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Radiology and Medical Imaging

  1. Sep 14, 2011 #1
    I came across this forum and decided to post this question.

    I am in my second year of undergraduate studies. My goal is to have a career in Medical Biophysics or Radiology, more specifically working in Medical Imaging. I was wondering how much physics is needed in general? I am currently taking a Physics course about Electromagnetism which is part of the program. The practical aspect of medical imaging is very interesting to me.

    Thanks for your time!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2011 #2
    That depends upon whether you want to be a full blown medical physicist, which requires a LOT of physics (and now a residency for most programs), or simply be the person that operates the imaging device, or anything in between.
  4. Sep 14, 2011 #3


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    To become a radiologist you have to go through medical school and then, I believe it's a 5 year residency. In the course of your training you'll get the amount of physics you need in order to understand the images that you're viewing.

    To become a medical physicist who specializes in imaging, you generally need to do an undergraduate program in physics (sometimes various engineering programs are also accepted) and then a graduate program at least to the level of an MSc. A 2 year clinical residency is required for certification.
  5. Sep 15, 2011 #4
    Thank you for the replies!

    daveb, can you tell me the difference between Medical physicist and Medical Biophysicist? I understand that operating imaging devices is what a Radio technician does, correct? That is also an option I am open to. I heard of The Michener Instituite in Toronto (near my residence) that offers very interesting programs in the field of Radiology.

    Choppy, concerning medical physicist: What about an undergraduate in Medical Biophysics?

    Once again thanks for the replies and I eagerly await other responses from you guys again and others.
  6. Sep 15, 2011 #5
    Medical physicists are typically associated with some hospital in their oncology/radiology department, though some do independent research in a university (and some even have a mix). I've not heard of a medical biophysicist, though a biophysicist is a more generalized term that applies to anyone who uses principles of physics and chemistry as applied to biological systems.
  7. Sep 15, 2011 #6


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    I believe "medical biophysics" is the name of a particular department within the University of Toronto. It is a school that includes medical physics training, but I believe other branches of physics that relate to biology as well. While medical physics is a professional field most often associated with radiation therapy and medical imaging, biophysics tends to involve things like studying the physics of cell membranes.

    If this is a field you're interested in,I would tend to stay away from undergraduate programs that get too specialized. The best preparation for medical physics gradudate school is an undergraduate degree in physics, or perhaps some branches of engineering (like engineering physics or some biomedical engineering programs).
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