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Other Biomedical Engineering considering Applied Physics

  1. Jul 4, 2017 #1
    Hello everyone! This is my first time posting on here so idk if I'm under the right forum lol. I am an undergad in BME and WAS on the pre-med track. I always "wanted" to be a doctor just because I didn't really know much about other careers but also A LOT OF FAMILY PRESSURE. I finally decided to just stop with this pre-med nonsense since I get no enjoyment out of it and it's not something I see myself doing. I have been looking into medical physics for a couple of years now and attended a seminar from someone working in the field and I have really fallen in love with the career. However, since I am a rising junior my schedule would only permit for me to take one upper level physics class and many graduate programs require at least 15 credits in physics total. I have taken 3- calculus based level physics classes. Coming into college I never took calculus or physics so first semester was tough and I got a B-. In my other physics classes I got a B and B+. Tbh I didn't have much time to study but I think I did okay in the classes. What I don't know is if I would be able to handle upper level physics classes if I were to switch my major and if I can't I would have to probably wait a year after I get my bachelors and take additional physics classes at my local university. My school offers an applied physics major with a "medical physics track". I have actually taken most of the courses (except upper level physics obviously) since I was in BME and my remaining semesters would be pretty "easy" so only one physics and one math with the rest electives. What would you guys recommend? Is there anything else I can do when I apply to graduate school to improve my application? Thank you!
     
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  3. Jul 5, 2017 #2

    Choppy

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    It's difficult to judge the value of a program based only on it's name. "Applied physics with a medical physics track" can mean a lot of things. Probably one of the first things I would look into is whether graduates of that track are getting into the medical physics graduate programs that you're interested in. Talk to your academic advisor and/or people in your department and see where graduates of the program are ending up.
     
  4. Jul 5, 2017 #3
    thank you! also another question this summer I have been doing research in BME and my mentor was going to give me a year long project. However, it's nothing related to medical physics but I have the opportunity to publish the paper as well as co-author one or two other papers graduate students are working on. Even if it isn't related to med physics should I stick with it?
     
  5. Jul 6, 2017 #4

    Choppy

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    Short answer: Yes.

    Based on what you've said, this sounds like a great opportunity. Generally when students are assessed for graduate admissions, it's not so much the field where they've done research that matters, but what they've done that will demonstrate that they will be successful in graduate studies. Getting a publication or more on your CV can be a big deal - particularly when that's supported by reference letters that give details about substantial contributions you've made to the work.

    And it's important to remember too that even when the fields are different, there are a lot of skills that you can pick up that can be transferrable. Soft skills like: how to manage a long-term research project, how to work as a part of a research team (even if the team is limited to mentor-student), writing up your work, creating presentations and otherwise effectively communicating the work that you've done. And by doing this kind of research project, you'll learn what academic research is really like and whether it's the kind of thing that you really want to do for your life. The hard skills that you'll acquire will depend a little more on the specific project, but everything from programming to error analysis will transfer well.

    You also have to consider the decision in context too. Do you have another equal opportunity to do a medical physics research project? Is it very likely that you'll be able to find one in a short timeframe? Generally when faced with a great opportunity or the option to keep looking, it's best to seize the opportunity you have.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2017 #5
    thank you very much! my school doesn't have a medical physics lab on campus and the one's it has are so far away since they're affiliated with a hospital that even if i got the position I know I would not learn as much also thank you for elaborating on the soft skills!!!!
     
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