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Problem in my last year! Related to medical physics and Nuke Eng

  1. Aug 25, 2011 #1

    So I have a problem in my last semester of my final year. There is a course conflict between two physics courses that I need to graduate: Special Relativity and Advanced Optics. The only reason is because I missed one course from the previous year and the undergraduate advisor said there was no gaurantee those courses would fit together in my situation.
    Anyways after my talk with the advisor, he said I have two options:
    1. Take Advanced Optics and find any other theoretical physics course to replace Special Relativity (the replacement course has nothing to do with S.R.) and graduate.
    2. He recommended me to take another year to complete the S.R course and to take more senior level physics courses such as QM II, Stat Mech II, Adv Lab etc. The reason he recommended me this second option is because if I were to apply to any physics graduate school, I would not have enough background physics. However, my goal is either medical physics or nuclear engineering. And I've read that much of medical physics do not require much advanced topics in physics UNLESS i go on with my PhD (I may be wrong about this point). I am not really sure about nuclear engineering, but I plan to take a course on fundamentals on nuclear energy production.

    I live in Canada and plan to apply to multiple grad school for medical physics in Canada. As for nuclear engineering, I am looking at UOIT and McMasters. Uwaterloo has a program as well so it is also a possibility.
    So what do you guys think is the best course of action? (I really want to graduate and start working ASAP!)

    Thanks for the replies!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2011 #2


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    It's tempting to say that you probably won't use much special relativity in clinical medical physics or that the parts that you do use will be coded deeply into a radiation transport code that you're unlikely to be modifying during your career. But that's kind of like that kid in high school who sat at the back of math class when you were factoring polynomials and asked 'when am I ever going to need this?'

    It's important to listen to the advice of your advisor - particularly the part about not otherwise having enough background in physics for graduate school. From your description it sounds like there may be several holes in your undergraduate physics education, not just special relativity and this may put you in a position where you simply won't be accepted into graduate school.

    So I (speaking as a medical physicist) would go for option 2.
  4. Aug 26, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the input Choppy. I have seriously considered staying for another year (going on 6 if that happens). But would I really need all those courses for nuclear engineering? For some reason, I am really into radiation but cannot decide between medical physics and nuke eng.
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