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Columbia or VCU Medical Physics Program?

  1. Apr 1, 2013 #1
    Columbia or VCU Medical Physics Program?!?!

    I was recently accepted to the Medical Physics Programs at Columbia and Virginia Commonwealth University. I am wondering if anyone has any insight on how the programs are at both of these schools. I know that Columbia obviously has a prestigious reputation, however I am curious as to whether going to such a school even carries any weight when searching for jobs in this field. ps..I am interested in becoming a clinical med physicist and working in a hospital, not the academics or research field.

    Any information is greatly appreciated! :)
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2013 #2
    Are you aware that VCU has an associated CAMPEP-accredited medical physics residency program? From what I can tell Columbia does not. There are no guarantees, but you might be in a position to transition into the VCU residency from their graduate program if you make a good impression during your studies.

    Living in Richmond, VA will also be significantly cheaper than living in New York City, though obviously the culture is different as well. Do you have a preference between the two regions? Have you ever lived in a place like NYC? Did you visit both programs prior to being accepted? Was there anything good or bad that stood out to you about either program?

    Are you familiar with any of the research being produced at either place? Even if you stop at the M.S. degree with no intention of having a research-oriented career, you will almost certainly have to be involved in some graduate research. Does anything they are doing sound particularly interesting to you? Showing success in graduate research will also help with finding a residency position.

    For what it's worth, I have not heard much about the Columbia program (positive or negative) but a few of the faculty involved in my own Medical Physics graduate program spoke highly of the VCU program when I was looking for residency options.

    They are both CAMPEP-accredited M.S. programs, so I don't think either program would be a bad choice. Graduate school can be difficult and trying, so enjoying your location and feeling comfortable in your surroundings for when you get opportunities to take a break from your studies is also very important.

    Good luck and congratulations!
  4. Apr 1, 2013 #3


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    I think you're in the fortunate position of being able to chose between two good options.

    I don't know a lot about either program, but my PhD external examiner came from VCU and I have a lot of respect for him as a medical physicist.
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