Degree Requirements

Required Courses

These courses are required for all Medical Physics students.

2 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Myers and Dr. Tillan

This course provides a basic understanding of physiological concepts and focuses on major biological systems and covers aspects of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. Students will develop basic knowledge in and appreciation of human physiology as it relates to health and disease.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

Required Course, all tracks: Part-one of a two-part course. The course covers the mathematical and physical principles and applications of medical imaging. Modalities included are Radiography, Fluoroscopy, Computed Tomography (CT) and Tomosynthesis.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

Required Course, all tracks: Course covers the mathematical principals, physical principles, and applications of medical imaging. Imaging modalities covered are Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Ultrasound Imaging (US) including the fundamentals of the nuclear medicine gamma camera, Single Photon Emission Tomography (SPECT), Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The Nuclear Medicine Hot Laboratory, and the systemic delivery of nuclear isotope in quantities that require a written directive (such as metaiodobenzylguanidine, MIBG) for treatment.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Pang

This graduate-level radiation therapy physics course covers principles of radiation physics as applied to radiation therapy. In-depth discussions on radiation interactions with matter, production of X rays, principles of linear accelerators, photon beam dosimetry, electron beam dosimetry, radiation detection, radiation dose calibration, brachytherapy principles and techniques, special treatment techniques including SRS/SBRT, IMRT, VMAT, proton beam therapy.

1 credit | Spring Semester
Co-requisite: MPHY 502 or MPHY 504
Course Instructor: Dr. Pang

Reviews the production and use of radioactive isotopes in therapy.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: TBD

The NRC has defined the minimum academic preparation and responsibilities of the Radiation Safety Officer.  These duties are outlined in the Suggested State Regulations, AAPM reports, NRC and NCRP recommendations. Guest lectures from local leaders in the field will report on their experiences and future expectations. Students will also interact with local radiation safety officer(s) of the district of Columbia meeting for networking and socializing with the same. The goal of this meeting will be for the DCRSOs to share with students anecdotal issues that required forward thinking and planning on the RSOs behalf.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This is a graduate-level diagnostic imaging course open to all Georgetown graduate students enrolled in the Health Physics or Medical Physics programs. The focus of this course is the registration and accreditation and processes for radiological machines. An in-depth look at local (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) and national program (American College of Radiology, Joint Commission) requirements. Students will be able to identify the elements of initial registrations and certifications as well as continuing recertification and finally decommissioning requirements. MPHY-507 is a required course for the Master of Medical Physics Degree, and an elective to students in Health Physics and other BGE graduate programs.

1 credit | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This course will be a clinically-focused and cover anatomy that specifically addresses topics and issues relevant to diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy. As most medical physics students will not have a strong biology background, the narrow goal of this course will be to prepare students for the anatomy portions of medical physics board examinations. Dr. Notario will direct the course, and there will be invited lecturers drawn from the faculty from the departments of Radiology and Radiation Medicine, and Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology.

2 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

Patient Safety and Code of Ethics for Health Physicists and Medical Physicists. Includes HIPAA, the Belmont report, dose reporting, and patient counseling. The student will learn appropriate communications with patients and radiation workers. Concepts covered will include risk-benefit analysis, reporting of adverse events, the conduct of clinical research and publication of results. Other topics will include the patient’s right to know, the process of consent as well as benefice to and respect for the whole person.

4 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Benevides

This course introduces students to the fundamental physical principles underlying all of radiation science. It focuses on the principles of radiation science that are relevant to health physics, medical physics, and nuclear nonproliferation. Lectures include atomic structure, nuclear structure, radioactivity, interactions of radiation with matter, production of x-rays, sources of radiation, radioactive decay, radioisotope production, radiation quantities, and basic radiation dosimetry. The course is foundational for both medical physics and health physics.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Co-requisite: RASC 500
Course Instructor: Dr. Jorgensen

This course provides in-depth coverage of the fundamental principles that drive radiation protection guidelines. Students gain a detailed understanding of the biological and physiological factors that influence radiation protection strategies. Internally ingested, breathed, and absorbed radioactivity are covered in-depth, including organ-specific dose calculations resulting from organ seeking radioisotopes. External radiation exposures are assessed, including considerations of how source geometry affects the whole body and organ dosimetry. The relationships between biological, physical, and effective half-lives of radioisotopes are explained, characterized, and calculated. Radiation quality weighting factors are discussed. Distinctions between dose, equivalent dose, and effective dose are explained and calculated. The use of time, distance, and shielding as tools in radiation protection are reviewed. The course also covers dose limits from various types of equipment. Example practical safety situations from NCRP 147  are also introduced.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructors: Dr. Jorgensen & Dr. Notario

This is a graduate-level biology course open to all Georgetown graduate students, radiation oncology residents, and qualified undergraduate upperclassmen. The focus of this course is on the interactions of ionizing radiations with living matter, including in-depth discussions of biochemical and cellular events leading to detectable radiation injury to cells, tissues, organs, whole-body systems, and human populations. Drug/radiation interactions are also covered. Both radiation public health and clinical practice issues are addressed.

4 credits | Spring Semester
Prerequisite: RASC 500
Course Instructor: Dr. Benevides

In this course, students achieve hands-on familiarity with standard radiation detectors, electronics and spectral analysis software used in radiation detection, including Geiger Mueller counters, solid-state detectors for alpha and beta particle detection, sodium iodide scintillation gamma-ray detectors and High Purity Germanium gamma-ray detectors. Neutron detectors and neutron monitors are also covered.

