Ph.D. in Medical Physics
The curriculum consists of 60 post baccalaureate graduate course credits, including the required courses, with at least 30 credits at the 7000 level and above. Students must successfully complete the Qualifying Examination and an Oral Exam. After qualifying, 30 research and dissertation credits must be taken, including oral dissertation defense. Thus, the entire program consists of 90 graduate credits. It is essential that the PhD Dissertation represent original research work which must be presented at a Public Defense lecture. Also, all students will be encouraged to complete a (non-credit) Clinical Internship.
The PhD program in Medical Physics is designed to train graduate students with a background in Physics, Engineering, or related science to become medical physicists practicing in research and clinical service in Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging, and/or Nuclear Medicine. Our objectives are to remain one of the top medical physics educational programs in North America, to produce leaders and innovators in the advancement of the technical aspects of medical care, and to place our graduates in high quality research and clinical positions in the academic and health care professions. In doing so, our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of health care in Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging, and/or Nuclear Medicine.
In addition to the prerequisites for the Master's program:
All the required M.S. courses, plus:
plus additional didactic coursework to meet requirements (some electives listed below):
PH.D. QUALIFYING EXAM
The PhD Qualifying Examination is usually taken by students after completion of all the required courses and is one of the requirements which must be successfully completed before being admitted to candidacy for the degree. The examination is in two parts, both written. Before taking the exam the student must have filed a Plan of Work with the Graduate School. The written exam consists of a four-hour (Part I) Radiological Physics Exam based on the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine (Board) Exam, followed by a four-hour (Part II) exam on problem solving in Medical Physics based upon the required ROC courses within the program. The passing requirements are the same for both the Part I and Part II exams. The examinee must achieve an average score of 70% for each exam, and must score at least 50% on all questions.
All questions for the Part I exam are selected from a bank of about 100 questions assembled into six topic groups. The exam consists of six questions, one question from each group being selected randomly for each exam. Candidates must answer four of the six questions. Copies of the Question Booklet are provided to all Ph.D. students by the Program Director. For the Part II Exam, questions are divided into three sections: (1) Diagnostic Imaging & Nuclear Medicine, (2) Radiation Oncology Physics, and (3) Radiological Physics, Radiation Dosimetry, Radiation Safety, and Radiobiology. The examinee will receive two questions in each section. Candidates must answer four of the six questions, with at least one question selected from each of the three sections.
Students register for the Qualifying Exam with the Program Director at least two months before the Part I exam.
For the Oral Examination, the student is expected to review a potential research program and is required to demonstrate an adequate command of knowledge of the field of study, with the ability to organize and apply that knowledge toward completion of the proposed research. The Oral Exam will normally be administered after the candidate has successfully completed the Qualifying Exam, but no more than one year after, and is just beginning to work on a potential dissertation research project. It will consist of a public seminar followed by a closed dissertation committee meeting. All PhD students will meet with their respective committees, at a minimum, once per year. Additional meetings will be scheduled as needed.
CLINICAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The purpose of the clinical internship is to provide practical experience so that graduates will be immediately useful upon employment. Interns will gain clinical experience under the direction of program faculty at the Karmanos Cancer Center, along with potentially other area facilities. An internship covering IMRT quality assurance will also be offered through Karmanos Cancer Center. Arrangements will be made during the fall term. Additional clinical opportunities may be secured by the individual students through faculty mentors.
TRANSFER OF CREDIT
Up to 30 credits may be transferred in from another accredited university to meet the didactic requirements of the PhD degree.