Medical Physics

Master of Science (MSc), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Apply physics-based concepts and methodologies to make a meaningful difference in medical and health fields.

Graduate Program Overview

Program Components Expected Duration
MSc Coursework and thesis 24 months
PhD Dissertation 36-48 months

The medical physics graduate program at UBC’s Okanagan campus is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP). Based in Kelowna, BC, the campus offers tier-one research-based degrees to students in a collegial, close-knit setting.

Our dynamic faculty and students are engaged in a variety of research projects, many in close partnership with the BC Cancer Agency and relevant industry.

Our research-based MSc and PhD degrees in medical physics provide students with theoretical, practical and analytical expertise, as well as experience in the application of scientific results to real-world problems.

The MSc degree is centred on conducting research that addresses current health-care challenges centred primarily around cancer diagnosis and treatment. Graduates of the MSc program are prepared for positions in clinical service and consultation, research and development, teaching or for PhD research.

Program Milestones

  • establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • preparing, presenting, and defending a thesis research proposal
  • completing thesis research, and writing and defending the work

Coursework & Thesis Requirements

  • 33 credits of coursework
  • additional coursework may be required, at the discretion of the supervisory committee
  • 12-credit MSc thesis (PHYS 549)

Most MSc students complete Teaching Assistantships throughout the duration of their studies.

Exceptional MSc students can transfer to the PhD program after one year if they meet program requirements and are approved by the Graduate Program Advisory Committee.

The PhD degree is centred on conducting original research. Graduates of the PhD program are prepared for careers requiring advanced independent research and teaching in academia, cancer centres, research hospitals, government and industry.

Program milestones

  • establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • preparing, presenting, and defending a dissertation research proposal
  • passing an oral candidacy examination
  • completing dissertation research and writing, and defending the work

Most PhD students complete Teaching Assistantships throughout the duration of their studies.

At the PhD level, courses beyond the MSc are required only at the discretion of the student’s advisory committee.


Research & Supervisors

We invite you to discuss your research interests and career goals with participating faculty and potential supervisors in medical physics, and we are happy to share our excitement about what we study and teach.

Graduate students can pursue these and other faculty research and teaching interests:

  • 3-D Radiation dosimetry
  • Accelerator physics and dosimetry
  • Brachytherapy
  • Experimental radiobiology
  • High precision radiotherapy
  • Medical imaging

Learn more about medical physics research

Please touch base with a faculty supervisor before you start the application process. We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.

While applications with no identified supervisor will be accepted, no applicant will be admitted until a supervisor has agreed to supervise the student’s thesis or project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify and contact a potential supervisor prior to applying. Applicants are also required to indicate whether they wish to pursue the thesis- or project-based option.


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Cynthia Araujo | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | cynthia.araujo@ubc.ca
Research Interests: Safe and effective use of radiation for the treatment of cancer including external beam and brachytherapy technique development and verification; implementation of new technology in radiation therapy; use of imaging in treatment planning and treatment verification.
Deidre Batchelar | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | dbatchelar@bccancer.bc.ca
Research Interests: Advanced Imaging in Brachytherapy; high precision radiotherapy.
Thor Bjarnason | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | thor.bjarnason@interiorhealth.ca
Research Interests: Quality control; radiation safety; patient dose reduction; image quality assessment in planar x-ray and CT.
Marco Carlone | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | marco.carlone@ubc.ca
Research Interests: Simulation of linear accelerators; use of magnetic fields in radiotherapy; quality assurance in radiotherapy.
Morgan Dehnel | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | morgan@d-pace.com
Research Interests: Beamline; ion source; beam diagnostic device development for accelerator produced medical radio-tracers; accelerator based medical therapy.
Christina Haston | Associate Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | christina.haston@ubc.ca | 250.807.9886
Research Interests: Radiation oncology; radiation biophysics.
Michelle Hilts | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | mhilts@bccancer.bc.ca
Research Interests: Brachytherapy for breast cancer; 3D radiation dosimetry.
Cornelia Hoehr | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | choehr@triumf.ca
Research Interests: Medical isotopes; radiotherapy.
Derek Hyde | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | dhyde2@bccancer.bc.ca
Research Interests: Image-guided radiation therapy for high-precision treatments.
Andrew Jirasek | Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | andrew.jirasek@ubc.ca | 250.807.8812
Research Interests: Medical physics; radiation oncology physics; Raman spectroscopy; 3D radiation dosimetry.
Marie-Pierre Milette | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | marie-pierre.milette@ubc.ca
Research Interests: Treatment planning optimization; treatment verification.
Tony Teke | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | tteke2@bccancer.bc.ca
Research Interests: Monte Carlo modeling; 4 Pi treatment planning optimization and verification; 4D dose calculation; SBRT/SRS; quality assurance tests for trajectory treatments.
Joseph Yang | Adjunct Professor | Medical Physics, Physics | jyang4@bccancer.bc.ca
Research Interests: Cone beam CT image optimization; novel imaging applications in radiation therapy.

