1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What degree should I do next year?

  1. Dec 4, 2012 #1
    I am in my final year of high school, I am doing chemistry, physics, advanced maths and English (physics and maths are by far my favorite subjects), doing very well in all my subjects so I think I can get accepted in any degree I want.
    I did some research and looked into university degrees and they are engineering, science, commerce and medicine. I am not interested in commerce at all but I am interested in the remaining 3 fields.
    What kind of jobs are available if I do BSc and major in physics and mathematics (I can do 2 majors if I do the degree full time).
    I am also thinking about doing medicine as graduate entry but is that a good idea, is it possible for a doctor to work with medical machines? I am very interested in modern medical machines that involve a lot of physics and engineering like robots, lasers, diagnoses and scanning technologies etc... but is that the job of a bio-medical engineer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Have you thought at all about medical physics?

    About 80% of us work in radiation oncology - treating cancer with radiation, while the rest are involved in diagnostic imaging, MRI, nuclear medicine and health physics. See for example:

    The typical path to get into medical physics is to do an undergraduate degree in physics, complete an accredited graduate medical physics program, then do a residency. It's a very competative field, but very rewarding on many levels.
  4. Dec 4, 2012 #3
    My biggest suggestion is to not limit yourself. I went to the Colorado School of Mines for chemical engineering, and wound up enjoying the intro to Geology class, and now over a decade later I have a PhD in Geophysics and love what I do. Before Uni, I had no idea what Geophysics even was.

    Having said that, working on medical instrumentation sounds like a bucket of fun. I get to do a similar thing using geophysical instrumentation to probe Earth, and it is a very rewarding field.

    Where were you thinking of attending?
  5. Dec 4, 2012 #4
    My parents always wanted me to do medicine so I thought I can get into the medical physics field through medicine. I live in Sydney and the University of Sydney offers this degree http://sydney.edu.au/courses/Bachelor-of-Science-Advanced-and-Bachelor-of-Medicine-and-Bachelor-of-Surgery [Broken] so I thought it would be a perfect way to get into medical physics but many people told me that doctors cannot work in medical physics, they use the medical instruments that medical engineers and physicists make, another thing is that it's a 7 year degree + 5 years specialization so I would be 30 by the time I start working as a specialized doctor so I don't know... maybe I can work through the BSc degree that I acquire in the first 3 years but what kind of jobs are available to a person with only a bachelor in physics?
    I really like physics, my uncle did his PhD in nuclear physics at the uni of Chicago about 15 years ago and now he is a lecturer, the rest of my family did medicine and that's what my parents want me to do but I thought I can satisfy both sides, myself by doing physics and my family by doing medicine through this degree.
    Now the question is, is the degree in the link above a good idea? I think it will help me both expand my knowledge by not limiting myself to only one field, explore other interests (as you said Choagos, at the moment it's hard to identify what my interests are) and this degree allows me to have early access to a decent job while I am studying medicine.
    Thank you a lot for the replies :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Dec 4, 2012 #5
    That looks like an interesting degree, but it doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for.

    If you want to work with and design medical equipment, you really don't need a degree in medicine. My wife designs medical equipment and has a Bachelors in mechanical and electrical engineering. Now, she just takes the design requirements from the medical researchers and implements them, which is probably a little less medically involved than you might like. I think the best would be an engineer/physicist who can design the equipment, who also has a medical background, but I'm not sure what the best way of going about that would be--perhaps an undergraduate degree in engineering or physics, with a graduate degree in medicine of some sort. I had a friend in Christchurch apply her geophysics degree to studying surface waves on breasts to determine the efficacy of the approach for finding breast cancer (yeah, she watched breasts jiggle for her masters degree). She didn't have a medical background before that, but her masters is in some medical field. Perhaps a similar path might work for you?
  7. Dec 5, 2012 #6
    I am very interested in this degree so I will look into the possibility that I can be the person who designs the medical equipment (medical researcher through the medicine degree) and instead of giving the design requirements to physycists to implements them I can implement them myself by doing medical physics with the physics degree. This means I need two post graduate qualifications in both physics and medicine so I don't know how possible that is but it seems interesting.
    Is this degree available at any other universities? Here in Australia it is available at almost all universities BUT not as a single degree, you have to do an undergraduate degree then do a test to get accepted into graduate medicine whereas with this degree you don't have to do any tests, it's guaranteed entry into graduate medicine.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook