Radiological Sciences & Protection

Radiological Sciences and Protection - Master of Science Degree Program

With the increasing use of radiation and radioactive material in society, there is a growing need for research and advanced education in Radiological Sciences and Protection.

The excellent facilities, equipment and supporting staff available at the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Radiation Laboratory and faculty in the Radiological Sciences Program and in other allied departments give students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) a unique opportunity to obtain rewarding careers in and make significant research contributions to the radiation protection field and to the use of radiation physics in medicine. 

The Master of Science Degree Program in Radiological Sciences and Protection is interdisciplinary in nature and should be attractive to engineering students and students in the biological and physical sciences.

Master of Science - Radiological Sciences and Protection

Master of Science in Radiological Sciences and Protection - Professional Science Master's Option

Admission Requirements

A student should have a reasonable minimum preparation, including courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and in nuclear and radiological sciences similar to the University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiological Health Physics undergraduate curriculum. Because there is no advanced test in the field of Radiological Sciences and Protection, and because various undergraduate backgrounds are suitable for graduate study in the program, students are not required to take the Advanced GRE tests. The GRE Aptitude Test, however, is required. It is important that the mathematical preparation of students include differential and integral calculus through differential equations. Physics preparation up to and including Modern Physics is required.  Preparatory courses are available at UMass Lowell for applicants who are deficient in these areas.

  Master of Science in Radiological Sciences and Protection

Plan of Study

The program allows a student to select courses and a research project consistent with his/her desired area of professional development.  Various opportunities for research and professional development are possible through the use of the Radiation Laboratory of the University and through cooperative programs with hospitals, nuclear reactor facilities, government laboratories, and other radiation facilities. A research advisor, other than a University of Massachusetts Lowell faculty member, may be approved for the conduct of research at facilities outside the University.  Two M.S. degree options are available:  thesis option or project option. In addition to a core curriculum, a master's thesis or project report must be submitted and approved.

Thesis Option

Under the thesis option, a student must complete a minimum of 21 credits of formal courses and a minimum of 9 credits of graduate research.  The master's thesis generally will consist of a scholarly laboratory or theoretical investigation in the field of Radiological Sciences and Protection. Proposed research must be approved by the Program Graduate Committee. The format for the final written thesis shall conform to the requirements of the University.  The thesis proposal and report requirements may be obtained from the Program Coordinator.

Project Option

Under the project option, a student must complete a minimum of 27 credits of formal courses and 3 credits of graduate research to yield a total of 30 credits.  In addition to the project report, the student must pass a comprehensive examination. The master's project consists of a scholarly investigation such as a review, report, design, etc., in the field of Radiological Sciences and Protection.  The subject of the project must be approved by the student's advisor in advance. The final report must be approved by the Program Graduate Committee and conform to the format specified by the University.

Oral Defense of Thesis

A thesis committee is appointed to read a student's thesis and to listen to an oral presentation and defense by the student.  In general, the committee will include the thesis advisor and two additional members chosen from the Physics faculty or from other departments in which the candidate has taken graduate studies.

Comprehensive Examination for the Project Option

Degree candidates electing the project option are required to pass a Comprehensive written examination administered by the Program Graduate Committee.  This examination normally will be administered during the semester in which the student completes his/her course requirements for the M.S. degree. The comprehensive examination may be waived for a student who can document that he/she has passed Part I of the American Board of Health Physics Certification Examination.

Residency and Foreign Language Requirements

No residency or foreign language requirements are specified by the Department.

Core Curriculum

A core curriculum consisting of seven courses and Thesis Research or Graduate Project in Radiological Sciences and Protection are required of all students pursuing the Master's Degree in Radiological Sciences and Protection. These core courses are listed below. If a student has already had a course or courses similar to those listed, then the requirement for such courses may be waived.  Courses in Nuclear Engineering, Physics and Applied Physics, Environmental Studies, Biology, Mathematics, Meteorology, Chemistry, Work Environment, and others may be selected for graduate credit with the approval of the Department.

Required Core Courses

  • 98.506 Nuclear Instrumentation (4 credits)
  • 98.501 Radiation Safety and Control I (4 credits)
  • 98.502 Radiation Safety and Control II (4 credits)
  • 98.533 External Radiation Dosimetry and Shielding (3 credits)
  • 98.534 Internal Radiation Dosimetry and Bioassay Assessment (3 credits)
  • 98.562 Radiation Biology (3 credits)
  • 98.711/712 Graduate Seminar in Radiological Sciences and Protection  1
  • 98.733 Graduate Project in Radiological Sciences and Protection (3 credits), or  98.743 MS Thesis Research in Radiological Sciences and Protection  (3/6/9 credits)
  • Plus departmental electives as required

Total 30 credits

The Professional Science Master's Option within the Radiological Sciences Program

The development of Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree programs represents a growing trend in the United States with currently 120 such degrees offered at 60 colleges and universities. PSM’s maintain a strong science core while incorporating professional communication (oral, written) skills, multidisciplinary training, management courses, and a professional internship into the curriculum. Applicants to PSM’s include individuals with baccalaureate degrees currently employed at companies as well as new bachelor degree recipients from the United States and abroad who desire to combine in-depth science education with workplace skills important for their career development.

The Professional Science Master's Option within the Radiological Sciences Program in the Department of Physics and Applied Physics shares the same core courses as the current master’s degree program and, in lieu of a research component, requires courses selected from the foundation courses of the MBA degree program, a communications course, and a professional internship in Radiological Sciences.

Core Courses for Radiological Sciences and Protection

The required core courses for all options for the M.S. Degree in Radiological Sciences and Protection are:

  • 98.506 Nuclear Instrumentation (4 credits)
  • 98.501 Radiation Safety and Control I (4 credits)
  • 98.502 Radiation Safety and Control II (4 credits)
  • 98.533 External Radiation Dosimetry and Shielding (3 credits)
  • 98.534 Internal Radiation Dosimetry and Bioassay Assessment (3 credits)
  • 98.562 Radiation Biology (3 credits)
  • 98.711/712 Graduate Seminar in Radiological Sciences and Protection (3 credits)

The required plus courses for the PSM option to the M.S. Degree in Radiological Sciences and Protection are:

  • 60.501 Financial Accounting (2 credits)
  • 63.501 Operations Fundamentals (2 credits)
  • 66.501 Organizational Behavior (2 credits)
  • IB.601 Professional Writing & Communication (3 credits)
  • 98.xxx Radiological Sciences Internship (1 credit)

Total 34 credits

Students may request alternative courses from the MBA curriculum at UML. Approval from the Radiological Sciences Graduate Coordinator is required in advance for alternative courses.

Professional Internship in Radiological Sciences

The professional internship is required for all students matriculating in the PSM option. The internship should provide a broad experience performing real world tasks related to radiation protection for a minimum of 340 hours. Paid internships with companies and organizations that use radiation are preferred but volunteer on-campus internships with the university’s radiation safety office also will be available to students. Internships have to be approved in advance by the graduate committee of the Radiological Sciences Program, including approval of a qualified supervisor for off-campus internships. The graduate committee will provide oversight of all internships. A written report, signed by the internship supervisor, must be submitted by the student upon completion of the internship. An oral presentation by the intern as a Radiological Sciences seminar also is required. For students already employed in Health Physics, the professional internship will be tailored to meet the needs of both employee and employer.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates for the PSM option to the M.S. Degree in Radiological Sciences and Protection must pass the Comprehensive Master’s Examination that is based on the required graduate courses and administered once each semester.