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Most realistic school I can attend for Medical Physics?

  1. Sep 9, 2015 #1
    Hi everybody,
    I just want to know what is the best school that I can get into for medical physics as a subpar physics student? Please be realistic for I am trying to compile a list of schools that I altleast have a chance of attending. I am passionate about physics and medical physics, but I barely have a 3.0 GPA. I however make up for it with 3 years of research (no papers unfortunately) , programming skills, math minor, and much much more. Before college I scored and a 1600-1700 on the SAT. I think I can get atleast a 300 (verbal+quant) on the general GRE.

    If it matters I am a minority and I live in NJ. For some reason not all of the Campep accredited schools make there application data easily available to the public like they should. I assume some you here are more experienced than I am on this. My dream school is Vanderbilt, but I am open to any accredited PhD or Masters programs with a PhD transition.

    Thank you
    N.Ike
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2015 #2
    This confuses me. Are you talking about the general or subject test? Because neither is scored on this scale.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2015 #3
    Sorry, I'm talking about the general GRE test. Im confident I'll pass 150 for verbal and 150 for math.
     
  5. Sep 9, 2015 #4

    Choppy

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    Well to be honest there aren't a lot of options if you're barely scraping a 3.0. For most programs, that's the bare minimum. Accredited medical physics graduate programs tend to be competitive and so the GPAs of admitted students tend to be in the ballpark of 3.5 and above. Once you get below a 3.3 or so, there really has to be something special about your application to be considered. Your research experience might help there. Your SAT scores will not.

    For recent data you might want to check out:
    http://www.campep.org/2014AnnualGraduateReport.pdf

    The other concern is what happens if you do make it in? Right now residencies tend to be the bottleneck for entering the profession. Based on the CAMPEP data it looks like the accredited programs are producing ~ 300 graduates and there are roughly 100 residency positions. I don't mean to imply that it's impossible for someone with a low GPA to make it into a residency, or that there are not options if the residency doesn't work out, but it's probably worth giving some serious thought to how you're going to compete.
     
  6. Sep 10, 2015 #5
    Am I not even competitive for a MS prgram? I think there's atleast 2 schools that have them and graduates can transition to there PhD program.
     
  7. Sep 10, 2015 #6

    StatGuy2000

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    Here's my question to you -- in your earlier posts, you stated that you currently have a 3.1 GPA at a liberal arts school, and that you are a Junior. That would mean that you would have at least another 2 years before graduation. Can you not work toward doing well on your final years so that you can boost your GPA higher, to at least, say, 3.5?

    Graduate admissions tend to weigh the GPA of your last year or 2 more than the earlier years (since courses from your last two years tend to be more directly tied to the area you intend to pursue graduate studies in), so if you can demonstrate substantially improvement, combined with your undergraduate research experience and strong letters of recommendation, then you should be in a more competitive position for graduate school.
     
  8. Sep 10, 2015 #7
    Currently there are 50 CAMPEP accredited graduate programs in total and 47 of them offer M.S. degrees. Of those 47 programs, 32 also offer a Ph.D. track. The requirements for entry into a program do not appreciably depend on which degree you are initially admitted for.

    And Vanderbilt (your dream school) does not have a Ph.D. program.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2015 #8
    Yes I am aware of this.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2015 #9
    I am but realistically I'm going to hover around that GPA by the time its time for me to start applying to grad school. My physics GPA is about a 3.3. Some of these liberal art courses are intense. I've never been a good writer, and I spend a lot of my time tutoring, research, coding, etc. I only ever eat 1-2 times a day.
     
  11. Sep 10, 2015 #10
    Big reason as to why I'm looking at Vanderbilt. I've looked at all the data and know the risks. I have backup plans at every stage that I'm semi-comfortable with.
     
  12. Sep 11, 2015 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    Let me ask you this. How much have you completed your liberal arts "breadth" requirements (i.e. courses from outside your major, in the humanities or social sciences)? My assumption is that your school will require a certain number of these courses to be completed. If you can get those out of the way, then you should realistically be able to focus on your strengths (i.e. physics and math -- you did state you have a math minor). Also, you really should aim towards boosting your physics GPA, if nothing else -- 3.3 is simply too low. I would aim to boost those to at minimum a 3.5 GPA, if not higher.
     
  13. Sep 11, 2015 #12
    What are your career goals? What do you envision your daily job functions in medical physics to be? Your original post seems to imply that you are looking for PhD options, presumably because you have an interest in doing research. Vanderbilt is a very competitive (and very good) program that emphasizes clinical training, not research training.

    Are you intending to complete your M.S. at Vanderbilt and then transfer to another school for PhD studies? Or are you interested in Vanderbilt because of their DMP option (which is, again, very competitive and not research-focused)?
     
  14. Sep 11, 2015 #13
    I'm more interested in clinical work. Is a PhD not necessary? I though it is already difficult for PhDs to obtain residencies
     
  15. Sep 11, 2015 #14

    Choppy

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    Well by the 2014 data it looks like about half of MSc graduates either get into a residency or start in a junior physicist position. So a PhD is not necessary by any means. In my experience PhD graduates tend to have an easier time getting residencies though.

    The issue is really one of supply, demand, and bottlenecks in my opinion.
     
  16. Sep 11, 2015 #15
    Well how important is my physics GPA compared to my overall GPA? I can focus on both but I assume it would be more beneficial if I pay special attention physics. In terms of my math minor I have one more class(200+ level) to take what do you recommend for my application? Realistically I could only raise my GPA by .2 to .3 by the time I take my GRE and start applying.
     
  17. Sep 11, 2015 #16
    Can you become board certified with just an M.Sc?
     
  18. Sep 12, 2015 #17

    Choppy

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    A lot depends on the program and the specific means they use for assessing their candidates. The issue with an overall GPA near 3.0 is that this is a common threshold for admission to any graduate program. So if it slips to a 2.9, for example, you run the risk that your application won't even make it through the initial processing. The physics GPA is generally more important. People on the admissions committee will look at your transcripts and look that you've done well in your upper level physics courses and that will look a lot better than a result where you've aced first year courses that were essentially a re-hash of high school and a steady decline ever since. It's hard to get any more specific though. People on the admissions committee will read your transcripts and come to their own conclusions.

    As far as upper level math courses go, I think the most helpful one in my experience was the mathematical methods for physicists course. I usually assume that this would be a standard requirement for a physics degree, so its likely that you already have that. Other things that can help you would be any kind of math used in signal processing, or deformable image registration, and maybe a statistics course. Beyond that follow your interests.

    Absolutely.
    See:
    http://www.theabr.org/ic-rp-req
    http://www.ccpm.ca/ccpm-english/main/certification/eligibility.html
     
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