School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Medical Physics


MASTER OF SCIENCE with a major in Medical Physics

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY with a major in Medical Physics

The Radiation Oncology Department is responsible for the day-to-day care of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. The staff is actively involved in clinical research including participation in national studies and in teaching all aspects of cancer treatment and research throughout the School of Medicine and hospitals. Members of the department staff are also active in radiobiology and cancer biology research. The graduate programs in medical and radiological physics prepare students for a career in medical physics and certification in therapeutic and/or diagnostic radiological physics by the American Board of Radiology.


The Department of Radiation Oncology collaborates with the Department of Radiology to offer courses of study leading to a Master of Science degree in Radiological Physics or a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Medical Physics. Through courses, seminars, clinical internships, and laboratories, the programs provide experience in the following areas:

Diagnostic Radiology: Calibration, acceptance testing and quality assurance for a number of devices used in the fields of conventional radiology, ultrasound, digital radiology, and computed tomography (CT).

Magnetic Resonance: Principles of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); NMR spectroscopy; imaging in biology and medicine; instrumental design, operation, and maintenance; cryogen management; and the role of the medical physicist in clinical applications of NMR.

Nuclear Medicine: Assay of radionuclides, acceptance testing, quality assurance, and computer techniques for a variety of nuclear medicine equipment including emission tomography.

Radiation Dosimetry: Exposure, kerma, absorbed dose, dose equivalent. Bragg-Gray theory and the Spencer-Attix formulation. Detection and measurement methods including ionization chambers, TLD, calorimetry, ferrous sulfate, film, track etch, scintillators, Geiger-Mueller tubes. Microdosimetry, event size spectra, Rossi counters, applications to high LET dosimetry. Dosimetry protocols for high energy photons and electrons (TG 51), neutron and charged particle protocols.

Radiation Safety: Federal, state, and local regulations; instrumentation; patient and personnel dosimetry; shielding design; monitoring.

Radiation Therapy: Calibration; acceptance testing; quality assurance; radiation surveys; radiation room design; implant dosimetry; in vivo dosimetry; special devices; treatment planning; sealed sources; dose calculations. Practical experience with Co-60 units, linear accelerators, high dose rate remote afterloading, gamma knife, neutron radiotherapy cyclotron, CT simulation, and a variety of dosimetry equipment in demonstrations and laboratories.

Admission to these programs is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School and the Graduate Programs of the School of Medicine. A bachelor's degree in physics or a physical science is the preferred background for students entering these programs, although candidates with degrees in other scientific or technological specialties may be accepted provided they have an adequate education in physics and mathematics. Applicants with incomplete physics and/or mathematics backgrounds will normally be required to complete their preparation in these areas before acceptance into a program.

Course subjects appropriate to graduate work in medical and radiological physics include human anatomy and physiology, electronics, mechanics, nuclear physics, modern physics, radiological physics (applicable to all areas of radiology), radiobiology, radiation safety, computer science, and statistics.

Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the School of Medicine governing graduate scholarships and degrees.


The Master of Science with a major in Medical Physics is offered under Plan B. For course requirements, contact the Program Director at the address below.

The Ph.D. degree requires ninety credits beyond the baccalaureate including thirty credits of dissertation direction. The clinical internship is required. The dissertation must be based on original research under the direction of a graduate faculty adviser.


The faculty of the medical physics graduate programs offer students ample opportunity to work on special projects, primarily of a research nature. A wide selection of interesting and fulfilling projects is available for Master's Essay or Ph.D. Dissertation research.

The department has graduate assistantships and graduate research positions available for a number of qualified full-time students. All students accepted into the graduate degree program are considered for financial assistance and no application forms are necessary for this purpose. Students on assistantships are advised to elect no more than twelve credits in a given semester. All students, whether or not they hold a fellowship or an assistantship, are required to assist the graduate faculty in teaching and research activities as a component of their educational experience. For more complete information on graduate programs, students should consult the Medical Physics Graduate Program, or write to:

Dr. Jay Burmeister - Graduate Officer
Department of Radiation Oncology
Wayne State University
School of Medicine
540 E. Canfield Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201

Medical Physics