New Student Orientation


General orientation to the University of Minnesota is provided by the student's individual program. An overview of the program is delivered during an initial discussion with the Director of Graduate Studies of the program and students are given a copy of the Student Handbook for the program (the self study, minus the sample examinations, course and instructor evaluations) is given to the student.

Students are expected to read the information in the following links:

Orientation-related information regarding University services and opportunities will be available to incoming graduate students via their myU Portal account. The myU Portal provides students with the opportunity to initiate their own orientation experience upon their admission to the graduate program. When they access their account, they will be guided to checklists of things to do before and after arrival on campus, with links to in-depth information about each item.

Checklists for students may include:

  • Reminders regarding program-specific orientations
  • Important health and wellness information
  • Housing options
  • Employment options
  • Information specifically for international students
  • Additional university resources.

Medical Physics Program specific orientation -- since each incoming class is small, each student meets individually with the Director of Graduate Studies. At this meeting, the student is given handouts that are found elsewhere in this Self Study:

  1. Lists of the courses that our students usually take
  2. A copy of the Graduate School’s requirements for their degree
  3. A sample program for a master’s degree in two years.

Most of our students take similar classes for the first two years, whether they do a master’s degree or whether they go on to obtain their Ph.D. Students who are not planning to become professional medical physicists (those interested in interdisciplinary research careers) may not take all of the medical physics courses. However, the vast majority of students take the imaging physics classes since imaging has a strong role in a variety of research areas.

All of our students are required to take these physics classes:

  1. Physics 5401
  2. Physics 5402, which includes an overview of both radiation oncology and imaging physics.
  3. Physics for Biology and Medicine I and II

Students who are in the Ph.D. program have a longer discussion with the DGS about policies concerning the Written and Oral Preliminary Exam and the Final Oral Exam. Students are also advised as to how to find a faculty advisor for their master’s or Ph.D. projects and first year students are required to attend seminars in which the faculty, visiting professors, or students present their ongoing research projects. 

Master’s students usually do their project work during the summer between their first and second years. Doctoral students usually begin working with a faculty member either immediately, if an assistantship has been offered upon admission, or after the first year of study. Students will have ample opportunities to get to know the faculty through courses and other interactions prior to agreeing to a project area.