Thematic VISP Track: Medical Physics

The Department of Medical Physics in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) was the first department of its kind in the United States, founded in 1981. Medical Physics is one of 10 basic science departments in the SMPH. The department has 31 core faculty members, many with affiliate appointments in one or more clinical, basic science and engineering departments at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Two members of National Academy of Engineering and six Coolidge Award Recipients from American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) are from our faculty members. In addition, numerous AAPM presidents and leading medical physicists in the field are among our faculty members and department’s graduates.

Program Overview

The Department of Medical Physics invites international students to take courses within our department through the MP-VISP Thematic Track program. Students will take a core set of courses for 23-24 credits during the final year of their undergraduate degree. Participants will be linked to an academic advisor and educational program coordinator within the Medical Physics department who will be their point of contact for academic resources, enrollment support, and concerns regarding student life on-campus. If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, you are always able to reach out to the Medical Physics educational program coordinator for assistance.

Student Support

From the time you apply to the end of your stay, the VISP staff will be there to assist you. As a VISP participant you have full access to all academic and student support services, such as libraries, computer labs, clubs, and sports facilities; the opportunity to participate in VISP sponsored social and cultural events; and upon completion you will receive an official UW–Madison transcript.

MP-VISP students will be invited to participate in department activities during the academic year. Events range from a welcome picnic, to networking opportunities with current students and faculty, and the weekly seminar. Students will also receive electronic department and student leadership newsletters sharing information about student organizations, speakers, social activities, and other important notifications.

Program Eligibility

Participants must meet the VISP eligibility criteria for admission into this program. This Thematic Track exclusively admits students at the Undergraduate level who are in their final year of study at their home university abroad. Applicants to the program will be selected by the Medical Physics VISP Admissions committee to evaluate undergraduate course preparation.

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate Physics major or Applied Physics Disciplines and have completed the following coursework:

  • Physics: Mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal physics, optics, atomic and nuclear physics, mathematical methods for physicists, and at least three out of the following five upper lever undergraduate physics course or equivalent: Theoretical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, and Solid State Physics.
  • Mathematics: Advanced Mathematics (four semesters) to cover Calculus, Differential equations, Fourier analysis, and Linear algebra.
  • One semester course on computer programming and one semester course on Digital and Analog Electronics is recommended.

If you are not sure if you meet these requirements, please contact the Medical Physics Department for assistance at or by phone at: 608-265-6504.

Available Terms

Students will only be admitted to start the program in the Fall semester and must enroll in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

Academics & Course Offerings

Participants can select coursework from introductory graduate courses in Medical Physics, focusing on the radiation therapy area.  

Typical Course Sequence:

Fall Semester 

† Med Phys 501 — Radiological Physics and Dosimetry (3 cr.)
† Med Phys 510 — Fundamentals of Cellular, Molecular, and Radiation Biology (3 cr.)
† Med Phys 573 ‑‑ Medical Image Science: Mathematical and Conceptual Basis (3 cr.)
+ 3 credits of elective Rad Labs or Anatomy/Physiology + 1 credit elective Rad Lab 

  • Elective(s)
    Med Phys 662: Rad Lab – Diagnostic Radiological Physics (1 cr.)
    Med Phys 664: Rad Lab – Health Physics (1 cr.)
    Med Phys 666: Rad Lab – Medical Ultrasound Physics (1 cr.)
    Med Phys 665: Rad Lab: CT, MRI, and DSA Physics (1 cr.)

Spring Semester

† Med Phys 566 ‑‑ Physics of Radiotherapy (3 cr.)
† Med Phys 569 ‑‑ Health Physics & Biological Effects (3 cr.)
† Med Phys 580 — Physics of Medical Imaging with Ionizing Radiation (4 cr.) OR
† Med Phys 588 — Radiation Detection and Production (4 cr.)

  • Elective
    Med Phys 663: Rad Lab – Nuclear Medicine Physics (1 cr.)

† Required course

Cost of Attendance

Estimated cost of attendance information is available on the VISP website.

Application Instructions

Submit your VISP application and in your essay please include: “I am applying for the Medical Physics VISP track.”

Questions? Please contact the VISP coordinators.

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