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From B.Sc. Math to Physics Grad School

  1. Jul 26, 2007 #1
    Hey guys, first post here!

    I am entering my 3rd year of my B.Sc. Math this September. I was wondering how likely is it to get accepted into physics grad school, esp. for Medical Physics as a math major. My school's website for the medical physics program says they allow math majors but somehow that doesn’t give the reassurance I need. I am seriously considering doing a physics minor which will make me graduate a semester late..which is no biggy. If any of you have gone this route, I would really appreciate your advice. It will help me take some good questions to the advisors when school starts.

    Thanks a bunch.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2007 #2


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    Well, I'm not all that sure what "medical physics" involves-- i.e. whether it is mostly practical, or theoretical. I imagine, if the latter, then there will be no problem, since they will probably be after mathematicians to construct models, etc. If the latter, then there may be a little difficulty, since you have no practical experience, but if the webpage says it's ok, then I'm sure it will be.
  4. Jul 26, 2007 #3
    I think physics grad schools, dont know for sure about medical physics, require the GRE Physics subject exam. If you haven't taken any physics courses, a great score is probably NECESSARY, not helpful, but a necessity on the GRE physics.

    Why not pursue mathematical physics? You get the best of both worlds? Or in your case, mathematical medical physics? Oh boy...

    Anyway, like what cristo said, if the department says its ok, then its ok. Never be afraid to at least email these people and double check.
  5. Jul 26, 2007 #4


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    Again, this thread my be useful to you.


  6. Jul 26, 2007 #5
    Medical physics normally deals with the medical side of radiation-based physics for treatment of certain medical conditions (primarily cancers). It involves assisting the physician in treatment planning to ensure that radiation doses are enough to kill the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells. At Ohio State Univeristy, their medical physics program is a residency program requiring at least a masters degree, usually in physics, health physics, or some kind of medical or biological discipline (some medical doctors go through it as well). I can't speak for other medical physics programs about their requirements, however.
  7. Jul 26, 2007 #6
    If you only need one semester to pick up a second major in physics, you've probably already taken enough physics classes to make you attractive to a medical physics program. Look around at a couple programs and see what the requirements are.
  8. Jul 27, 2007 #7
    daveb, my school offers a M.Sc. in Medical Physics which is then followed by a 2 year clerkship. I will most likely pursue the minor in Physics to obtain some lab work under my belt and the core courses required to obtain a good base for the GRE. However, I will have to steer away from most of the harder pure math courses and take some easier applied math courses so I can go all out on the physics courses which will be beneficial anyway. Hopefully, the advisors can help me actually plan this out. Thanks for the feedback guys.
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