Schools for Aspiring Medical Physicists: How to Choose

Dec 17, 2019

Aspiring medical physicists can find master's and doctoral programs at 4-year colleges and universities. Applicants to these programs typically need an undergraduate background in the sciences, engineering or mathematics.

Schools for Medical Physicists

Here's a list of schools with relevant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2018-2019
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota 4-year, Public Master's, doctoral In-state $17,064
Out-of-state $26,412
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin 4-year, Public Master's, doctoral In-state $10,728
Out-of-state $24,054
University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona 4-year, Public Master's In-state $11,716
Out-of-state $32,065
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana 4-year, Public Master's, doctoral $9,132
Duke University Durham, North Carolina 4-year, Private Master's, doctoral $53,540
Columbia University New York, New York 4-year, Private Master's certificate $46,216
University of Miami Coral Gables, Florida 4-year, Public Master's, doctoral $36,540
University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri 4-year, Public Master's In-state $8,822
Out-of-state $24,156
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4-year, Private Master's, certificate $34,882

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, School websites

School Selection Criteria

Some important considerations for prospective students include:

  • Medical physics programs are generally offered at the graduate level. Admission typically requires a bachelor's degree in a field like chemistry, engineering, mathematics, natural sciences or physics.
  • Look for a program that prepares graduates to sit for the American Board of Radiology certification exam.
  • Find a school with state-of-the-art facilities for clinical practice or research, depending on your interest.
  • Students should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP). Such accreditation ensures a quality education that meets CAMPEP's standards of excellence.

Master's Degree Options

A master's degree, taking about two years, prepares students to enter the workplace by taking courses that combine physics with chemistry and biology. A combined bachelor's and master's program might take up to five years.

Doctoral Degree Options

A Ph.D. in Medical Physics can be finished in 2-4 years and generally involves a clinical internship. Doctoral candidates might choose a specialization within medical physics, such as therapeutic radiology, diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, medical health physics or nuclear medicine, with clinical rotations customized according to a student's specialty track. A research thesis is another piece of most curriculum.

Before looking into a medical physics graduate program, students should make sure they meet the prerequisites. Students should also ensure they'll be prepared for certification and will have access to a proper facility for research.

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