Radiation and Radiological Sciences Graduate Program

Radiological Medical Physics

Radiological medical physics is an applied branch of physics concerned with the application of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.  Professionals in this area are involved with clinical service, consultation, teaching and research.  One major service is the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients.  Such treatments use external radiation beams or internal radioactive sources and optimize the tumor-to-healthy tissue dose ratio.  An indispensable service is the accurate measurement of radiation output from sources employed in cancer therapy.  Other important functions include the investigation of equipment performance, organization of quality control practices, design of radiation installations and control of medical radiation hazards.  Such individuals often find their primary responsibilities in radiation therapy, nuclear medicine or diagnostic imaging areas. 

The UK Radiological Medical Physics Programs

The Radiation Medicine Department in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky currently offers a Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy degree and a one year Certificate Program in Radiological Medical Physics.  

Master of Science in Radiological Medical Physics

The program provides students with a thorough didactic grounding in fundatmental and specialized medical physics, with hands-on experience using state-of-the-art equipment, and is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Programs (CAMPEP).

Doctor of Philosophy in Radiation and Radiological Sciences

The PhD program is based on the MS program in terms of course work and clinical training.  It provides students with intensive and in-depth training in research and clinic work to prepare them for a successful career in academics, clinical service, or industry.

One Year Medical Physics Certificate Program

The Radiation Medicine Department in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky offers a graduated certificate in General Radiological medical Physics. For more details go to:  https://radiationmedicine.med.uky.edu/radiation-graduate-certificate-general-radiological-medical-physics

The Features of UK Medical Physics programs:

  • Provides intensive clinical training

  • Is a small, selective program that provides individual mentoring for all students. The program accepts a maximum of 8 students per year.

  • Has a 40 year history of providing didactic and clinical training of the highest quality.

  • Offers both in-house and affiliate residencies that exclusively accept graduates from our program.

  • Prepares graduates to successfully compete in the national Medical Physics residency match program.

  • Enjoys a 100% acceptance rate of graduates into residencies since 2013.

  • The national network of UK graduates is extensive. Included are three AAPM past presidents as well as numerous other active professionals.

The University of Kentucky program is unique in that most of the time is spent learning in the clinical setting, working on the requirements of our detailed clinical practicum. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP) and is one of the premier clinical medical physics programs in North America, and is particularly well-known and liked for its hands-on student training. Our graduates do very well on certification examinations offered by the American Board of Radiology, and historically have been very successful at finding great careers. We are pleased to speak with prospective students or with those who simply want to know more about medical physics. Below please find additional specific information about our program.

  • The University of Kentucky offers a clinically-oriented terminal masters degree and a doctoral degree. In addition, we offer a CAMPEP-accredited residency program in Radiation Therapy Physics that preferentially accepts graduates of our program.

  • Because of UK's clinical practicum training, our students compete well against graduates of other programs that provide less clinical training.  If you decide to come visit us, you will see first-hand the kind of training our students get, and have a chance to talk with them.  

  • Currently, professionals wishing to sit for the American Board of Radiology examination must present evidence of being enrolled in and/or having graduated from a CAMPEP-accredited residency program.

  • All of the accredited medical physics programs have large applicant pools. We do not have TA or RA support available for MS students, but may be available for PhD students.

  • Prospective students applying from certain southeastern states are eligible for Academic Common Market status to this program, which means that for tuition purposes they are treated as in-state residents. The states which have listed our program include Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Other southeastern states NOT having medical physics programs of their own at state-supported schools, can be added to this list upon appropriate application by the student.

  • Our graduates do very well on the American Board of Radiology certification exams, and on the oral Board exam section will typically pass on the first try.

  • As soon as possible, you should arrange to shadow a local or regional medical physicist for several hours one day, so as to obtain a first-hand view of the typical workday of a clinical therapeutic medical physicist.

  • We select the members of each year's class based on the strength of their academic credentials and also factor in their apparent ability to work well in a team setting. Our classes typically bond closely together and can be seen in later years clustered together at annual meetings of the AAPM. Our ability to assess an applicant's "teamwork skills" is greatly enhanced by meeting applicants and chatting with them for a while. Therefore, we strongly encourage a visit to UK's program, which ideally will occur no later than mid-to-late January (the sooner, the better). Many programs begin offering admission by early February, so you are strongly encouraged to have all application materials in to your desired schools, and visits made, no later than the end of January.

For more information, contact:

Medical Physics Program Coordinator:

Rachel Pendleton
Department of Radiation Medicine
UK Chandler Medical Center, Pavilion H, C121
800 Rose St
Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0293
(859) 257-7616


Director of Graduate Studies:
Lee Johnson, Ph.D.
Department of Radiation Medicine
UK Chandler Medical Center,
800 Rose St., Pavillion H, Room C25
Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0293
(859) 323-1570

For International Students, Please Contact:

Associate Director for International Collaborations:

Wei Luo, Ph.D.
Department of Radiation Medicine
UK Chandler Medical Center
800 Rose St., Pavilion CC, Room CC065
Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0093
(859) 323-4768

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Last Updated: 12/13/2017