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Schools Duke Medical Physics Program -- how was your experience?

  1. Mar 13, 2017 #1
    I would like to know more about Duke's Master of Medical Physics program. Do any of you know about the clinical experience you can receive while attending? Also I am curious about the student to student experience that is most common during the program. To clarify, are students typically competitive towards one another or are they friendly and willing to help and support one another?
    It is easy to lean general information about grad programs but details like this are hard to track down. I would really appreciate hearing about any experiences you have had with Duke. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2017 #2


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    I'm not sure if this will help - I don't have any experience with Duke itself - but the particular students are going to vary from year to year, so student personalities are difficult to predict. A program with students that keep to themselves one year could have a really friendly and outgoing group the next year.

    I did read something on the webpage about an "optional summer clinical internship" which is probably what you're asking about. Not being familiar with the program, I would recommend contacting the department to find out more details on this - what specific work you would be doing, what clinical skills you can expect to develop through the program itself (i.e. labs) vs. what's left to the optional internship, are all students guaranteed an internship if they want one, and if you're doing work, are you reimbursed for it (other programs will pay students very well for QA work)?
  4. Mar 15, 2017 #3
    Thanks for your input. You have a very good point about different years having varying personalities. I was just curious because I meet someone who transferred out of Duke due, in part, to the other students and her negative experiences with them.
    I'll be sure to ask the department about clinical opportunities.
    Thanks again for your help.
  5. Nov 10, 2017 #4
    I have gone through Duke program. Here's an in-depth of the program as of 2017.

    As for clinical experience: The clinical experience you can get at Duke is quite extensive. In fact, if you graduated here without at least 10+ practical QA sessions, you were doing it wrong. In every nook and cranny there will be some shadowing opportunities - take them.

    As for students
    : For the last five years, the students have been always supportive - though in some years there were tiny cliques, some years the entire year was like a fraternity. Among Duke students, we take it seriously the idea that supportive students create the best students.

    As for faculty-student relationship
    : You will notice that faculty here are awesome. Duke is truly at the top of research, and if you are a MS student, anyone will take you in with an open arm since you have your own funding. But take it seriously when I say, you need to work hard. Not only that, work hard with others. The courses here will tear you down if you are not on top of coursework and research alike. Which brings me to next point:

    Student-administration relationship: Two words to describe it: "political" and "real-life." The program is not a Department yet - and retaining faculty in the program is crucial for the program's survival. Keep this in mind - the program will not necessarily cover for you, especially if you underperform. The administration is not a support group, it is a graduate program administration. Duke Medical Physics is a program meant to create an environment where students experience the maximum stress expected by medical physicists to handle. The un-spoken axiom of Duke Medical Physics graduate program is that the students at this stage are: 1. adults who must be able to advocate for themselves, 2. faculty is there to give you maximum discipline as expected of the Medical Physics profession. Those who cannot handle it - well...

    Know what you are getting into, and be sure to keep Duke resources (i.e. Student Health, psychological services) close, as you are expected to preserve your own well-being, like any professionals out there.

    Closing words: Duke program is a lovely program. Yes, despite my stern words in the end there, the students and faculty are willing to work with you. Duke itself is a wonderful place filled with numerous opportunities. There will be many, many clinical opportunities here. The students and faculty - will support you to the end. Duke program, all in all, really is one of the best of the Medical Physics programs out there. But note that with the label "best" comes "hard work." This means competitiveness, not because other students are out to kill you (again, they are a lovely bunch of folks), but because the courses you'll take - you had better do well, no matter the circumstances. They really take it seriously the idea of you being an adult and taking responsibility for any under-performance. There are severe consequences if you underperform. Most people who either quit being a PhD or quit being an MS do so after the administration tags you as "underperforming" or, for PhD's, "underfunded" - and once tagged, all the faculties will know about it, resulting in less opportunities.

    Tl;dr: Duke is filled with opportunities, clinical and research. Students and faculty will help you. Administration is stern - you must perform well to be part of Duke MP. If that bothers you, this might not be a program for you.
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