Medical Physics Graduate Program - Degree Requirements

The Medical Physics program offers both disciplines of medical physics, therapeutic radiological physics and diagnostic radiological physics. Within each track and prior to acceptance into the MP program, each student will be placed within the Ph.D. or Ph.D. program, where the M.S. path is based on coursework, thesis, or our 4+1 program. The requirements for each of the paths are detailed on the Degree Paths page, and the delineation of requirements for the radiotherapy and diagnostic physics tracks are detailed on the Core Courses page.

M.S. Programs

Students accepted in the M.S. program and following either (both) therapeutic and diagnostic tracks require 26 semester credit hours of didactic classroom and laboratory instruction and 6 professional credit hours of clinical training (clinical rotations; see below). The 4+1 MS program is specific to undergraduate students whose performance within the “pre Medical Physics” track of the Radiological Health Science program at Purdue University is deemed exceptional. These students are required to enter the program with a large fraction of the core MP course work (see the Core Courses page) completed by graduation and a high GPA. All other students are placed on a more traditional MP M.S. path. For these students, Year 1 and Year 2 will emphasize the core didactic classroom and laboratory coursework. Clinical training (clinical rotation) will occur at the end of Year 1 (summer) or the Spring of Year 2 depending on whether they are on pursuing the coursework- or thesis-based degree. The intent of the clinical rotation is to introduce each student to the clinical environment with a standard set of minimal experiences and requirements to complete and submit for grading. The student is required to maintain a daily log and to write or present (power-point) a report at the end of the semester. A grade will be assigned based on the evaluation of their (1) daily log (includes completion of each rotation, treatment planning documentation, quality assurance reports), (2) written practicum or presentation, and (3) evaluation by their designated Clinical Physics Mentor (competency).

Ph.D. program

Students accepted into the MP Ph.D. program and following eitherthe therapeutic or diagnostic track require a minimum of 90 credit hours: 23 credit hours of the core MP coursework (see the Core Courses page), 6-9 credit hours of track specific coursework (see the Core Courses page), 3-6 credit hours of clinical rotation (see below), and at least 57 credit hours of research thesis work. In the first 18 months (Spring of Y2), students are required to take a qualifying exam. The qualifying exam is given on two consecutive days. On day one, the student has 4 hours to complete a set of exam questions based on the core courses HSCI 312, HSCI 514, and HSCI 526 and HSCI 574, and on day two, the a set of exam questions based on the courses HSCI 540, HSCI 570, and HSCI 572. Questions for each section are devised by the faculty member teaching the course for that year. New exam questions are routinely changed. If a student does not pass each section with a minimum score of 70%, they must retake those sections the following semester (Fall, Y2). Within the next 6 months of passing the qualifying exam, the student is required to write and submit a research proposal in NIH grant format based of their thesis project and to present their research proposal to the student body and faculty within the School of Health Sciences (HSCI 696). The Ph.D. candidate will update their proposal based on student and faculty evaluations (HSCI 696) prior to their preliminary oral defense.  The candidate is required to present and defend their proposal to their graduate advisory committee, after which the faculty members comprising this committee will vote to determine if the student has passed. If a majority vote cannot be obtained, the student will have 6 months to resolve deficiencies and re-take their oral defense. In Year 3 and Year 4, the student will take track specific electives (therapeutic radiological physics or diagnostic radiological physics) and research thesis coursework. Upon completion, the student is required to present the results of their thesis to the student body and faculty within the School of Health Sciences (HSCI 696). The final version of the candidate’s thesis will be given to their advisory committee at least two week in advance of their defense date. The vote of the advisory committee will determine if the thesis is acceptable.

Clinical Rotations

Academic grades for individual rotations will be on the scale A, B, C, or Fail.  Semester grades will be submitted to the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office with a copy given to the Program Director.  The student must successfully complete the necessary requirements and acquired clinical skills before the Clinical Physics Mentor and Program Director will be allowed to graduate.  Should the student not successfully complete a clinical rotation with the minimum grade of C, the Clinical Physics Mentor and Program Director will meet with the student to discuss remedial action to resolve the discrepancy.  The student will be required to correctly complete all documentation and reports in a timely manner and may be required to take a written or oral examination over the materials within that rotation; the student’s failing semester grade cannot be raised above a grade of C.  Should the student not successfully complete the remedial assignments and/or fail the oral examination, that rotation must be retaken. Hence, this can potentially extend the student’s graduation date beyond the normal twenty four month period.  Student progress in Year 1 and Year 2 will be reported annually to the MP Program Committee.  The MP Medical Physics Program and the School of Medicine require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the time of graduation.

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