Medical Physics Program Curriculum

Fifteen medical physics course units (CU) at the graduate level will be required for the Master of Medical Physics (MMP) degree. With the exception of submatriculants admitted from Penn, students may not apply any graduate-level courses taken as undergraduates against that 15 CU requirement. The program will normally be completed full-time in four semesters, not including summer sessions. Exceptions for part-time study may be granted by the Program Director.

For more information about Penn LPS's approach to medical physics training, please see the following course requirements and electives:


Medical Physics Courses - Year 1

During the first year, students will take the following 8 required medical physics courses (for a total of 7 course units):

  • MMP 501: Introduction to Radiation Protection
  • MMP 502: Medical Ethics/Governmental Regulation
  • MMP 506: Physics of Radiation Therapy
  • MMP 511: Image-Based Anatomy (as required by the ABR)
  • PHYS 561: Electromagnetism I (or PHYS 500: Mathematical Methods)
  • PHYS 562: Electromagnetism II (or PHYS 516: Electromagnetic Phenomena)
  • PHYS 521: Advanced Laboratory (with MP-specific experiments added)
  • PHYS 582: Medical Radiation Engineering

In addition to these medical physics courses, students will be required to complete an Introductory Practicum rotation (MMP 525 and 526), where they will be introduced to the various subspecialties of medical physics including radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, and medical health physics.


back to top

Medical Physics Courses - Year 2

During the second year, all students will take the following required medical physics courses:

  • MMP 507/BE 583: Physics of Molecular and Medical Imaging
  • MMP 512: Radiation Biology (as required by the ABR)
  • MATH 584: Mathematics for Medical Imaging
  • MMP 599: Capstone Project (2 CUs)

Students beginning their second year will be required to select an area of clinical concentration. Based on this area of clinical concentration, along with the guidance of their academic advisor or Program Director, students will select/arrange the following:

  • MMP 531: Clinical Practicum
  • Elective course

Elective Medical Physics Courses

Elective courses may include courses on the following topics: Molecular Imaging, Quantitative Human Physiology, Biological Physics, Optics, Cancer Biology, Techniques of MRI, Quantum Mechanics, Quantitative Image Analysis, Optical Imaging, Probability and Statistics for Biotechnology or other courses as approved by the Program Director.

Seminar Series: Required, Non-Credit Medical Physics Course

All students in the Medical Physics Graduate Program will be required to attend the non-credit Medical Physics Seminar Series as part of their medical physics course requirements. This series will be clinically oriented and will survey the various subspecialties of medical physics.

Second year Clinical Practicum with Presentation

Each student is expected to spend approximately 250 hours per semester of the second year completing a Clinical Practicum in his or her chosen area of clinical concentration. With guidance from the practicum advisor, the student will also select an appropriate topic or project and will prepare a paper of appropriate length and presentation to be given at the end of the second semester.

A typical program for a student selecting a radiation oncology concentration would consist of:

First year, First semester medical physics courses:

  • MMP 501: Introduction to Radiation Protection
  • MMP 511: Image-Based Anatomy
  • MMP 525: Introductory Practicum
  • PHYS 561: Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 582: Medical Radiation Engineering
  • Seminar Series

First year, Second semester medical physics courses:

  • MMP 502: Medical Ethics/Governmental Regulation
  • MMP 506: Physics of Radiation Therapy
  • MMP 526: Introductory Practicum
  • PHYS 562: Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 521: Advanced Laboratory
  • Seminar Series
  • MMP 531: Clinical Practicum

Second year, First semester medical physics courses:

  • MMP 507/BE 583: Physics of Molecular and Medical Imaging
  • BE 546: Fundamental Techniques of Imaging/Therapy I (MMP Lab Course)
  • MATH 584: Mathematics for Medical Imaging
  • MMP 599: Capstone Project
  • Seminar Series

Second year, Second semester medical physics courses:

