Prospective Students

Biomedical Physics - an Emerging Interdisciplinary Field

Modern medical disciplines rely upon an ever-expanding arsenal of technology. This is particularly true of radiology and radiation oncology, which have provided clinical advances including x-ray computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radiation therapy, radiopharmaceutical therapy, and molecular imaging and diagnostics. The process of development and application of these technologies is a continuum that incorporates modern physics, imaging, signal processing, biostatistics and bioinformatics, and chemistry and molecular biology, all with an emphasis on meeting the needs of clinical medicine. Correspondingly, scientists in the fields of radiology and radiation oncology require a unique skill set to effectively innovate and implement novel technologies for the improvement of human health. This new Stanford PhD program seeks to train future generations of leaders in medical physics, imaging science, molecular imaging and diagnostics, allowing them to translate these new tools to address critical challenges in clinical medicine.

The PhD Degree in Biomedical Physics

The Biomedical Physics Program (BMP) is joint effort under the Stanford School of Medicine Departments of Radiology and Radiation Oncology and offers instruction and research opportunities leading to a PhD degree in Biomedical Physics. The goal is to train students in research focused on technology translatable to clinical medicine, including radiation therapy, image-guided therapy, diagnostic, interventional, and molecular imaging, and other forms of disease detection and characterization with molecular diagnostics. These students will be prepared for a variety of career paths, including faculty positions at academic institutions, clinical physics roles in radiology and radiation oncology departments, industry, and roles at government and other private sector organizations focusing on medical- and bio-technology. Given the evolution of modern medicine towards technologically sophisticated treatments and diagnostics, particularly in the areas of imaging, molecular biomarkers, and radiation therapy, there is a need for well-trained leaders with this educational background and the skills to conduct meaningful and significant research in this field. Stanford University has a rich tradition of innovation and education within these disciplines, with advances ranging from the development and application of the medical linear accelerator towards radiation treatment of cancer to the engineering of non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging having been pioneered here. Accordingly, Stanford is home to a breadth of faculty with outstanding achievements. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the close proximity and frequent interactions among the Stanford Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Humanities and Sciences provide an ideal environment to offer students outstanding training in both the clinical and scientific aspects of this discipline.

The program can provide flexibility and can complement other opportunities in applied medical research at Stanford. Special arrangements may be made for those with unusual needs or those simultaneously enrolled in other degree programs within the University. Similarly, students with prior relevant training may have the curriculum adjusted to eliminate requirements met as part of prior training.

Prerequisites

As Biomedical Physics is a highly multidisciplinary area of study, we are seeking students from a variety of scientific backgrounds.  Undergraduates with strong quantitative skills majoring in physics, engineering, or the biological sciences are encouraged to apply.  No GRE exams are required for admissions.

Degree Requirements

The doctoral program is a full-time, residential, research-oriented program, with student typically starting in the fall quarter and spending an average of about 5-6 years at Stanford.

Candidates are encouraged to explore the various research interests of the biomedical physics core and affiliated faculty, with lab rotations during the first year expose students to different laboratories. Prior to being formally admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree at the end of the second year of study, each student must demonstrate knowledge of biomedical physics fundamentals and a potential for succeeding in research by passing a qualifying examination. Students later complete and defend a doctoral dissertation.

Details of the curriculum and specific degree requirements are described on Stanford Bulletin.

Funding

All BMP PhD students who maintain satisfactory academic progress receive full financial support (tuition and a living stipend) for the duration of their doctoral program. However, the number of admitted students is limited by funding, hence applicants are encouraged, but not required, to apply for external fellowship support (e.g., NSF or Stanford's Knight-Hennessy Scholars program) on their own.

Application Instructions and Deadlines

Applications are due late November/early December each year. See details on the Graduate Admissions webpage.

There is a $125 application fee. Applicants who need assistance with the application fee are encouraged to apply for a fee waiver. Preference is given to low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The Application Deadline: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (11:59:59 pm PST).

  • Complete the Biomedical Physics PhD application online. Note that only one Stanford PhD application per academic year is allowed, and that Biosciences, Bioengineering, and Electrical Engineering are not part of the Biomedical Physics Program.
  • Submit scanned (unofficial) transcripts as part of the Biomedical Physics application. Graduate Admissions only requires admitted applicants who accept the offer of admission to submit official transcripts that shows their degree conferral. Please do not send or have sent any official transcripts to us at this time.
  • See our page about the Personal Statement.
  • Please include an up-to-date version of your CV.
  • The GRE General Test score is not required and will not be considered if submitted. We do not require any GRE Subject Test scores.
  • Application materials, including letters of recommendation, should be received by the deadline. We do review all applications, including incomplete ones.
  • For materials that are mailed, please use our Contact Address.
  • Please do NOT upload supporting materials, such as published papers, unpublished manuscripts, BS or MS theses, writing samples, posters, or class projects, with your application.
  • Check the status of your application can be tracked through the Biomedical Physics status webpage. Interview invitations go out in early January, and interviews are in late February or early March. Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis starting in March. Finals decisions from admitted candidates are due by April 15.
  • The selection of PhD students admitted to BMP is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.
  • Deferral of admission: BMP generally does not allow deferral of admission to the PhD program, and it is better for you to apply when you are ready to begin your graduate study following the normal timeline. However, sometimes one's circumstances change; please contact us if that happens to you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

It is highly recommended that you review our Frequently Asked Questions page.