To meet increasing demand by hospitals, clinics, and industry for trained medical physicists and health physicists, LSU's Department of Physics & Astronomy offers a Master of Science degree in Medical Physics and Health Physics. The M.S. degree program is oriented toward professional training, including successful completion of future board certification exams. Students graduating from the medical physics concentration are well prepared for residency programs; those completing the health physics concentration are suitable for entry-level health physics positions. Some students choose to continue their education by pursuing a PhD degree.
Students spend one year in the classroom learning the fundamentals of medical and health physics, radiation biology, and human anatomy. In the second year, students in the medical physics concentration learn to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom; for two semesters these students take advanced courses in medical physics and receive clinical training and experience by working side-by-side with medical physicists, medical dosimetrists, and radiation oncologists at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Second-year students in the health physics concentration take courses relevant to applied nuclear science to prepare them for careers with hospitals, industrial companies, and national laboratories that use radiation sources.
Students in both the medical physics and health physics concentrations are required to complete a thesis based on hypothesis-driven research. Thesis research typically begins at the end of the first year, culminating in a public presentation and thesis defense. The results of the thesis are expected to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The concentration in Medical Physics is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP). The concentration in Health Physics is not accredited by CAMPEP.
MS graduates earn an "MS Degree in Medical Physics and Health Physics". The area of concentration is specified on the student's final transcript.
The Medical Physics component of the M.S. Program is designed for individuals who wish to be educated in clinical medical physics. The Program’s objective is to provide clinical and research training in Medical Physics, which give the student opportunity to prepare for advanced training in a clinical physics residency program. M.S. Program graduates are well prepared for:
- A career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical environment,
- A career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical-support industry,
- A career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical-support research laboratory, or
- Further research training in a Ph.D. medical physics program.
The Health Physics component of the M.S. Program is designed for individuals who wish to be educated in medical health physics. The Program’s objective is to provide clinical, industrial, and research training in Health Physics, which give the student opportunity to prepare for:
- A career as a professional medical health physicist in a hospital environment,
- A career as a professional health physicist in nuclear power or related industry,
- A career as a researcher in a health physics research laboratory, and
- Further research training in a Ph.D. health physics or medical physics program.