Medical Physics Laboratory

The medical physics laboratory is a multi-user facility with research interests in radiation oncology medical physics.  Research programs include understanding normal and tumour tissue response to radiation, determining predictors of radiation sensitivity and injury, and in the development of 3D radiation dosimetry systems.

Computer Aided Convex Analysis Laboratory (CA2 Lab)

CA² Lab is part of the Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA), which performs fundamental research in convex and nonsmooth analysis and transfers the results to industry by solving practical industrial problems with a focus on commercial applications. COCANA researchers are mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who apply state-of-the-art optimization techniques to solve real-life problems and provide our industrial partners an edge over their competition. We leverage industry-sponsored funding with grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and MITACS, thereby more than doubling our partners’ investment in research. We have many man-years of experience in optimization and operations research applied to engineering and health science and are always looking for new partners.

Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis Collaborative Laboratory (OCANA COLAB)

OCANA CoLab is part of the Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA), which performs fundamental research in convex and nonsmooth analysis and transfers the results to industry by solving practical industrial problems with a focus on commercial applications. COCANA researchers are mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who apply state-of-the-art optimization techniques to solve real-life problems and provide our industrial partners an edge over their competition. OCANA CoLab allows research collaboration on-site or remotely. We routinely host seminars with researchers participating from the Pacific Northwest and abroad (e.g. Newcastle, Australia).


Students & Theses

Meet Our Students

See what our students are up to—find them in our Contact page for their research interests, supervisors, alma maters, and info.

Theses & Dissertations

Search all UBC Okanagan computer science student publications at cIRcle, the University’s digital repository for research and teaching materials.

Physics is about relationships

Master of Medical Physics student Andrew Ogilvy followed an unorthodox path into cancer radiation therapy.  Read Andrew’s story

 


Admission Requirements

Admission to UBC graduate programs is competitive. Applicants must meet the following criteria.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MSc) APPLICANTS 

Applicants to the medical physics MSc program are expected to have the academic equivalent of a four-year Honours BSc from UBC in physics or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes.


DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

PhD applicants are expected to:

  • hold the academic equivalent of a two-year master’s degree from UBC in medical physics or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better,
  • demonstrate clear evidence of research ability or potential

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field. 


EXCEPTIONAL CASES

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Medical Physics Graduate Program Advisory Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information. The calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Note: In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MSc) APPLICANTS 

International applicants to the medical physics MSc program are expected to:

  • have the academic equivalent of a four-year Honours BSc from UBC in physics or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes
  • present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language (please see details below)

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 600 (paper version); 100 overall, or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 7.0, with no individual component score less than 6.5, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 84

DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

International PhD applicants are expected to:

  • hold the academic equivalent of a two-year master’s degree from UBC in medical physics or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better,
  • demonstrate clear evidence of research ability or potential,
  • present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language (please see details below)

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 600 (paper version); 100 overall, or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 7.0, with no individual component score less than 6.5, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 84

EXCEPTIONAL CASES

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Medical Physics Graduate Program Advisory Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information. The calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Note: In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

Below is a summary of pertinent application and graduation statistics for the Medical Physics program.

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 
Applicants
Number of MSc applicants 9 18 23
Number of PhD applicants 2 5 9
Offers 
Number of MSc students offered 3 7 6
Number of PhD students offered 0 1 3
Student Intake
Number of MSc students accepted 2 4 3
Number of PhD students accepted 0 1 1
Total Graduates
Number of MSc graduates 0 2 0
Number of PhD graduates 0 0 0
Graduates in Residency
Number of MSc graduates in residency 0 0 0
Number of PhD graduates in residency 0 0 0
Graduates in PDF
MSc graduates in PDF 0 0 0
PhD graduates in PDF 0 0 0
Related* 
MSc 0 0 0
PhD 0 0 0

* Related fields include but are not limited to academic appointments, industry, and contract work.


