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Courses leading to Medical Physics

  1. Jun 21, 2014 #1
    Hi. I'm heading to the University of Hong Kong this year to complete my bachelor of science in physics. I should be finishing next semester but the scholarship allows me to spend a year studying in Hong Kong. Hence I have more electives to choose. I'm interested in doing a Masters degree in Medical Physics (preferably in Norway or Sweden). At the moment I have enrolled in the following courses (as electives):

    Semester 1:
    Partial Differential Equations III
    Geometry of Surfaces III

    Semester 2:
    Topology and Analysis III
    Introduction to Differentiable Manifolds III

    Does anyone have any input on which of these courses would be most relevant for me? I would rather not undertake a very difficult course load (e.g. manifolds, QM, topology, etc).

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2014 #2


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    I'll preface my answer with saying that a lot can depend on the specific work that you plan on doing within medical physics.

    I am a medical physicist and I've never taken any of those courses. (It is difficult to know exactly what is covered by title alone. For example does PDE III imply that there were a PDE I and II before it? However, I feel safe in assuming that these are all upper level mathematics courses and you've covered the basics of introductory calculus, linear alegbra, and differential equations).

    On the clinical side of things you are unlikely to really require anything at that level. The research side of things is a different story though. I think it's imporant to make sure you've covered the more "practically" oriented courses. On the mathematics side of things that would be a "mathematical methods for physcists" course that covers things like Fourier transforms, and/or an introductory statistics course. Beyond that I would look for a signal or image processing course. I would also aim to get in an introductory biology and chemistry course if you don't already have those, and something that's going to help you formally develop some programming skills. In medical physics, in my experience, you tend to be a jack-of-all trades in the sciences.
  4. Jun 21, 2014 #3
    Thanks for your response. My current degree centres around theoretical and computational physics, so my physics and maths skills are already quite high. I have done plenty of work with ODEs, separable solutions of PDEs (through quantum mechanics) and computational estimates with PDEs, so I will probably drop the HK course.

    I have heard that differential geometry is somewhat useful in medical physics. I understand your point about the jack-of-all-trades - I went on a tour of a new research centre in Adelaide and the physicist talked about this as well. I suppose I am aiming toward a clinical/research job at a university hospital.

    Thanks again for your response.
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