable degree from a recognized college or university in another country.
- An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher is required for admission to the MS program, while an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher is required for admission to the PhD program. GPAs lower than this will be considered with appropriate supporting documentation.
- Students entering a medical physics education program shall have a strong foundation in basic physics. This shall be documented by either a degree in physics or a degree in engineering or other area of physical science.
- The applicant should have the equivalent of an undergraduate physics minor. This should include at least two semesters of calculus based physics and at least three physics courses that would be considered upper level at the institution where their degree was obtained. These courses could include but are not limited to the following:
- Modern physics
- Quantum mechanics or mechanics
- Electricity and magnetism
- Atomic physics
- Nuclear physics
- The student should have a mathematics background that includes up to and including multivariable calculus. Ideally, students should have some familiarity with intermediate mathematics (e.g. linear algebra, differential equations).
- Prior experience with the following course material is also deemed to be advantageous but is not necessary for admission to the program: biostatistics, computer programming, electronics, chemistry, biology, physiology, and biochemistry.
- The general GRE (not any specific subject GRE) is required. The computer based GRE exam is provided year-round by the Educational Testing Service. A list of test sites can be found here. Our institution code is R6874 with no department code.
- International applicants whose native language is not English and have not received a degree from an institution in an English-speaking country are required to supply proof of english language proficiency according to the chart here
- In addition to the application to the graduate school, the applicant needs to have three letters of recommendation. This can now be done on-line through the application process when submitting the application.
Requirements to Obtain a Masters Degree
The M.S. in Medical Physics at the University of Minnesota is categorized as a Plan B Master’s degree. This Master’s degree plan is the most suitable plan structure to meet the requirements of a CAMPEP accredited program in Medical Physics involving both didactic and investigational components for students who plan to work in a clinical setting. This option requires a minimum of 30 graduate-level course credits and includes a Plan B project. Plan B students complete a project under the direction of a faculty member and present the work to their faculty committee in an oral exam.
At the University of Minnesota, no collegiate unit or program may require more than 36 credits with a combination of course and Plan B project for a Plan B Master’s degree. A maximum of forty percent of credits may be transferred from another institution. A typical course load is 7 - 10 credits per semester for 4 semesters.
The completion requirements for the Master’s degree in this program are summarized below:
- The M.S. degree involves two years of full time study.
- All M.S. candidates are expected to take the core program courses plus enough elective credits to total more than 30 but less than 36 credits. This core of didactic work fulfills the expectations of CAMPEP accreditation and the requirements to sit for the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examination in a particular specialty of Medical Physics. The course requirements are listed in Section B, below.
- All M.S. candidates have a final exam committee that consists of at least three members, including the advisor(s). All members of the committee and the student must participate in the final examination. Committee members and/or the student may participate remotely as long as all conditions for remote participation in examinations are met. At least one member must represent a field outside the student’s major field. If the student has a declared minor(s), the outside member(s) must be from the minor field(s). Members cannot satisfy the requirement with respect to more than one field. Changes in committee membership may be made after filing the degree plan if approved by the program Director of Graduate Studies and the Medical School. Changes must also be archived centrally in the system of record. The chair of this committee is the student’s advisor. The Committee is responsible for helping the student plan the M.S. program and for monitoring the student’s progress.
- Students must have a 2.800 minimum GPA for courses included on the degree plan at the time of degree clearance.
- All M.S. candidates must pass a final oral examination. The questions may focus on the special projects and paper completed, but the student’s ability to synthesize knowledge from various fields may also be tested.
- There is no language requirement to complete the M.S. degree.
- M.S. candidates planning to continue toward the Ph.D. degree are strongly encouraged to take the written preliminary examination at the end of the first year of full time study or its equivalent, or as soon as possible.
Requirements to Obtain A Doctoral Degree
The credit requirements for Doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota are a minimum of 48 credits with a minimum of 24 graduate-level course credits and a minimum of 24 thesis credits. At the University of Minnesota, no collegiate unit or program may require more than 72 credits with a combination of course and thesis credits for the completion of the Doctoral degree. To meet CAMPEP and ABR requirements, Doctoral students take the same core courses as the master’s level students. Doctoral students may also take additional courses that assist them in their research activities.
The University of Minnesota Doctoral Degree completion policy covers these requirements in depth. The University website lists the twelve steps that must be completed and when to receive the doctoral degree.
Doctoral Program in Medical Physics
The completion requirements for the Doctoral degree in this program are summarized below:
1. A Preliminary written exam must be passed to enter the Doctoral program. The written exam will be taken at the end of the first year of full time registration or its equivalent, or as soon as possible after completion of the required core courses. This open book examination will assume that the student is familiar with the core courses and related topics and will test the student’s ability to conduct independent research in a chosen area.
2. A preliminary oral examination must be passed by each Doctoral student. The oral exam focuses on the student’s plan for thesis research and information related thereto and should be taken by October of the third year of full time registration or its equivalent.
3. Course programs also will be the responsibility of the student’s Ph.D. committee. Should it prove difficult to reach a consensus agreement, the Director of Graduate Studies will act as an arbitrator. If this still proves unsatisfactory, the individual course program will be acted on at a meeting of the Steering Committee with the student present.
4. The following are listed as desired goals and should not be interpreted as strict requirements.
a. The course program shall include the 30 semester credits required for completion of the Master’s degree plus 24 thesis credits taken as graduate credit in relevant courses. The first 30 credits are normally completed during the first two years of graduate study and are required as part of the CAMPEP accredited program.
b. The student should have some familiarity with physical chemistry, intermediate physics, intermediate mathematics, biostatistics, computer programming, biology, physiology and biochemistry. This may be demonstrated by courses taken at the undergraduate level or as port of the graduate program; by reading and/or practical experience; or by informal competency examinations designed by the Ph.D. committee on an individual basis.
c. A significant fraction of the course program should be relevant to the student’s thesis area. This concentration of course credits will serve in lieu of the major in more traditional programs.
5. There is no language requirement to complete the Doctoral degree.
6. Students must have a 3.000 minimum GPA for courses included on the degree plan at the time of degree clearance.
Requirements for the PhD if applicant already has a Master’s Degree:
1. The student will take MPHY 8666, Doctoral Pre-Thesis Credits each semester until after passing the written and oral preliminary examinations. This is done to maintain enrollment.
2. The student must complete 24 credits of MPHY 8888, Thesis Credits.
3. The student must write a Doctoral dissertation and defend it in an oral exam.
Our master’s students are usually not funded. We ensure that any student who enters in a fall semester can finish the master’s program in two years.
The support for PhD students usually consists of assistantships funded by grants and contracts held by Medical Physics faculty. On occasion a student is funded by the company for which they work. Other source of support include fellowships obtained by some students. Students may be admitted without guarantee of financial support but in general obtain some kind of support by their second year of studies.
The tuition and fees for students in the program are those of the Graduate School. The latest per semester rates for the current academic year can be found here.
These fees vary depending on whether a student is a resident or non-resident of the state, if they require University health insurance, or whether or not they are international students.