Tuition & Funding

Tuition

Tuition amounts presented here are estimates only and all fees are subject to change. For official tuition and fee information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Program Schedule Domestic (per year) International (per year)
MSc Full-time $4,995.78 $8,776.74
PhD Full-time $4,995.78 $8,776.74

Tuition is paid three times a year, on the first day of each term: Winter Term 1 (September), Winter Term 2 (January), and Summer Term (May).

Funding Opportunities

Graduate students are typically funded through a combination of internal and external funding awards, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Students are expected whenever possible to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships. These include, but are not limited to, Canadian Tri-Council scholarships, University Graduate Fellowships, and Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarships.

If students wish to hold off-campus (external) employment, they should discuss with their supervisor, particularly if the student is a grant-holder, as restrictions on hours of work may apply.

Graduate Entrance Award

The Irving K. Barber School of Arts & Sciences offers a $15,000 merit-based entrance scholarship to six exceptional individuals entering their first year of thesis-based graduate studies under a supervisor from the IKBSAS faculty.

All applicants to IKBSAS graduate programs who have submitted an application by January 31 will be automatically considered for the award. No additional application is required. Successful applicants will be notified by March 15.

The Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics has funding opportunities and assistantships available for qualified students.

Program Minimum funding Duration
MSc $23,000 per year 2 years
PhD $25,000 per year 4 years

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Paid TA positions allow graduate students to develop skills in teaching, supervision, facilitation, and student assessment. Teaching assistants may lead seminars, help teach undergraduate courses, or assist in student evaluations and marking.

  • MSc students are eligible for paid TA positions for up to two years.
  • TA positions usually occur September to April. TA hours and wages are governed by the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU).

Teaching assistants are mentored by their supervisor and via the Centre for Teaching and Learning. To learn more or apply for a position, see our Careers page.

Research Assistantships (RA)

As paid research assistants, graduate students assist their supervisor or other researchers in conducting high-level research. RAs are typically funded by a supervisor’s external grants, contracts or other sources of funding, and, therefore, are not guaranteed.

Research Assistantships are wholly dependent upon individual research supervisor’s funding. RA positions may take place at any time during the school year and wages and hours will vary. RA positions are not guaranteed. Talk to your potential supervisor about RA opportunities.

UBC Awards

The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. The College manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of all internal awards and selected external awards.

External Awards

All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) should explore and apply for external awards and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Graduate scholarships and awards may also be available from foundations, private organizations or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).


How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Please contact our faculty supervisors before starting your application. Admission to the program requires the confirmed availability and mentor-match with a faculty supervisor as well as meeting program-specific criteria and requirements.

A complete application package will contain:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended are required for the application package. However, if admitted, the student must submit official transcripts to the College of Graduate Studies
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)
  • CV or resumé
  • Three reference forms or letters

Applying takes time. We recommend you start your application two months in advance.

For full consideration students should submit all application materials by the following deadlines:

INTAKE APPLICATION DEADLINE
September January 10
January June 1
May October 1

UBC’S Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the computer science program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

DYNAMIC CITY

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

NATURAL BEAUTY

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above.*

* Best viewed using desktop Chrome or Firefox (desktop) or YouTube app (mobile).

CAMPUS HOUSING

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Join the club: Make friends with similar interests, compare notes, and organize and participate in academic and recreational events in the Quantitative Sciences Course Union.

College of Graduate Studies: CoGS offers orientation events to support you in your first steps as a graduate student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Stay active: Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax: The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

College of Graduate Studies: Your hub for administrative support and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

Centre for Scholarly Communication: Supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty in disseminating their research. The Library’s CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles, and grant proposals.

Centre for Teaching and Learning: Provides support related to teaching, TA training, and use of technology in educational programming.

Learn more about graduate student resources and support.

Careers and Occupations

With a medical physics MSc or PhD degree from the University from the University of British Columbia, graduates are well-positioned to thrive in a variety of occupations, such as:

  • Academic physicist
  • Clinical medical physicist
  • Consultant
  • Diagnostic medical physicist
  • Imaging specialist
  • Industry scientist
  • Radiotherapy physicist

Career Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The ‘Your Next Step’ program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.