Medical/Health Physics Program Home
OVERVIEW & PROGRAM GOALS
MEDICAL PHYSICS AND HEALTH PHYSICS PROGRAM
OVERVIEW - MS PROGRAM
To meet increasing demand of hospitals, clinics, and industry for trained medical physicists and health physicists, LSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a Master of Science degree in Medical Physics and Health Physics. The M.S. degree program is oriented toward professional training, and students graduating from the Program are well prepared for residency and junior medical physics positions, as well as future board certification exams.
Students spend one year in the classroom learning the fundamentals of medical and health physics, radiation biology, and human anatomy. Next, students in the medical physics concentration learn to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom. For two semesters these students take additional courses in radiation oncology physics and receive clinical training and experience by working side-by-side medical physicists, medical dosimetrists, and radiation oncologists at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Students in the health physics concentration take additional courses in applied nuclear science to better prepare them for careers at 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. Full-time thesis research is begun in the Summer semester of the second year and should be completed by the end of the Spring semester of the third year. The results of the thesis are expected to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
OBJECTIVES - MEDICAL PHYSICS
The Medical Physics component of the Program is designed for individuals who seek the M.S. degree and 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:
- Career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical environment,
- Career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical-support industry,
- Career as a professional medical physicist in a clinical-support research laboratory, or
- Further research training in a Ph.D. medical physics program.
Upon graduation medical physics graduates 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.
OBJECTIVES - HEALTH PHYSICS
The Health Physics component of the Program is designed for individuals who seek the M.S. degree and 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:
- Career as a professional medical health physicist in a hospital environment,
- Career as a professional health physicist in nuclear power or related industry,
- Career as a researcher in a health physics research laboratory, and
- Further research training in a Ph.D. health physics or medical physics program.
QUALIFICATION FOR ADMISSION
Students entering the Program should have a B.S. in physics or a related scientific or engineering or physical science with a strong foundation in basic physics, i.e., with coursework equivalent to a minor in physics.*
Also, students entering the Program should have completed the following courses:
- Biology - one semester of general biology; one semester of human anatomy
- Chemistry - two semesters of general chemistry
- Physics - a core of calculus-based physics courses, which include at least two semesters of general physics, and additional courses covering classical mechanics, electromagnetism, electronics, and modern physics
- Mathematics - three semesters of calculus; one semester of differential equations
- Computer Science - proficiency in a programming language such as C, C++, or FORTRAN; knowledge of basic numerical analysis methods.
Most students applying for the Program are deficient in the human anatomy prerequisite, which is removed by taking the "KIN 2500- Anatomy" course during the summer semester of the first year. Some students are deficient in knowing a high level computer language (e.g. C or FORTRAN) and the numerical methods course. This deficiency can be removed by an advanced topics course or PHYS 2411- Computational Science I.
*At LSU, required courses for a minor in Physics are PHYS 1201, 1202, 1208, 1209 (or PHYS 2101, 2102, 2108, 2109); PHYS 2221; and at least three courses in physics above 2200 (excluding PHYS 2401, 2995, 4399, and 4991) of which at least three hours must be at the 4000 level, and/or astronomy above 4000 (excluding ASTR 4997), for a total of 20-22 hours.