PhD in Bioengineering - Medical Physics Concentration


Admission Deadline


Admission Cycle

Application Deadline

PhD in Bioengineering - Medical Physics Concentration  Fall semester 2024 December 15, 2023

Admission Process

Our Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. Along with a solid academic record and communication skills, our program is looking for individuals who desire to make an impact in the field of medical physics.  An interview is required for admission.  Select applicants will be invited to interview in person.  Admitted applicants will be invited for Visit Day.

Applicants who wish to be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Medical Physics program if not admitted to the Bioengineering PhD program must apply to the MSMP program by the deadline.  Applicants will need to use different email addresses for the Bioengineering PhD application (through the School of Engineering and Applied Science) and MSMP application (through the Perelman School of Medicine). No MS application fee is required.  Email the MPGP Team at to request a fee waiver code to put on the MS application for admission in order to waive the application fee.

Prerequisite Requirements (note explanations marked by *)

  1. Bachelor’s degree in physics, engineering, or physical sciences discipline from an accredited institution (or the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree)
  2. *Minimum of an undergraduate minor in physics or its equivalent
  3. Complete one computer science/programming course (one semester/course). This course must be listed on the applicant's transcript
  4. Applicants who have completed or will be completing a master's degree in medical physics from a CAMPEP-accredited program are not eligible for the PhD in Bioengineering - Medical Physics Concentration. 

Application Requirements (note explanations marked by *)

  1. Completion of the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Bioengineering PhD program application for admission and all stated requirements on the Doctoral Program Admissions page.  Select the Medical Physics Concentration within the application. 
  2. An unofficial transcript in English from each university or college where you earned course credit should be uploaded into the Bioengineering PhD application.  An unofficial transcript must show the applicant name, institution name, names of courses completed, and grades earned.  If an unofficial transcript does not show this information, you must submit an official transcript.  Official transcripts should be emailed to the MPGP Team at directly from the issuing institution's official electronic delivery service. 
  3. The following additional requirements for the Medical Physics Concentration are to be completed in the Bioengineering PhD application:
    • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a faculty member who is familiar with your scholarly abilities. (Contact information of recommenders required in online application; application system will ask these individuals to upload their letters)
    • Personal statement:  In 1000 words or less, please describe your career objectives and reasons for choosing the PhD in Bioengineering - Medical Physics Concentration program at Penn, including any previous experience with the field of medical physics.  Also, use this as an opportunity to tell us about yourself and help us get to know you better.  A well-written and thoughtful, though concise, essay is an important part of your application. 
  4. Completion of Intent to Apply to the Medical Physics Concentration form
  5. **Additional requirements for applicants with degrees earned outside of the U.S. 

It is preferred that applicants:

  • Take undergraduate coursework in these subject areas: Differential Equations, calculus (four semesters/courses), chemistry (two semesters/courses), biology (one semester/course)

*Minimum of an Undergraduate Minor in Physics or its Equivalent

  • A minor in physics, required by CAMPEP, is defined as two calculus-based introductory physics courses and at least three upper-division (junior- or senior-level) undergraduate physics courses.  Upper-division physics courses include Electricity and Magnetism (preferred), Atomic Physics (preferred), Modern Physics (preferred), Quantum Mechanics (preferred), Classical Mechanics (preferred), Optics, Nuclear Physics, and Heat & Thermodynamics. The advanced physics courses should address theoretical principles from a physics curriculum.  Courses that are primarily applied and related to engineering, chemistry, health, or medical physics are not acceptable. 
  • Per the American Board of Radiology (ABR), standards for course acceptability are:  1) the course must appear on an official transcript; 2) the course must be equivalent to a standard 3-credit course; and 3) the course must have a passing standard.  It is recommended that you contact the professor of the course to inquire if you are unsure of whether a course meets these standards, or if you are unsure if the course is considered introductory or upper-division at the undergraduate level as compared to the other physics courses offered at the institution.  Massive open online courses (MOOC) such as EdX and Coursera typically do not meet these standards and thus are not acceptable. 
  • Applicants may earn the equivalency of a physics minor at any regionally accredited institution.  Transcripts of all courses taken for credit are a requirement of the application. 

**Additional Requirements for Applicants with Degrees Earned Outside of the U.S.

  1. Course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary transcripts earned outside of the U.S. (including those from colleges/universities where English is the language of instruction) through a credential verification service, such as World Education Services (WES) or Educational Perspectives. It is recommended that you request a course-by-course evaluation at least 2 months before the application deadline, although the process may take less time.   
    • WES reports (WES Basic or ICAP) should be sent to:
      • University of Pennsylvania
      • Department:  SEAS Graduate Admissions (Engineering)
    • Educational Perspectives reports can be directly selected from within the online application. If using Educational Perspectives, it is encouraged to submit your application at least two months in advance to allow sufficient time for the transcript evaluation process.
  2. English Proficiency:  Applicants whose first language is not English or who do not hold a degree from an English-language college or university must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores, or the Duolingo English Test (DET) scores to demonstrate English proficiency.
    • The minimum TOEFL score required for admissions consideration is: 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT).  
    • The minimum IELTS score required for admissions consideration is 7.  
    • The minimum Duolingo English Test (DET) score required for admissions consideration is 130. 
    • The Medical Physics Graduate Programs reserves the right to request an English proficiency test or interview from any applicant, may make enrollment in English language courses a condition for admission, and/or may subsequently require that an admitted student enroll in English language courses based on an assessment of the student’s English language skills in the classroom.


Questions about the Bioengineering PhD application should be sent to SEAS Enrollment Specialist Abby Whittington or via the inquiry form .  

Questions about the Medical Physics Concentration application process or the Intent to Apply to the Medical Physics Concentration form should be sent to the MPGP Team .