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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

School of Medicine

Program Information




Jay Burmeister, PhD, DABR, FAAPM
Director, Medical Physics Graduate Program
Wayne State University School of Medicine

Top 5 reasons to attend WSU

  1. Tradition of Exceptional Medical Physics Training: Our graduate training program in medical physics dates back to the early 1970s, and rich heritage includes two graduate program directors who served as President of the AAPM.
  2. Access to State of the Art Clinical Facilities: Clinical facilities are provided within several large and prestigious hospital systems including an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Care Center.
  3. Distinguished Faculty: Our faculty brings a wide variety of clinical, research, and professional experience to the program that gives greater breadth and depth to the knowledge shared in the classroom and laboratory.
  4. Distinguished and Active Alumni: Nearly 1 out of every 20 members of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a graduate of the WSU program, and our large network graduates serves as an excellent resource for students in making contacts that lead to clinical employment after graduation.
  5. Successful Placement of Graduates: Our rate of placement of graduates into medical physics residency positions is significantly higher than the national average for accredited programs.
The Wayne State University graduate programs in Medical Physics are among the most established and prestigious in North America. Graduate training in medical physics at WSU dates back to the early 1970s, and the WSU M.S. and Ph.D. programs were among the first to become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP). Since then, over 300 WSU students have received either the degree of M.S. in Medical Physics or a Ph.D. in Medical Physics. WSU graduates are currently practicing at hospitals and academic centers throughout the world. In fact, nearly one out of every 20 members of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a graduate of the WSU program.

Recently, Wayne State University became one of the first universities in North America to establish a certificate program in Medical Physics and also one of the first to develop a professional doctorate program.  Our CAMPEP accredited Graduate Certificate in Medical Physics allows those holding a PhD in Physics to complete coursework necessary to be eligible for entry into medical physics residency programs. Our professional doctorate program incorporates two years of clinical training in Radiation Oncology into the 90 credits of graduate study to create a well-trained and well-rounded clinical practitioner.  The programs are administered through the WSU School of Medicine, Division of Radiation Oncology, and are based in the Karmanos Cancer Center. This provides students with both the academic facilities of the largest single-campus medical school in the country, and the clinical facilities of an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer care center. The WSU School of Medicine is also affiliated with the Henry Ford Health System, offering students access to additional clinical and academic resources. With an enrollment of 32,000 students, WSU is among the nation’s 30-largest public universities. WSU‘s graduate enrollment is also one of the country’s largest, with more than 14,000 students enrolled in graduate and professional programs.

Students in our graduate and certificate programs are trained in a clinical environment and work with the same equipment used by the professional medical physics staff to treat patients in our affiliated radiology and radiation oncology departments. Students have ample access to library and computing facilities, world-class faculty, and state-of-the-art clinical and laboratory facilities. Our programs are designed to produce graduates who are well prepared to enter clinical service and become board certified by the American Board of Radiology. Moreover, our graduates will become part of the next generation of health care professionals and researchers leading the advancement of the technological aspects of medical care.

Our medical physics residency program was also one of the first in North America and our graduate students and residents have been the recipients of numerous awards for excellence. Our continued commitment to excellence in medical physics training, research and clinical development helps us remain as one of the nation’s premier medical physics groups. Over the past 5 years, we have received an average of approximately 35 and 40 applicants to the Ph.D. and M.S. programs, respectively. Within that same time period, we have averaged 2 matriculating Ph.D. students from 5 offers and 9 matriculating M.S. students from 18 offers, and have placed nearly 50% of our graduates from both programs into clinical residency positions. This is in comparison to national averages of 23% and 32% for MS and PhD graduate placement in residency positions from all CAMPEP programs over this time period (see statistics at SDAMPP).  Most of the remaining graduates have accepted clinical and/or academic positions in medical physics. For complete graduate statistics for the WSU Medical Physics program, please click here.

The WSU Medical Physics graduate and certificate programs have a current enrollment of approximately 35 graduate students. Our students have a wide variety of educational backgrounds including physics, biomedical engineering, nuclear engineering, and computer science to name a few, but all have at least one thing in common – they are exceptional students. The academic credentials of our students are exceptional by any measure of academic statistics and more than one third of them already have at least one graduate degree prior to enrollment. Many of our students also bring substantial work experience including backgrounds as researchers, engineers, and medical professionals. The diverse educational and occupational backgrounds of our students help them learn from and challenge one another academically. Our world class students help make this a world class graduate program.