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Medical Physics Programs

  1. Dec 9, 2006 #1
    Hi, could someone tell me about Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgia Tech MS programs. How hard is it to get in, if you're not a physics major? Should you take physics gre for any of these programs(would it help if your gpa sucks)? How about mcat? Can any of these programs be completed in 1year? If you go in these programs, do you then do a 2yr residency and work in a hospital for $150k/yr untill you retire? is it possible to do this program(in 1yr) and then apply to medical school, hoping that it would help you? thanks

    ooh, also these programs recommend E&M and 1semester of modern physics as prereqs, which seem weak... but if you enroll in these programs will you actually be required to take real grad physics courses like electrodynamics, or can you stick to applied courses which seem more like engineering in content?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2006 #2
    I can't speak about those specifically, but a lot of your questions are general.

    What is your major if not physics? My school has a medical physics program and they admit people from engineering, biology, chemistry, etc. I would imagine that their grades meet the typical standard of 3.0 overall.

    If your grades aren't very good then taking the GRE can only help your cause. However, if your major isn't physics I don't see how you'll be able to do well on the physics GRE unless you've taken some upper level physics courses. I don't think the MCAT will do anything to help you. You're not applying to a medical program.

    Unless you've taken some graduate credits already I don't think you could finish in one year. Maybe you could if the school offers courses in the summer. You'd really need to contact the department about that.

    For a Masters, the course requirements probably won't be as strict as they would for a PhD. The prereqs are there because the devices and methods used in medical physics use principals from E&M and quantum mechanics (NMR, for example). Most of it you can probably pick up along the way.

    I skipped a few of your questions. Your best bet would be to ask the departments of the schools you are interested in.

    Good Luck!
  4. Dec 9, 2006 #3
    What is medical physics, exactly? It sounds very interesting.
  5. Dec 9, 2006 #4
    Here is a site that describes it pretty well. Click on 'medical physicist' on the side bar

  6. Dec 10, 2006 #5
    i've never heard of medical physics

    to me it just sounds like applied biochem, except with physics in it
  7. Dec 10, 2006 #6
    Unless you've had Quantum Mechanics, E&M, Modern Optics and Classical Mechanics, as well as having a very high Physics GRE, you are'nt going to be able to get into Vanderbilt.

    Georgia Tech on the otherhand, you might be able to get in with just E&M and Quantum...
  8. Dec 10, 2006 #7
    damn, and vanderbilt's website said that physics gre was not required. i thought their admissions was a joke. i could take QM and E&M, but optics and classical mechanics would be too much. though i could take optics this semester(without having taken e&m or qm), it is taught by one of the most popular profs at my school, but i dont want to screw myself with difficult material, i'm taking 4 other courses. and i looked at physics gre, it would be too tough for me, may be if i studied for it for a long time i could get a decent score.

    i am no longer interested in this program then.
  9. Dec 10, 2006 #8
    i think i could handle ugrad level courses in E&M, QM, and Stat Mechs, but even ugrad optics is too tough for me. In vanderbilt's syllabus it didnt look like they were taking any grad level physics courses. but In UPenn's program, they had grad level QM and E&M, which is not something i could handle.
  10. Dec 10, 2006 #9
    Obviously, everyone is different... but why do you think optics would be difficult compared to E&M or quantum? My optics course ( with lab) was one of the least stressful and interesting courses I took as an undergrad. E&M was one of the most difficult.
  11. Dec 10, 2006 #10
    I looked at last year's final for optics, it was tough. e&m at my school has different versions, nonhonours version is not hard, honors is, but everyone taking honors takes grad level electrodynamics anyway.

    I plan to graduate next december. I think if i really wanted to, i could take E&M course this semester, with the following description, nonhonours:
    Maxwell's equations. The wave equation. The electromagnetic wave, reflection, refraction, polarization. Guided waves. Transmission lines and wave guides. Vector potential. Radiation. The elemental dipole; the half-wave dipole; vertical dipole; folded dipoles; Yagi antennas. Accelerating charged particles.

    would such a course review laws of ampere, biot-savart,etc, or you're expect to remember those things coming in?

    Also, in case i still decided to pursue an M.S. degree in this program, why does vanderbilt want you to have classical mechanics and optics?
  12. Dec 13, 2006 #11
    Hrm, my school is in the process of establishing a medical physics program. I have seen the curriculum too; no E&M courses, heavy on the nuclear physics. Im thinking about applying. I love nuclear engineering and all but the thought of working/living in the middle of nowhere is kind of depressing. Id imagine Id have no problem working in a big city as a medical physicist.
  13. Dec 13, 2006 #12
    I can understand the classical mechanics 'requirement' more than the optics I think. One reason they may do that is because non-physics majors can probably take a mechanics course without needing an override or anything like that. I went to the Vanderbilt page and I didn't see any requirements for classical or optics though.

    Unless the professor devotes the first week to a quick review of E&M topics, you probably won't get much review. I would imagine that you could go to office hours though and he could give you a review that way though.

    Good luck!
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