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Admissions - Frequently Asked Questions

I am an international student interested in undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Can I apply to your program?

Our program is only open to graduate-level applicants who already have 4-year undergraduate (BS or BA) degrees. Individuals who meet this requirement, can apply online. If you are interested in a 4-year undergraduate degree program, check the University of Wisconsin - Madison Undergraduate Majors and Certificate Program website for more information.

I have not taken the GRE or TOEFL (required for international students) yet. What do I do?

If you know that the scores will be available by December 1 preceding the academic year for which you are applying and are confident they will meet the requirements for entry into the Medical Physics program, you may begin the application process now, as it takes time to gather the necessary documents. The institution code you will need is 1846. The department code is not required as GRE scores are received electronically from Educational Testing Service.

Can the TOEFL requirement be waived?

If you are a U.S. national or have studied at an institution where English is the official language of instruction for at least 2 semesters within the past five years, the TOEFL requirement does not apply. Other possible exceptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Can the GRE General Test requirement be waived?

No. The GRE General Test is an absolute requirement for admission consideration. There are NO exceptions. Applications that do not include GRE General Test scores are not considered by the Admissions Committee. More information on the GRE test can be found here

Is the GRE Physics Subject Test required?

While the GRE Physics Subject Test is only recommended, many successful candidates for admission to the Medical Physics program do take it.

Can I apply to more than one Department at the University of Wisconsin - Madison?

Yes. However, you will need to contact each department separately to determine the admission requirements as requirements vary from one department to another.

What financial aid is available?

  1. Scholarships: The Medical Physics department does not offer scholarships. Applicants who qualify for admittance are submitted for Fellowship consideration, but only a limited number receive them. Typically, Fellowships are awarded to Ph.D. candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

  2. Teaching Assistantships: We do not offer Teaching Assistantships for first year students. To become a Teaching Assistant, you must first take the class and then be selected by the Professor for the course.

  3. Research Assistantships: Most students in our department are supported by research assistantships, but not all admitted students are offered research assistantships. To obtain one, you should directly contact a faculty member in the area of research in which you are interested after admission to the Medical Physics Department. An online faculty listing is available. Research assistants receive a stipend and tuition remission. Typically, 85-90% of admitted students receive Research Assistantships.

What are the entry requirements for the Medical Physics Ph.D. Program if I already have a M.S. Degree?

Entrance into the Medical Physics Ph.D. Degree Program requires successful completion of a Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Exam and a Ph.D. Prelim Exam, with the latter focused on the student's specific research proposal. If you earned your M.S. degree at a university other than the University of Wisconsin - Madison, you may need to take specific graduate-level courses to prepare for the exam.

Do you accept new students for the spring semester?

We strongly discourage applications for spring semester. Our course sequence is designed such that prerequisites for more advanced courses are more easily met by starting the program in the fall semester. Exceptions do occur, but only rarely.

What is the process for applying to the Medical Physics Program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison?

Verify you meet the criteria outlined in the screening letter you receive via e-mail. Most Medical Physics graduate school applicants are physics majors. For students majoring in other science disciplines, preparation in physics must be equivalent to at least a minor in physics and must include modern physics, a prerequisite for core medical physics courses. An applicant's mathematics background should include calculus, differential equations, Fourier analysis, and, preferably, linear algebra. Some experience in computer programming and electronic instrumentation is recommended. Two semesters of chemistry, a biology course, and an introductory course in physiology are advantageous.

The Medical Physics Department prefers electronic submission of as many documents as possible. The only exceptions are transcripts. Paper application packets are no longer available.

Are paper copies of information and application materials available?

No. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School no longer accepts paper applications, and the Medical Physics Department prefers electronic submission of application documents whenever possible. The only exceptions are transcripts.

How competitive is admission to the University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical Physics program?

Admission to the Medical Physics Graduate Program is competitive. However, all completed applications received prior to the deadline will receive consideration. Statistics for the past 14 years as follows:

YearAppliedAdmittedEnrolledInter-nationalAverage Admitted GPAAverage Admitted GRE ScoresAverage Admitted Physics GRE
201585271118%3.6V72% Q82% A65%Physics 61%
2014103341613%3.75V75% Q83% A57%Physics 34%
2013101341718%3.61V67% Q87% A59%Physics 36%
2012109341816%3.72V77% Q88% A52%Physics 58%
2011111381921%3.64V65% Q79% A42%Physics 48%
2010138441928%3.75V74% Q84% A53%Physics 56%

Does the Medical Physics Program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison offer Distance / Online learning?

At this time, we do not have distance/online learning options in place. Our general requirement is for students to be on campus for all M.S. degree work and for at least the first year of Ph.D. degree work. This is essential, as Medical Physics is very much a "hands-on" program. In order for you to receive the high-quality education and training we provide, you will need regular access to the labs, which makes local residency a requirement. Occasionally, a student who is in dissertator status will continue his/her Ph.D. research elsewhere. However, that is not the norm, and your advisor and the Graduate Committee Chair must agree to it.

I want to transfer from my current graduate-level physics program at a non-University of Wisconsin school to the University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical Physics program. What should I do?

The only applicants considered to be transfer students to our program are students who already attend the University of Wisconsin - Madison in another program. You will need to complete the application process to be considered for admission to our program.

I've already completed some graduate-level coursework. Will I be able to transfer my credits to your program?

The maximum number of course credit transfers allowed is in accordance with University of Wisconsin-Madison policies and procedures. Requests for acceptance of transfer credits are reviewed by the Graduate Committee Chair in close consultation with the professor for each relevant course.

What is the typical length of time it takes to complete a Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison?

The average completion time for the Ph.D. degree is 5-7 years. Exceptional candidates whose research projects are extremely successful may complete Ph.D. degree requirements in less than 5 years.

Is there a preference for M.S. or Ph.D. candidates in admission consideration?

Often incoming students are offered research assistantships in a lab, and it is usually the advisor's preference to choose longer-term candidates as it is to the benefit of the lab as well as to the candidate. Also, only Ph.D. candidates are considered for Fellowships. (The one exception is the Medical Radiation Research Center / Accredited Dosimetry Calibration Laboratory. Usually, 2 or 3 M.S. degree candidates may be accepted into that lab each year.) Other specialties in our field often require a Ph.D., and we have a high rate of post-graduation placement.

I've completed the application process. What should I do next?

Take some time to review the section of our website that addresses the work being done in various labs and by the faculty members. The applicants who are most highly ranked by the Admissions Committee are invited to attend an Open House in February. At that time, connections are usually made to determine research assistantships. It's a good idea to try and narrow down your specific interests in Medical Physics before you attend the Open House, as there are many research areas and labs from which to choose.

The University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical Physics Program is accredited by CAMPEP, Inc. Are there opportunities for Ph.D. degree program students who do NOT wish to complete all the core curriculum requirements defined by CAMPEP to "opt out" of such requirements?

The University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical Physics Program has options for students to complete the Ph.D. degree in medical physics with or without completion of the core curriculum required by CAMPEP accreditation. Those students who complete the core curriculum receive attestation of such completion, which might be required for subsequent admission to a medical physics residency program and/or the American Board of Radiology board certification process.

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