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Programs Medical Physics PhD vs MSc

  1. Jun 22, 2011 #1
    I am applying to graduate schools this fall for Medical Physics. I will be hoping to get accepted into an accredited school.

    I was wondering if there is a large difference in the job market depending on whether I would get a PhD or MSc in the program. Either way I would still need a residency, right? Would the PhD give me the upper-hand on getting into the residency program I would want? I have read different view on this topic, but I just wanted another opinion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2011 #2


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    In my experience PhDs are more competative for residency programs.

    Something that perhaps isn't advertised as much as it could be is that many residency programs are actually residency/post-doc positions where the resident is expected to move a research project forward in addition to the clinical training that is provided. PhD holders are generally more attractive for such positions.

    That's not to say you can't get a residency with an MSc. Nor are you guaranteed one with a PhD.

    As far as whether or not you need a residency - they're necessary if you want to write your certification exams. And while in some areas it's still possible to move into a junior physicist position straight out of graduate school, for anyone who is a student now, I would be aiming to get into a residency program.
  4. Jun 26, 2011 #3
    There were seven people who graduated in my medical physics class with M.S. degrees.

    2 were offered residency positions and took them
    1 was offered a residency position but took a junior physics job instead
    3 took junior physics jobs (this includes me)
    1 person is still looking for work a year later, unfortunately

    From the 6 people that graduated with M.S. degrees in the class after mine:

    3 took residency positions
    1 continued on to PhD studies
    2 are still looking for work

    I personally applied to a number of residency programs, interviewed for two positions and lost both of them to Ph.D. applicants. I was a very strong M.S. applicant (4.0 GPA undergrad and graduate) with strong research and clinical experience.

    And I agree that you will need to do a residency if you intend to actually work in this field. A physicist without ABR certification (unless they are currently working towards it) will not be hireable in coming years unless they decide to work in industry instead of cancer care.

    Also, give strong preference to CAMPEP-accredited graduate programs in your search.
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