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Radiology PhD Program Information and Prerequisites

Jan 02, 2019

Radiology is a broad field of study. Students who wish to earn a Ph.D. in this area often pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. program in human imaging. These programs prepare graduates for careers as radiological research scientists.

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Essential Information

A Ph.D. or a dual M.D./Ph.D. in Radiology and Human Imaging is usually completed by physicians who have completed medical school and are beginning their medical residencies. These students are encouraged to pursue residencies in radiation oncology, radiology or another medical field that is closely related to radiology and human imaging.

While some courses focus on radiological methods and techniques, the core of this degree is on developing clinical research methods that can lead to new forms of human and radiological imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scanning. Students work side-by-side with biomedical imaging specialists and medical physicists in conducting research in the field of human imaging and radiology.

To get into an M.D./Ph.D. Radiology program you will need to have already completed a related undergraduate degree, and for more advanced programs you may need to already have an M.D. degree. You will also need to complete a series of personal interviews, submit letters of recommendation and have some clinical research experience.


Doctorate Degree Programs in Human Imaging

Students in these programs might be able to waive a certain number of courses that repeat information learned in medical school. The combined M.D./Ph.D. is usually completed in seven years of full-time study. The final years of enrollment are dedicated to the completion of a dissertation. Classes often include:

  • Clinical research methods in radiology
  • Molecular neurobiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Biophysics in medicine
  • Medical imaging
  • Regression analysis

Popular Career Options

Many graduates of a M.D./Ph.D. program in human imaging secure employment as radiological research scientists. However, some other career options are available and include:

  • Radiological research scientist
  • Radiologist (physician)
  • Radiation oncologist

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of physicians and surgeons is expected to increase by 14% from 2014-2024. The median wages for physicians and surgeons practicing in medical specialties, including radiologists, were $411,852 in May 2015, stated the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Physicians who have completed Ph.D. programs in radiology also need to be certified. The primary certifying body for physicians trained in radiology is the American Board of Radiology (ABR). Currently, the ABR offers certifications for many radiology sub-specialties, including radiologic physics, nuclear radiology, diagnostic radiology and many other areas. Many of the certifications last for only ten years, after which time they need to be renewed.

Student's who want to become doctors specializing in radiology have a lot of work to do, but that work comes with its rewards. After completing a seven year, research-intensive Ph.D/M.D. program, students can look forward to a job studying new forms of human and radiological imaging that comes with a nice annual salary.

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