Ph. D. Requirements

    Committee on Medical Physics The medical physicist working at the Ph.D. level in the interdisciplinary area of physics and medicine must thoroughly understand basic physical phenomena, must have sufficient knowledge of biological systems to be able to apply physical concepts and principles, and must be able to communicate his or her ideas to others. The University of Chicago - with outstanding departments of physical, mathematical, and biological sciences and with a medical school intensely motivated toward research - offers a particularly favorable climate for the student who seeks this training. The candidate for the Ph.D. may elect to do his or her research in the Department of Radiology, in the Department of Radiation Oncology, or in any other department in which physical phenomena have a direct application to medicine. These include areas such as Audiology, Cardiology, Neurology, and Opthalmology. The Ph.D. degree is expected to take four or five years of work after the Bachelor's degree, during which time the following requirements must be met:

    1. Satisfactory completion of the basic required courses with an average grade of "B" or higher and no grade lower than "C".
    2. Passage of the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination at the Ph.D. level.
    3. Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Admission will require the following:
      1. Demonstration of fundamental competence in digital computer programming.
      2. Submission of a program of study to the department that can be expected to provide a satisfactory level of general competence in medical physics and a suitable degree of specialization in some specific area. Passage of at least 18 quarter courses with a "B" average and with no grade lower than "C" is normally required for the Ph.D. degree. These must include the basic required courses and nine elective courses. These electives must
        1. include at least five (5) courses at the 300 level or above,and at least one of these 300-level courses must be in the Physics department;
        2. include up to a maximum of two research courses, and
        3. meet the approval of the student's advisor.
        If a student enters the program with a master's degree in physics or the equivalent or if a student is associated with the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), the Committee may reduce the minimum number of courses required to 14 and may modify the distributional requirements.
      3. All Biological Sciences Division (BSD) graduate students are required to fulfill the evaluated teaching requirement by serving as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in two courses. The Teaching Assistantships (100 credits each), listed as BSD 501 (Fall), 502 (Winter), 503 (Spring), and 504 (Summer) are to be taken for credit with Pass/Fail grades. Graduate Students have the option of taking the Teaching Assistant training course for credit to fulfill one of the two TA requirements. This course will cover a range of theoretical and practical aspects of teaching in a variety of formats including lectures, panels, and much interactive discussion and presentation.
      4. During his or her first 6 months in the Committee on Medical Physics (CMP), a student may petition to the Curriculum Committee for course substitution or course credit. Such petitions are also necessary for MSTP students or students entering with a master's degree in physics or the equivalent who wish to reduce their course requirements from those specified above. For such students, the Curriculum Committee may reduce the minimum number of courses required to 16 and may modify the distributional requirements. Because of this 6-month window, it is extremely important that all students review their prior coursework with their advisors upon entering the CMP in order to determine whether submission for course substitution or course credit is appropriate. Note that "course substitution" requires the student to substitute another course for the waived course without reduction of the total required number of courses, whereas "course credit" gives the student credit towards the number of courses required for graduation for the waived course. It should be noted that petitions for course substitution or credit will be accepted only during the first 6 months of the student's enrollment in the CMP. The Curriculum Committee will consider the requests from each student and determine the appropriate action: no waiver, waiver with course substitution, or waiver with course credit.
    4. Preparation of a written Dissertation Research Proposal acceptable to the faculty.
    5. Completion of a dissertation based on original research that is satisfactory to the department. The dissertation will be judged on the basis of its contribution to knowledge in its field and its suitability for publication.
    6. Passage of an oral Final Examination on the area of specialty and the dissertation.

    Other related documents:

    General Requirements
    GPMP Course Requirements
    Suggested Basic Course Sequence
    Suggested Elective Courses
    Descriptions of Courses
    Examinations in the Program