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Considering applying to the University of Minnesota Medical School's graduate program in Medical Physics? Here's what you need to know.

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Read the policy for admission for master’s and doctoral degree students.

This policy covers general admission requirements for degree seeking students, conditional admission, admission for graduate professional development, concurrent or sequential graduate degrees, deferred admission, acceptance of financial support, university employees, and exceptions.

Students officially participating in the Medical Physics graduate program will be registered in the CAMPEP registry of Medical Physics students by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who will also be the official CAMPEP Program Director for the CAMPEP accredited program. If students transfer into or out of the CAMPEP Medical Physics program, this change will be noted in the CAMPEP registry of Medical Physics students. Records of individuals formally in the CAMPEP accredited Medical Physics program will also be documented within the Medical Physics Program.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
    • thermodynamics
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Some deficiency in academic background can be remedied during graduate study. Students can be admitted with didactic deficiencies. They will have their deficiencies clearly listed, these will be communicated in the notification of admission, and the student will be expected to complete these courses before the degree is conferred. However, these students are not eligible to register for Part 1 of the American Board of Radiology physics certification exam until such deficiencies required to take the ABR examination are overcome.
  8. 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 at: http://www.ets.org/gre. Our institution code is R6874 with no department code. If the GRE was taken more than two years prior to application, the applicant will need to retake the examination. We have no absolute GRE cutoff score, but the score is taken into consideration among many individual factors in the evaluation of each application. 
  9. 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 scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, through the Educational Testing Service at: http://www.ets.org), the English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). All English language test scores are valid for two years from the date the test was taken. Official scores will be required prior to enrollment or before visa documents are issued. Successful applicants have had an average of 630 on the TOEFL paper based test in the past. The University of Minnesota Operational Standards listed in the table below are the minimum scores acceptable for admission to the program (http://www.grad.umn.edu/admissions/application_instructions/toefl/index.html):


    Test Operational Standard
    TOEFL

    Internet based test:

    • 79 or above with section scores of 21 on writing and 19 on reading

    Paper based test:

    • 550 or above

    IELTS 6.5
    MELAB 80
  10. 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, or letters can sent directly to the Assistant DGS (Pamela J. Hansen, Radiology Administration, MMC 292 Mayo, 8292A (Campus Delivery Code), 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, hanse032@umn.edu). An actual letter with discussion of the candidate is preferred over a completed form.
  11. Application may be submitted on-line at: http://www.grad.umn.edu/admissions/apply_online/index.html
  12. Further information about our graduate program, may be found at http://www.radiationoncology.umn.edu/residency-programs/medical-physics-residency-program

Offers of financial support are made after the decision has been made to offer admission to the applicant. Most of our offers of admission to the PhD program include an award of an assistantship. Unfortunately, we are not usually able to provide any financial assistance to students working toward a Master’s degree. Most of our Master’s degree students support their graduate work with student loans or outside employment.

Requirements to Obtain a Masters Degree

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 University of Minnesota lists completion requirements for Master’s Degrees at:http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/Education/Education/MASTERSCOMPLETION.html. The following university website lists the five steps that must be completed and when to receive the Master’s degree, Plan B:http://policy.umn.edu/prod/groups/president/@pub/@policy/@esl/documents/policy/masterscompletion_appb.pdf.

The completion requirements for the Master’s degree in this program are summarized below:

  1. The M.S. degree involves two years of full time study.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. Students must have a 2.800 minimum GPA for courses included on the degree plan at the time of degree clearance.
  5. 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.
  6. There is no language requirement to complete the M.S. degree.
  7. 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, after completion of the Physics 5401 and 5402 sequence.

Requirements to Obtain a Doctoral Degree

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 and is located at: http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/Education/Education/doctoralCOMPLETION.html. The following university website that lists the twelve steps that must be completed and when to receive the doctoral degree: http://policy.umn.edu/prod/groups/president/@pub/@policy/@esl/documents/policy/doctoralcompletion_appa.pdf

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 sequence, PHYS 5401 and 5402 (Topics in Physics for Medicine and Biology).  This open book examination will assume that the student is familiar with the above sequence and related topics and will test the student’s ability to conduct independent research in a chosen area.  Insofar as possible, the written exam will be given to a small group of students at a common time.  

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. 

d.   The course program also should include some evidence of an area of specialization outside the thesis area. This may involve a traditional minor.  Alternatively, the program may include, in addition to courses related to the thesis area, courses from one or more other graduate programs which consist of at least 12 credits, known as a Supporting Program by the GraduateSchool. 

5.   A Ph.D. program normally should take three to five years from the Bachelor’s degree or one to three years from the Master’s degree. Students working half time should anticipate four to six years from the Bachelor’s degree or two to three years from the Master’s degree. Those working full time will require special consideration. Financial support to full time graduate students normally will not be continued beyond five years. 

6.   There is no language requirement to complete the Doctoral degree. 

7.   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 

 Frequently asked questions concerning the Doctoral Degree can be found at: http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/Education/Education/DOCTORALPERFORMAN....

Finances

Finances

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. Also, some master’s students and, occasionally, Ph.D. students (most of whom were undergraduate physics majors) are hired by the physics department as teaching assistants. This is a symbiotic relationship for both Medical Physics and Physics, because there are fewer physics graduate students than in the past while the demand for teaching basic physics for other departments and schools continues.

We try not to admit more Ph.D. students than we can support. The support 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. We have been able to secure a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (http://www.grad.umn.edu/funding-tuition-fellowships-grants/ddf) for some of our students. Some students have obtained their own fellowships. On one occasion, we worked with a student to obtain a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Occasionally, we admit a Ph.D. student without financial support. We are usually able to obtain support for them after their first year.

The tuition rates for students in the program are those of the GraduateSchool. The latest semester rates for the 2014-2015 academic year can be found at: http://onestop.umn.edu/finances/costs_and_tuition/tuition_and_fees/graduate_school_tuition.html. In addition, students are charged a series of general fees the current listing being available at:

http://onestop.umn.edu/finances/costs_and_tuition/fees/general_fees/index.html. In addition, college and program specific fees for the MedicalSchool where the program is housed are levied. The latest listing of these fees are available at:

http://onestop.umn.edu/finances/costs_and_tuition/fees/college_and_program_fees.html. 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. A summary of the costs per semester for a typical student taking between 6 and 14 credits per semester for 2014-2015 is given in the table below. Yearly costs would be double what are represented in the table.

Per Semester amounts

 

 

Resident

Nonresident

 

Tuition, GraduateSchool

$7,729.00

$11,840.00

Student Services Fee

$417.91

$417.91

Capital Enhancement fee

$75.00

$75.00

Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) fee

$6.68

$6.68

Long Term Disability Insurance fee

$42.50

$42.50

Stadium fee

$12.50

$12.50

Transportation fee

$20.00

$20.00

Books (approx.)

$300.00

$300.00

Housing, off-campus

(http://www.housing.umn.edu/graduate)

$700.00 - $1000.00/month ($2800.00 - $4000/semester)

$700.00 - $1000.00/month ($2800.00 - $4000/semester)

Student Health Benefit Plan for Academic Health Center (AHC) Students

$1049.00

$1049.00

College and program fees, Medical School

$250.00

$250.00

 

TOTAL per semester

 

$12,702.59 to $13,902.59 with insurance (minus food)

 

 

$16,813.59 to $18,013.59 with insurance (minus food)