AAPM Report 373: The content, structure, and value of the Professional Doctorate in Medical Physics (DMP)

J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2022 Oct;23(10):e13771. doi: 10.1002/acm2.13771. Epub 2022 Sep 15.


The Professional Doctorate in Medical Physics (DMP) was originally conceived as a solution to the shortage of medical physics residency training positions. While this shortage has now been largely satisfied through conventional residency training positions, the DMP has expanded to multiple institutions and grown into an educational pathway that provides specialized clinical training and extends well beyond the creation of additional training spots. As such, it is important to reevaluate the purpose and the value of the DMP. Additionally, it is important to outline the defining characteristics of the DMP to assure that all existing and future programs provide this anticipated value. Since the formation and subsequent accreditation of the first DMP program in 2009-2010, four additional programs have been created and accredited. However, no guidelines have yet been recommended by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. CAMPEP accreditation of these programs has thus far been based only on the respective graduate and residency program standards. This allows the development and operation of DMP programs which contain only the requisite Master of Science (MS) coursework and a 2-year clinical training program. Since the MS plus 2-year residency pathway already exists, this form of DMP does not provide added value, and one may question why this existing pathway should be considered a doctorate. Not only do we, as a profession, need to outline the defining characteristics of the DMP, we need to carefully evaluate the potential advantages and disadvantages of this pathway within our education and training infrastructure. The aims of this report from the Working Group on the Professional Doctorate Degree for Medical Physicists (WGPDMP) are to (1) describe the current state of the DMP within the profession, (2) make recommendations on the structure and content of the DMP for existing and new DMP programs, and (3) evaluate the value of the DMP to the profession of medical physics.

Keywords: DMP; medical physics graduate education; professional doctorate degree.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Health Physics* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Research Report
  • United States