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Schools Medical Physics Program: Duke or Georgia Tech

  1. Mar 18, 2017 #1
    I am trying to decided between attending Duke or Georgia Tech for a Master's in Medical Physics. I would be very grateful for any opinions on the matter. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2017 #2


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    What have you learned about each program so far?

    What factors are most important to you?
  4. Mar 20, 2017 #3
    I feel that a lot of what I have heard is personal opinions or hearsay, and hence my desire to learn as much as I can about the two programs.

    But I have heard that Duke has one of the top medical physics programs and has a good deal of recognition in the field. Has a hospital near by which makes clinical work very accessible, however I heard that not every student will be able to do rotations at that hospital and for the most part the work that is done is just shadowing. Large faculty with a wide variety of professors. And I have heard that it has a high(er) rate of students placing into residency programs. Tuition is high but cost of living is low.

    Georgia Tech has a smaller professor base but that to insure that students still have exposure to many different professionals they have Emory University Hospital medical physicists teach some classes on campus. They also have a Varian Clinac for students to get hands on knowledge. There is a mandatory clinical rotation, and from what I heard the clinical experience is very good at preparing students for future careers. One thing I heard is that Georgia Tech students are just as competitive for residency as Duke students. Tuition is lower but cost of living is higher.

    As far as research goes, I have not been able to determine much. But as I am only planning on getting a Master's degree this is not something I am too concerned with.

    Being able to get into a residency program after I finish with the program is pretty important to me. But another big factor to me is the student to student experience that is most common during the program. From what I heard Duke students are more competitive and less likely to be helpful and supportive to other students and that Georgia Tech Students are the other way around.

    But like I said, most of this is hearsay and other peoples personal opinions. I just want to hear what as many people as I can have to say about the two schools so that I can make an informed decision.
  5. Mar 25, 2017 #4


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    Unfortunately, I don't have any direct experience with either of these programs to really offer much of an opinion. I am a medical physicist, though and can perhaps offer some general insight.

    With respect to the student experience - it's great that you're trying to factor this into your decision. The only problem though, is that it's very difficult to estimate what that's going to be like year-to-year. Graduate programs in medical physics tend to be small. So the student environment is highly dependent on the individual students that come in for any given year. The program can influence things in some ways though. Encouraging group work, for example, tends to foster a less competitive atmosphere. And when the professors are social, it can really help to make for a better experience too. These kinds of factors are difficult to assess via a web page though. It really helps to visit the campus if that's at all possible.

    Ultimately I suspect this will come down to a decision between two good options. Sometimes these are the hardest kinds of choices to make because you can't objectively identify one as superior to the other. Under such circumstances, it's okay to fall back to subjective criteria. Which one is going to cost you less? Which one is in a nicer location for you? Which one has better facilities for graduate students?
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