Medical Physicist Schools and Training Programs

Medical physicists help research and develop new medical equipment and specialized treatment methods. Read on to learn more about what medical physicists do, the graduate training opportunities in this field, common courses and how to choose the right school for you. Schools offering Community Health Education & Advocacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Medical physicist schools and training programs help students acquire knowledge in physics to make valuable contributions to healthcare and medicine. Students may be involved in medical research that can improve health care, such as creating new imaging technology to detect diseases or finding a more effective radiation therapy to treat cancer patients. The job of a medical physicist can be very rewarding.

Degrees Master of Medical Physics (MMP) or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Medical Physics; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Medical Physics
Training Medical physics residency programs are available for master's and doctoral graduates.
Schools Students may wish to consider schools that are equipped with accessible medical clinics or facilities for development and testing in order to get more hands-on experience. Students seeking online studies may find distance learning programs for master's and doctoral degrees in medical physics.

What Are Medical Physicists?

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) explains that medical physicists are concerned with applying the science behind radiological or nuclear physics to help diagnose and treat patients (www.aapm.org). They may work with oncologists to determine the appropriate radiation therapies for cancer patients. They may also make sure equipment is functioning properly or develop new diagnostic technologies. Many medical physicists also conduct research on topics such as the effects of radioactivity on the body.

What Master's Degree Programs Are Available?

Master's degree programs in medical physics may be available as a Master of Medical Physics (MMP) or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Medical Physics. With the appropriate premedical bachelor's degree, you may qualify for accelerated programs that can be completed in one year. Otherwise, you can typically complete a full-time master's degree program in two years or a part-time degree in three years.

Master's degree program coursework may depend on your area of concentration, such as diagnostic radiology or therapeutic radiology. You will also have to complete clinical practicums throughout the program. You might have a chance to study these topics within your master's degree:

  • Radiation engineering
  • Medical imaging
  • Electromagnetism
  • Medical ethics
  • Law
  • Radiation oncology
  • Radiation biology

What Are Doctoral Programs Like?

You could also enter a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Medical Physics program with a premedical bachelor's degree, but these programs will take about six years to complete. You can finish in five if you enter with a master's degree.

Ph.D. programs are largely dictated by your research interests but could include advanced coursework. Ph.D. programs also include clinical rotations and internships. Residencies may require you to attend some conferences or seminars a variety of topics. Most of your time will be spent working with patients in hospital radiology or oncology departments. These areas of study might be included in your doctoral program:

  • Quantum mechanics
  • Electrodynamics
  • Radiation biology
  • Random instrumentation and detection
  • Radiation safety
  • Oncology

What Other Training Programs Are There?

Medical physics residency programs are available to master's and doctoral degree program graduates. According to the AAPM, an increasing number of medical physicists are enrolling in these 2-year programs to get additional hands-on training.

How Do I Choose a School?

Before choosing a school, you should be sure that it offers the educational track and coursework to support your area of interest. You might also want to consider schools with easily accessible medical clinics as well as development and testing facilities. These resources can help you gain the hands-on training necessary to become a medical physicist.

If you're a working professional interested in furthering your education, you might prefer online graduate programs for the scheduling flexibility they offer. Online medical physics master's degree and Ph.D. programs allow you to access course materials through video-recorded lectures and online correspondence. However, as an online student, you may find that your elective coursework options are limited. You will also have to complete practicums, clinical rotations and internships at nearby hospitals or clinics.

The following are a few schools that offer medical physicist training programs:

  • Stanford University (CA)
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge)
  • Oregon State University (Corvallis)

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
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  • Keiser University

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    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master

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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
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  • Northcentral University

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  • Herzing University

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  • Wayne State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Detroit
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