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Admissions Recommendations for Medical Physics Ph.D Programs

  1. Jul 9, 2017 #1
    I'm a rising junior in BME and am switching to applied physics in order to meet the requirements of grad school. I want to apply to a Ph.d program in medical physics. However, my GPA is not very good. Right now I have a 3.47 overall GPA but I have gotten all B's in my physics courses and I know it is only going to get tougher from here on out since every semester I will have one physics class coupled with one or two math classes. However I have a lot of room for electives since most of my BME credits serve for the physics b.s. How should I use this up? I would like to take some "easy" classes to boost my GPA but also I feel like admissions won't look too favorably at it. My only strong point is the fact that I am working on coauthoring a paper and working on some research that should be done and published within the next year but even then I don't know how stellar that actually is.

    Also, first semester sophomore year I got C+ in bio and had a W. I only managed to get an A in differential equations and B in BME courses. However, spring semester sophomore year I got all A's. If I am able to keep this up and maybe only get one B for each semester I have left would that give me a realistic chance of getting into a good school? (and by good I mean my dream school which is Duke lol)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2017 #2


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    If you can keep your GPA north of 3.5 and play a major role in research that leads to a publication, you will likely be competitive for most Medical Physics graduate programs. By "competitive" I don't mean that you're guaranteed anything though. A lot can depend on how many others apply and what their details are. But I think you'd be in a good enough position that it would be worth you're time to apply.

    With respect to getting B's in your physics classes... you're right in that the more advanced physics classes will be more challenging. And not only that, but they will build on stuff that you've already covered, so if you hope to do better, it might help to make sure you review the material you've covered and fill in any holes. It might also help to take a serious look at your approach to studying and exams and see if there's anything you can do to improve the grades you're earning.

    With respect to electives, I would try to avoid playing the game of taking "easy" courses to boost your GPA. This strategy can backfire. The courses that you expect to be easy can turn out to be a real challenge - particularly if you're not all that interested in the topic. And people on admissions committees will look closely at your courses too. That's not to say every course has to be a challenging STEM course either though. Taking about one non-STEM course for every four STEM courses worked well for me.

    Without knowing the specifics of your current program, I can make some general recommendations about courses to take that would he helpful for someone going into medical physics. These would include
    • an advanced or senior level physics laboratory
    • signal and/or image processing
    • mathematical methods in physics
    • senior level E&M
    • computational physics course
    • any programming course
    • first year biology or cell biology
    • cancer biology
    • anatomy & physiology
  4. Jul 10, 2017 #3
    oh yeah thats good I have actually taken most of those classes except cancer biology and ofc the physics classes but i have programming, medical imaging, and physiology under my belt
    i def know i will need to study more for physics before i got by on just cramming a few hours before the exam since I was focused on my pre-med classes which ended up being completely useless lol :rolleyes:
    as always, thank you
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