Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Medical Physics Ph.D.

Radiation Oncology Administration
Medical School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Radiation Oncology 420 Delaware Street SE MMC 494 Minneapolis, MN 55455
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 49
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The program is made up of faculty members with primary appointments in the departments of radiation oncology and radiology. Affiliate faculty have primary appointments in other departments. The goal of the program is to prepare students (1) for further education, teaching, and research in medical physics, (2) to qualify to enter a medical physics residency program in radiation therapy or imaging, and (3) to provide the mathematical and technical knowledge needed to succeed in the field of medical physics.
This program is accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs, Inc. (CAMPEP)
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
A degree in physics or engineering or other physical science. Equivalent of an undergraduate physics minor-at least 2 semesters of calculus based physics and at least 3 upper level physics courses.
Special Application Requirements:
Three letters of recommendation and the general GRE test are required. If the GRE was taken more than two years prior to application, the applicant may need to retake the examination. There are no absolute GRE cutoff score, but the score is taken into consideration along with other factors in the evaluation of each application. Applicants with a graduate degree from a US institution are waived the GRE requirement. Applicants are considered for admission in fall semester only.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
25 credits are required in the major.
0 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
In the fall semester of the first year, students must take University ethics training: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), Part 1 (a 3-hour session offered about 4 times/year) and Part 2.
Required Courses (25 Credits)
Take the following required courses. Take MPHY 5138 for at least 1 credit.
MPHY 5138 - Research Seminar (1.0-5.0 cr)
MPHY 5160 - Advanced Radiation Physics and Dosimetry (3.0 cr)
MPHY 5170 - Basic Radiological Physics (3.0 cr)
MPHY 5171 - Medical and Health Physics of Imaging I (3.0 cr)
MPHY 5172 - Radiation Biology (3.0 cr)
MPHY 5173 - Medical and Health Physics of Radiation Therapy (3.0 cr)
MPHY 5174 - Medical and Health Physics of Imaging II (3.0 cr)
PHAR 5201 - Applied Medical Terminology (2.0 cr)
PHSL 5061 - Principles of Physiology for Biomedical Engineering (4.0 cr)
Thesis Credits
Take at least 24 doctoral thesis credits.
MPHY 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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MPHY 5138 - Research Seminar
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 5.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Topics introduce techniques/goals of biophysical sciences and medical physics. Lectures/demonstrations.
MPHY 5160 - Advanced Radiation Physics and Dosimetry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Interactions and energy deposition by ionizing radiation in matter; concepts, quantities and units in radiological physics; principles and methods of radiation dosimetry.
MPHY 5170 - Basic Radiological Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BPhy 5170/TRad 7170
Typically offered: Every Fall
Theoretical/experimental aspects of radiological physics. Physical properties of various ionizing radiations, interactions of ionizing radiations with matter, methods of radiation dose measurement. prereq: instr consent
MPHY 5171 - Medical and Health Physics of Imaging I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BPhy 5171/TRad 7171
Typically offered: Every Fall
Physics of diagnostic imaging: specification/quantification of image quality, X-ray production, image receptors, magnetic resonance imaging, radiation exposure and protection. Special imaging techniques, including mammography, computed tomography, and direct digital image capture. prereq: 5170 or instr consent
MPHY 5172 - Radiation Biology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BPhy 5172/TRad 7172
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Effects of ionizing radiation on cells, tissues, and organisms. Biochemical/physiological bases of radiation effects. Biological rationale for radiation therapy practices. prereq: 5170 or instr consent
MPHY 5173 - Medical and Health Physics of Radiation Therapy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BPhy 5173/TRad 7173
Typically offered: Every Spring
Measurements of radiation quality, output, and depth dose distributions for clinical use. Treatment parameter calculation. Beam modification and shaping. Treatment planning for fixed field and rotational therapy in external beam, intracavitary, and interstitial therapy. Computer applications in treatment planning. Principles/criteria for radiation protection. prereq: 5170 or instr consent
MPHY 5174 - Medical and Health Physics of Imaging II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BPhy 5174/TRad 7174
Typically offered: Every Spring
Physics of diagnostic imaging. Ultrasound, theoretical/experimental applications of radionuclides in medicine and biology. Counting statistics and imaging systems associated with radiopharmaceuticals, radiation dosimetry, and safety in nuclear medicine. prereq: 5170 or instr consent
PHAR 5201 - Applied Medical Terminology
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course will help students recognize medical abbreviations, relate terms to procedures and diagnostics, comprehend the meaning of medical terminology by using word elements, and apply medical terms in the context of patient care. Communication related to disease states, procedures, and diagnostics in health care can sometimes seem like another language. During this course, students will not only increase their medical vocabulary by more than 2500 words in a self-paced manner, they will also learn to identify and articulately describe a wide variety of medical conditions and processes. This is a completely online, self-paced course but runs on an accelerated 10-week schedule each Fall, Spring, and Summer term. For more information, contact or 612-624-7976. Prereq: Basic knowledge of human anatomy/physiology
PHSL 5061 - Principles of Physiology for Biomedical Engineering
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Human physiology with emphasis on quantitative aspects. Organ systems (circulation, respiration, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, muscle, central and peripheral nervous systems), cellular transport processes, and scaling in biology. prereq: Biomedical engineering grad, one yr college chem and physics and math through integral calculus
MPHY 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required