Questions about Applying to Medical Physics Graduate Programs

  • Admissions
  • Thread starter ryrykim
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  • #1
Hey everyone!

I am interested in applying to a medical physics graduate program, but frankly I don't know a whole lot on the process. I am currently a junior majoring in biophysics with 3.4 major GPA. I have taken a majority of the pre-med prerequisites (i.e organic chemistry), if it will help at all with my application. By the time I graduate, I will have 2 years of research experience. I have not taken the GRE yet, but am planning on taking it soon.

Given my background, what are some possible programs that I will be competitive for (PhD or MS)? I understand that there is not a lot of information to go off on, and I will glad to provide any more if need be. What are some things that I can do to help my application, and what are things that admissions for medical physics programs are looking for?

Thank you!

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I'm sure you're aware that medical physics programs are competitive to get into. GPA-wise you're on the borderline for admissions to a lot of programs. Typically competitive students have GPAs north of 3.5, and the calculation tends to be weighted heavier towards upper year courses (at least in Canadian programs, which is where my experience is). Your research experience will definitely boost your chances.

As far as coursework goes, most programs are looking for students to have a solid background in physics or something very similar (engineering physics, physical chemistry, etc.) The biological side of things is something that's typically taught in graduate school, so having a lot of advanced coursework in such subjects tends not to convey any particular advantage with respect to admissions (it certainly won't hurt you though). I would aim to also make sure you have coursework that includes an advanced lab, mathematical methods (if that isn't part of your core curriculum), image or signal processing, something that will give you some electronics skills, and some kind of computational methods course. I can't say that these will necessarily convey any advantage with respect to admission, but they will help you immensely as a graduate student and throughout your career.

Your highest priority should be on your GPA, in my opinion. It's great if your research experience results in some kind of publication or even a conference abstract, though I wouldn't sacrifice your grades in that respect. Take the time to investigate the particular programs that you're interested in. Visit the campus or facility if that's an option. Speak with current graduate students and professors if you have a chance to (medical physicists are notoriously difficult to get a hold of as a general rule though, and many clinical environments won't just let prospective students walk in).

I don't typically recommend any particular program over any other. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, although it's important to make sure the program is CAMPEP-accredited.