Experiences from Graduate Students in RRMDG

Matt Mille:

Q: Why was you attracted to RPI?
A: As an undergraduate I was a physics and mathematics major.  I also had the opportunity to participate in a research fellowship program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the radioactivity working group.  During this summer program I learned to perform radiation dose calculations in the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) code using voxelized human-body phantoms.  I found this work to be interesting and challenging, so I decided to attend graduate school to continue my studies in the field of Health and Medical Physics.  The RRMDG group, led by Dr. Xu, attracted me to RPI because I could tell that they were one of the leading and well-published groups in the field.  Dr. Xu is also very well known within the health physics, medicial physics, and nuclear engineering communities.

Q: What's your experience so far as a member of RRMDG?
A: As part of the RRMDG I have performed research on many different topics including physical phantom fabrication, electronic brachytherapy, and positron emission tomography.  Applicants should expect graduate work to be challenging, but also very rewarding.  Dr. Xu encourages his students to do great work and publish often.   He also provides his students ample opportunity to travel to conferences to give talks and share their work with others.

Q: Any advice for applicants interested in joining RRMDG?
A: I suggest that all potential applicants review the group webpage to learn about the current research activities currently going on within the RRMDG.  The best applicants should be able to describe in their personal statement how they feel they can contribute to RRMDG and what their own research interests and goals are.  If possible, try to make an appointment to come and visit the university so that you can learn firsthand what RPI has to offer.

Justin Vazquez:

Q: Why was you attracted to RPI?
A: As a Physics undergraduate at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, I became interested in pursuing the field of Engineering Physics to work with alternative/clean energies, and RPI boasted a reputable EP program. However, I was soon recruited by their Nuclear Engineering program, and they offered a prestigious fellowship opportunity. After looking into Nuclear Engineering, I found that it was right for me. At RPI, I was recruited by Dr. Xu to join the RPI Radiation Measurement and Dosimetry Group (RRMDG), and I discovered a good fit for my interests in the field of Radiation Safety/Protection and Health Physics.

Q: What's your experience so far as a member of RRMDG?
A: Working with the RRMDG has been a very rewarding experience. Dr. Xu provides a wealth of experience and vision as a researcher, professor, and mentor, and Dr. Peter Caracappa also has very valuable knowledge and insight to bring to the table. Fellow graduate students in the RRMDG are friendly, inventive, and very willing to help you along the way. Overall, it is an excellent group to be a part of.
     Over the years, the RRMDG has performed extensive research on developing computational human phantoms (check them out on Wikipedia!) for simulating radiation transport using computer codes such as MCNP. My research has begun to focus on the development techniques to animate these models for more advanced simulation of dynamic scenarios, implementing 3-D motion-capture technology. This is very exciting research that has never before been performed in the fields of Health Physics and Nuclear Engineering.

Q: Any advice for applicants interested in joining RRMDG?
A: If you are considering studies and research at RPI, consider working with the RRMDG. Our group provides a wealth of opportunity to perform novel, interesting, and groundbreaking research. Members of this group find themselves well-trained and ready to move forward in a very reasonable amount of time for a graduate student, with all the guidance and resources they need to excel. Whether you're interested in pursuing research in the field of Medical Physics, Health Physics, or really any area of Nuclear Engineering research, you can find a place with the RRMDG.

Pieces of Advice for Those Who Are Interested in Joining Us

  • Review the group webpage to learn about current research activities within RRMDG.
  • Try to describe your own research interests, goals and possible contributions to RRMDG in personal statement.
  • Have a credible GRE score with Analytical Writing section no lower than 3.5.
  • If you're from non-English-speaking country, a credible TOEFL iBT score no lower than 100 is required. And it's better the Speaking section is higher than 18.

How to Apply for RPI

  • Online application:
  • Required materials:
    1. Completed graduate application
    2. Nonrefundable application fee of $75
    3. Statement of Background and Goals
    4. Resume
    5. Portfolio, if applicable
     (Not required if applying for our department)
    6. Two letters of recommendation
    7. Official transcripts, in English, of all post-secondary education
    8. Official evidence, in English, of any post-secondary degrees earned
    9. Official GRE, GRE Subject Tests, or GMAT scores reported from ETS
    10. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable
    11. The ETS Personal Potential Index (PPI) is encouraged

Contact Us

  • RPI Graduate Admissions:
     (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Eastern time, excluding holidays)
    Graduate Admissions
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    110 8th Street
    Troy, NY 12180-3590
    Phone: (518) 276-6216
    Fax: (518) 276-4072
    E-mail: gradadmissions@rpi.edu
  • Professor Xu: