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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I access the online application process?

Go to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Admissions page.

What is the application deadline for matriculation in Fall 2015?

  • Applicants are encouraged to apply by November 1, 2015
  • Deadline for receipt of all application materials is January 4, 2016

What are the differences in the application process for domestic and for international applicants? How do I tell which one I am?

International students who are attending a U.S. university should use the domestic application. International students who are attending international universities should use the international application.

What is the code for submitting GRE scores to the UTHSC-Houston Registrar's Office?

The code is 6907; no department code is necessary.

What are the institution and department codes for the Educational Testing Service to send official GRE and TOEFL score reports?

The institutional code for The University of Texas - Houston is 6907; no department code is necessary.

Who needs to take the TOEFL Exam?

International applicants who have received a diploma from a university at which English is the language of instruction are not required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam. If this school is not located in an English-speaking country, the application should include evidence of the language of instruction.

What factors are considered for admission?

The Medical Physics Program Applicant Review Committee and the GSBS Admissions Committee consider the following factors in evaluating applicants for admission:

  • Previous research experience and accomplishments, including participation in science fairs
  • Enrollment in laboratory and research-based courses
  • Involvement in research projects and publications
  • Expressed commitment to a career involving biomedical research
  • Undergraduate grade point average
  • Performance in undergraduate courses in the biological and physical sciences, physics and mathematics
  • Trends in academic performance
  • Degree difficulty of undergraduate academic program
  • Previous graduate-level study
  • Honors and awards for academic achievement
  • Performance on the Graduate Record Examinations (and, for international applicants, the Test of English as a Foreign Language and the Test of Written English)
  • Success in overcoming socio-economic and educational disadvantages
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

What are the average GRE scores for applicants who are offered admission?

A competitive combined score for the Verbal and Quantitative sections is 310. A competitive score for the Analytical Writing section is 4.0.

2007VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
2008VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
2009VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
2010VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
2011VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
2012VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
SMS161 (620)160 (756)3.9321 (1376)
PhD156 (551)161 (769)4.4317 (1320)
2013VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)
SMS154 (520)160 (760)4.0314 (1280)
PhD161 (620)163 (780)4.2324 (1400)
2014VerbalQuantitativeAnalyticalTotal (V&Q)

Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?

Applicants are expected to have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 on all undergraduate and previous graduate level work. The average GPA of the applicants who were admitted to the Specialized Masters and PhD Medical Physics Programs in recent years has been:


What are your recent recruitment statistics?

 Year# Applicants# Offers% Offered# Acceptances% Offers Accepted

What stipends and financial support are offered?

We offer financial support to all PhD students who are admitted to the GSBS. This award includes an annual stipend of $29,000 (in the 2014-2015 academic year). In addition, tuition, fees and health benefits are covered.

For the SMS Program, a limited number of partial stipends may be available.

What about letters of recommendation?

The applicant should arrange to have the recommendations submitted directly to the GSBS Office of the Admissions by at least three persons who are well qualified to evaluate the applicant's scholastic performance, scientific ability, research interest and motivation, and personal attributes such as character and personality. If the applicant is currently enrolled in or has completed a graduate degree program, one of these recommendations must be from the applicant's academic advisor or mentor.

Mailing address:

GSBS, Office of Admissions
6767 Bertner Avenue, Suite 3.8344
Houston, TX 77030

May new students matriculate in any semester?

The majority of students enter the Medical Physics Program in the fall semester. However, there have been rare occasions in which an admitted student was able to defer entering the program until the spring or summer semesters due to special circumstances.

What sort of academic background are you looking for in applicants?

In addition to admission standards established by the GSBS, the Program uses a number of criteria to evaluate Medical Physics applicants:


  • B.S., B.A., M.S., or M.A. in Physics
  • M.S. in Medical Physics, or B.S., B.A., M.S., or M.A. degree in a physical science or engineering discipline with adequate physics preparation. 

Please note that some non-physics programs (including some B.S. programs in Medical Physics) do not include sufficient physics in their standard curricula.

A suitable preparation in physics would be the completion of upper level (junior, senior and graduate) courses in:

  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Modern physics and quantum mechanics
  • Additional upper level courses in classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and atomic and nuclear physics, or their engineering equivalents

Mathematics should include multivariate calculus and ordinary differential equations. Additional study in linear algebra and probability and statistics is desirable.

Computer programming and computer science courses are viewed favorably.

May I waive previously completed coursework?

Once a student officially enters the program and wishes to waive a course in the program, he or she would meet with the course coordinator to compare the syllabus of the course taken elsewhere to the syllabus of the program's course. The course coordinator could recommend either an unconditional waiver of the course, a waiver with conditions, or could not approve the waiver.

What are the typical durations of the SMS and PhD programs?

  • SMS Program: 2 years to 2 years, 1 semester
  • PhD Program: 5 years

What are the demographics of your students?

 Total # StudentsPhD ProgramSMS Program

How successful are your graduates in finding employment?

Our recent graduates have obtained employment directly after graduation or have entered residency programs and post-doctoral fellowships. In the future, the importance of clinical residencies will be greater than it has been heretofore.


Students in Program353545424144
Therapy Residency 11   4
Diagnostic Residency   1  
Junior Medical Physicist & Faculty523242
Post-doctoral Fellowship 212 2
Job in Industry1  1  
Students in Program18181112115
Therapy Residency   112
Diagnostic Residency      
Junior Medical Physicist & Faculty574431
Further Graduate Study1 3 1 1
Job in Industry      
* as of November 4, 2014

Do you require interviews?

Not all applicants will be invited to interview. Our program requires an interview before any offer of admission is extended. The graduate school or the Program will cover the cost of reasonable travel expenses for PhD program applicants to visit and interview during one of the GSBS  visitation weekends, which are held each year during the months of January, February and March. The program will not invite international applicants for an on-site interview unless they are currently located within the 48 contiguous US states. However, we will arrange to interview international applicants by telephone.

What if I use tobacco products?

Graduate students who receive a pay check from MD Anderson are subject to its policies, including one starting in calendar year 2015 that forbids the hiring of tobacco users by the institution. Graduate students who are supported by other means are not presently subject to this policy, even if they have a desk and conduct their research at MD Anderson. For example, the policy would not apply to a first or second year PhD student who is supported by GSBS funding. However, if that student were to join the lab of an MD Anderson advisor, he or she would become subject to the policy when the advisor started to support the student. In the case of the Medical Physics Program, the vast majority of students will ultimately receive support from an MD Anderson source and thus would be affected sooner or later by this policy. Visit the Academic & Visa Administration - Trainee website to learn more about MD Anderson's tobacco-free hiring process.

I have an unanswered question. Of whom can I ask it?

Please contact us.

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