VCU Bulletins

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

Degree requirements

Students entering the program with an undergraduate degree are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in didactic or laboratory course work. Students entering with a master’s degree in medical physics, physics or an appropriate related field are required to earn a minimum of 18 course credits. In addition to course work, the Ph.D. requires a minimum of 12 credits in MEDP 697 (directed research). At least half of the course work must be earned at the 600 level or higher. Detailed degree requirements are listed in the medical physics graduate handbook.

All new Ph.D. students entering the program will be assigned an adviser. After successful completion of the written comprehensive exam the student and adviser will develop a Graduate Dissertation Committee. The committee will direct the student in his/her research and subsequent course selection, will report once a semester to the program director on the academic progress of the student and will administer the oral candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

The student is required to complete written and oral examinations to be admitted as a Ph.D. candidate. The written comprehensive examination covers core knowledge and applications in medical physics course work, as well as basic concepts in physics, chemistry and biology. The oral examination, administered by the student’s graduate dissertation committee, is based upon a written prospectus describing the proposed dissertation research project. Examiners evaluate the adequacy of the proposed project, the student’s level of understanding of the project and the likelihood that the dissertation can be completed successfully.

After becoming a Ph.D. candidate, the student must conduct a substantial original investigation under the supervision of his/her adviser and must prepare a dissertation reporting the results of the research in the context of existing scientific knowledge. After the dissertation has been completed and unanimously accepted for defense by the student’s graduate dissertation committee, the candidate will appear before the committee for an oral defense. The oral dissertation defense examines the candidate’s research, dissertation documentation, and underlying fundamental knowledge. Upon successful completion of the defense and dissertation, the student may apply for graduation with a Ph.D. in Medical Physics.


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Last update: 8/13/2012

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