VCU Bulletins

Medical Physics, Master of Science (M.S.)

Program accreditation
Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs

Graduate program director
Geoffrey D. Hugo, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
gdhugo@vcu.edu
(804) 628-7780

Additional contact
Shana Ryman
Medical physics education coordinator
sryman@vcu.edu
(804) 628-7780

Program website: medicalphysics.vcu.edu

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Medical Physics, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Medical Physics, Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree:

M.S.
Semester(s)
of entry:

Fall
Deadline
dates:

Jan 15
Test
requirements:

GRE

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School and the School of Medicine, students are expected to satisfy the following minimum standards for admission.

  1. Students must have a minimum of 30 credit hours in undergraduate physics, physical science or engineering, of which at least 18 credit hours must be at the upper level. Background courses should include calculus one and two, linear algebra, differential equations, modern physics, and electricity and magnetism physics.
  2. Students must submit satisfactory GRE scores.
  3. Applicants must present a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale for the undergraduate degree or most recently completed graduate degree.

Provisional admission may be granted where deficiencies exist. These deficiencies must be removed by the end of the first year of residence, or its part-time equivalent, when the student’s application will be re-examined. Courses that are designed to remove deficiencies will not be accepted for credit hours toward the graduate degree.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program goals

The Master of Science in Medical Physics offers students course work and practical clinical training in physics as it is applied to the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. The mission of the master’s program is to serve the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation by helping to meet the demand for competent medical physicists in the health care delivery setting. The program will prepare students for careers as qualified and independent clinical medical physicists. Required course work provides theoretical and practical training in radiation dosimetry, radiation biology, radiation therapy, imaging and health physics.

Professional competency: To develop professional competency in medical physics by providing a framework in which students progressively develop mastery of the current state of medical physics and an ability to synthesize this information and apply it in a clinical setting. Additionally, students in the program will develop skills in the various means of communicating the core of medical physics knowledge and clinical applications of that knowledge to a variety of potential audiences.

Clinical competency: To develop clinically competent medical physics graduates by providing a framework in which students progress from didactic knowledge to clinical knowledge and demonstrated application of clinical medical physics principles, practices and procedures.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Clinical performance: The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the theoretical, practical and technical conduct of medical physics in the clinical setting. This includes demonstration of an appropriate level of competence in the ability to:
    1. Design and quality assure radiation therapy treatment plans for both brachytherapy and external beam radiation therapy
    2. Quality assure radiation therapy delivery devices
    3. Quality assure radiation therapy treatment charts
    4. Perform calibration and/or beam delivery commissioning measurements as measured by instructor evaluation in compliance with accepted clinical standards
  2. Communication skills: The candidate should demonstrate that an appropriate level of oral, written and visual communication skills have been acquired. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of oral communication skills with respect to the content, organization, logical flow, presentation and appropriate use of language incorporating the use of visual aids, as measured by course work and performance on the written comprehensive examination. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of written communication skill with respect to grammar, syntax, spelling, chart notation and use of vocabulary to effectively present information including the use of figures, tables and citations as measured by course work and performance on the written comprehensive examination.
  3. Medical physics knowledge base: The candidate should demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of the base of scientific information required to practice clinical medical physics. This includes general knowledge of medical physics scientific materials, clinical policies and procedures, and translational scientific literature. The student should demonstrate the ability to evaluate and integrate such knowledge into the solution of clinical problems as measured by course work and performance on the written comprehensive examination.
  4. Problem-solving: The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the identification of clinical medical physics problems and the design and implementation of appropriate problem-solving methods and solutions as measured by course work, annual review and performance on the written comprehensive examination.

Degree requirements

In addition to the general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students entering the program with an undergraduate degree are required to earn a minimum of 30 credit hours in didactic or laboratory course work. At least 15 credit hours must be earned at the 600 level or higher. Detailed degree requirements are listed in the medical physics graduate handbook.

Students are required to complete 20 credit hours of core graduate medical physics course work (MEDP 563, 567, 601, 630, 635, 636 and 637), one credit hour of MEDP 689 and six credit hours of MEDP 682. Additionally, students also must demonstrate competence in anatomy through completion of an undergraduate or graduate anatomy course approved by the medical physics graduate curriculum committee.

Following completion of course work, students will be required to pass a comprehensive examination administered by the medical physics comprehensive examination committee. The comprehensive examination will cover materials from the core medical physics courses and clinical rotations.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
   
MEDP 561 Topographical Anatomy and Physiology 1
MEDP 563 Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry 4
MEDP 567 Introduction to Radiation Therapy Physics 3
MEDP 601 Health Physics 3
MEDP 630 Radiobiology for the Medical Physicist 3
MEDP 635 Physics of CT 2
MEDP 636 Physics of MRI 3
MEDP 637 Physics of Nuclear Medicine 2
MEDP 682 Clinical Rotations 6
MEDP 689 Medical Physics Literature Review 1
   
Recommended electives 2
MEDP 633 Advanced Radiation Therapy Physics 4
MEDP 697 Directed Research variable
OVPR 602 Responsible Scientific Conduct 1
STAT 541 Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists 3
STAT/BIOS 543 Statistical Methods I 3
STAT/BIOS 544 Statistical Methods II 3
   
Total graduate course credit hours required (minimum) 30

Typical plan of study

Many students often end up taking more than the minimum number of hours required for a degree program. The total number of hours may vary depending upon the program, nature of research being conducted by a study, or in the enrollment or funding status of the student. Students should refer to their program websites and talk with their graduate program directors or advisers for information about typical plans of study and registration requirements.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

Other information

The medical physics graduate program student handbook is available at medicalphysics.vcu.edu/handbook/2014-2015.StudentHandbook.pdf.

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available in the Graduate Bulletin at pubapps.vcu.edu/Bulletins/about/?uid=10046&iid=30113.

 

 

Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us: bulletin@vcu.edu

Last update: 3/2/2015

Created by VCU University Relations