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Medical Physics

Medical Physics

Overview and Program Goals
The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Department of Physics and Applied Physics offers a Master of Science degree in Medical Physics and a Ph.D. in Radiological Sciences with Medical Physics Concentration. A Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology with Medical Physics Specialization is also available. In collaboration with local and regional hospitals and cancer centers in the Boston area, the program is designed for individuals who seek the MS or Ph.D. degree and wish to be educated in therapeutic and imaging medical physics.

Students gain education and training in fundamental radiation sciences, medical physics and dosimetry, which includes laboratory work and clinical internship. The MS program duration is designed to be two years plus one summer semester, although the typical academic plan may be different due to elective courses and the length of thesis research. The duration of the Ph.D. program depends on the student’s academic progress, and it is usually between four and six years.  Both the MS thesis and Ph.D. dissertation must be based on hypothesis- or development-driven research, and the student is expected to submit the results to a peer-reviewed journal.

Program Objectives
The MS Degree in Medical Physics qualifies students for all medical physics specialties and prepares them for residency programs, junior medical physics positions, and future ABR exams. The clinical component provides the students with training dominantly in radiation therapy.  

The Ph.D. degree program provides the students with fundamental knowledge of physics with a specialization in medical physics. Students receive advanced research training in particular areas of medical physics, which will prepare them for entry-level research positions in academia or industry, or for a medical physics resident position under the supervision of a board-certified medical physicist. 

Historically, most students have concentrated on therapy physics but because sometimes the cooperating hospitals have imaging or nuclear medicine research projects, over the last decade a number of students have focused on other medical physics specialties as well.

Upon graduation, medical physics students are prepared to receive advanced clinical training through working under the direction of a board-certified medical physicist or entering a medical physics residency program. The students will be prepared for a career as:

  • A professional clinical medical physicist. 
  • A medical physicist in a research laboratory. 
  • A medical physicist in industry. 
  • For Ph.D. students, career as a medical physicist in an academic environment. 
  • For MS students, further research training in a Ph.D. medical physics program. 
For more information, including sample of courses of study, visit the Online Academic Catalog.

Medical Physics and Radiological Science Faculty, Research and Resources