  • MMP 512: Radiation Biology
  • MMP 531: Clinical Practicum in Radiation Oncology
  • BE 547: Fundamental Techniques of Imaging/Therapy II (MMP Lab Course)
  • MMP 599: Capstone Project
  • Seminar Series

back to top

Medical Physics Course Descriptions

  • MMP 501: Introduction to Radiation Protection: Introduction to applied nuclear and atomic physics; radioactive decay; radiation interactions; biological effects and safety guidelines; radiation detection, instrumentation and protection.
  • MMP 502: Medical Ethics/Governmental Regulation: Fundamentals of professional ethics for medical physicist through exploration of Code of Ethics (published by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine); case studies; survey of governmental regulations pertinent to medical physics will be covered.
  • MMP 506: Physics of Radiation Therapy: Clinical radiation oncology physics; principles of radiation producing equipment; photon and electron beams; ionization chambers and calibration protocols; brachytherapy, dose modeling and calculations, treatment planning.
  • MMP 507/BE 583: Physics of Molecular and Medical Imaging: Physical principles of diagnostic radiology, fluoroscopy, computed tomography; principles of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging; radioisotope production, gamma cameras, SPECT systems, PET systems; diagnostic and nuclear medicine facilities and regulations. This course includes an emphasis on the emerging field of molecular imaging.
  • MMP 511: Image-Based Anatomy: Taught by a radiation oncologist, this medical physics course will focus on major organ systems and disease areas and be presented from a radiologic or imaging (including cross-sectional) viewpoint in addition to a standard anatomy and physiology presentation. This course is required by the ABR.
  • MMP 512: Radiation Biology: Fundamental knowledge of mechanisms and biological responses of human beings to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation through the study of effects of radiation on molecules, cells and humans; radiation lesions and repair; mechanisms of cell death; cell cycle effect, radiation sensitizers and protectors; tumor radiobiology; relative sensitivities of human tissue and radiation carcinogenesis. This course is required by the ABR.
  • PHYS 561: Electromagnetism I: Intermediate course covering electrostatic fields and potentials, dielectrics and direct currents.
  • PHYS 562: Electromagnetism II: A continuation of PHYS 561 covering magnetic fields and potentials, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves and radiation.
  • PHYS 500: Mathematical Methods: Concepts and techniques of classical analysis employed in physical theories. Topics include complex analysis, Fourier series and transforms, ordinary and partial equations and Hilbert spaces.
  • PHYS 516: Electromagnetic Phenomena: Electrostatics and magnetostatics, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves and radiation.
  • PHYS 521: Advanced Laboratory: Directed experiments in classical, modern and medical physics introducing the student to modern laboratory instrumentation and techniques.
  • PHYS 582: Medical Radiation Engineering: Fundamental concepts underlying radiological physics and radiation dosimetry. Covers photon and neutron attenuation, radiation and charged particle equilibrium, interactions of photons and charged particles with matter and radiotherapy dosimetry, including photographic, calorimetric, chemical, and thermoluminescence dosimetry.
  • MATH 584: Mathematics for Medical Imaging: Covers the basic principles of mathematical analysis, the Fourier transform, interpolation and approximation of functions, sampling theory, digital filtering and noise analysis.


back to top

Medical Physics Course Electives

  • PHYS 580: Biological Physics: A survey of basic biological processes at all levels of organization (molecule, cell, organism, population) in the light of simple ideas from physics.
  • PHYS 530: Optics: Introduction to contemporary optics, including propagation and guiding of light waves, interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter, lasers, non-linear optics, coherent transient phenomena, photon correlation spectroscopies and photon diffusion.
  • BMB 585: Cancer Biology: This course provides foundational information about the molecular basis of cancer.
  • BMB 581: Techniques of MRI: A detailed survey of the physics and engineering of magnetic resonance imaging as applied to medical diagnosis.
  • PHYS 531: Quantum Mechanics: Wave mechanics, complementarity and correspondence principles, semi-classical approximation, bound state techniques, periodic potentials, angular momentum, scattering theory, phase shift analysis and resonance phenomena.
  • BE 546: Quantitative Image Analysis: This course focuses of different kinds of analysis methods along with brief reviews of mathematical background and examples of specific areas of biomedical application.
  • BE 517: Optical Imaging: A modern introduction to the physical principles of optical imaging with biomedical applications.
  • CBE 508: Probability and Statistics for Biotechnology: This course is designed as an overview of probability and statistics including linear regression, correlation, and multiple regressions.


back to top

Contact Us

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

Telephone: 215.898.7326
Fax: 215.573.2053
Visitors: Directions

Maps of Penn