Diagnostic Radiology Track Courses

These courses are required only for students in the Diagnostic Radiology Track.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

Application of medical physics to diagnostic imaging in a hospital setting under close supervision. Students will get their first hands-on experience with radiological equipment. The use of the same will be demonstrated with considerations about technique factors and dose. Trade-off between power and current and dose will be explored on various configurations of x-ray, fluoroscopic, and computerized axial tomographic equipment. Students will become familiar with total air kerma, dose area product, CT Dose index, and Dose length product. Time distance and shielding will be discussed and demonstrated to give the medical physicist the knowledge on how to recommend clinical arrangements. During the second term students will be introduced to MRI and Ultrasound equipment as well as display monitors. Students will use the equipment to perform imaging techniques. Topics of resolution, frequency heating and time of exam will be discussed and demonstrated. Image noise and artifact reduction techniques will be examined.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Prerequisite: RASC-500 Radiation Science
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This is a graduate level diagnostic imaging course open to all Georgetown graduate students enrolled in the Health Physics or Medical Physics programs. The focus of this course is the science of radiological imaging equipment quality testing. In depth discussions on the energizing energy production and energy detection aspects in terms of quality.  Equipment studied include ionizing radiation equipment of the following types: x-ray, fluoroscopy, mammography, and computed tomography.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Prerequisite: RASC 500
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This is a graduate-level diagnostic imaging course open to all Georgetown graduate students enrolled in the Health Physics or Medical Physics programs. The focus of this course is the science of radiological imaging equipment quality testing. In-depth discussions on the energizing energy production and energy detection aspects in terms of quality.  Equipment studied include ionizing radiation equipment of the following types: Display Monitors, MRI and Ultrasound.

This course is offered through the Georgetown University’s Master’s of Medical Physics program. It is a required course for the Master’s of Medical Physics Degree, but also offered as an elective to students in Health Physics and other BGE graduate programs.

3 credits
Course Instructor: Dr. Vasudevan

This new didactic course will provide an overview of the field of Biomedical Informatics from different perspectives. Particular emphasis is given to understanding the basic building blocks of various information systems and their application in Biomedical Informatics. Students will learn to explore the process of developing and applying computational techniques for determining the information needs of health care providers and patients while complying with the newest requirements of Joint Commission and the American College of Radiology in dose reporting and automated peer review. The course will feature Hospital Information Systems (HIS), radiological Information Systems (RIS), Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and the Dose Index Registry (DIR).

Recommended Electives

Students are required to take 3 credits of electives. At least one elective must be from a “research internship” (MPHY – 510, 511, 610, 611).

1-3 credits
Course Directors: Dr. Fricke and Dr. Pang

The student gains first-hand working experience in medical physics by conducting projects under the guidance of Georgetown faculty and Georgetown facilities – Center for Translational Imaging and the Proton Therapy Center – or at other Washington-area hospitals and research centers.

3 credits
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This is a unique program that is currently only offered at Georgetown University, as far as we know, that offers a pediatric specialty. Students shadow practicing licensed medical physicists and the hospital’s Radiation Safety Officer by working in a pediatric diagnostic radiology department in a hospital setting.  Special attention is given to the differences in technique factors, pediatric setup for ACR testing, and how to manage anesthesia equipment in the setting of pediatric radiology.

1 credit
Course Instructor: Dr. Fricke

This is a unique program that is currently only offered at Georgetown University, no other program offers this, as far as we know. Pediatric radiology suffers from little to no equipment being developed for small children. Tissue and bone composition in small children call for, at times, radically different approaches in equipment design and radiographic techniques used. Students gain specific knowledge on how the radiological world is significantly different in pediatric radiology. Program will focus on the topic of Image Gently where specific attention is given to the radiation dose a pediatric patient would receive and how to minimize the dose while maintaining the highest standards in imaging. Also, the need for anesthesia of most pediatric cases changed the paradigm of imaging across the board. Students learn how low body weight may impact radiofrequency heating from MRI and acoustic heating from Ultrasound in small children. This course is recommended for those medical physicists that wish to work in a pediatric radiology setting.

4 credits
Course Instructor: Dr. VanMeter

Functional brain imaging techniques are important tools for both neuroscientists and clinicians. In this course there is a focus on functional MRI with an emphasis on understanding the relationship between the underlying neuronal changes and the signal changes measured using fMRI. Other topics will include experimental design, fMRI data analysis, and interpretation of results. Students will also discuss the application of this technique to clinical and neuroscience research. The course will include both lectures and hands-on labs. Students will conduct and participate in an fMRI experiment including design, implementation, data acquisition and data analysis. A project report will be required and include review of pertinent neuroscience literature, discussion of the methodological issues covered during the lectures and presentation and analysis of the experimental findings.

3 credits
Course Instructor: Dr. Anca Dragomir

The course introduces biostatistical theory and applications to graduate students whose primary area of study is not Biostatistics. In the first part of the course, the students learn basic concepts and principles regarding probability and randomness, sampling, descriptive statistics, and data exploration and visualization. In the second part of the course, based on these concepts and principles, the students learn statistical inference methods, including tests for proportions and means, simple linear regression, and ANOVA.

4 credits
Course Instructor: Dr. Benevides

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to understand:

  • atomic and nuclear structures
  • radioactivity, modes of decay and statistical nature of radioactive decay
  • interaction of radiation with matter
  • criticality
  • ionizing radiation exposure of the population of the United States
  • derived quantities and units in radiation sciences
  • fundamental principles of radiation dosimetry (external and internal)
  • human exposure to ionizing radiation and early/late effects
  • science, guidance (i.e., NCRP recommendations), policy and federal regulations pertaining to radiation protection
  • Isotope Production