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Medical physics master’s degree program seeking applicants for fall 2020

November 25, 2019 - By Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico School of Engineering’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, in partnership with the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology, is jointly offering a master of science degree in nuclear engineering with a concentration in medical physics.

The program is ideal for students who are interested in combining principles of physics in the field of medicine and improving healthcare while working in a clinical environment.

The program is jointly administered by the Department of Radiology within the School of Medicine and Nuclear Engineering within the School of Engineering. The curriculum covers diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine. The courses are taught by medical physicists and nuclear engineering faculty.

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) website has a comprehensive description of medical physics.

Dr. Reed Selwyn, program director of the UNM medical physics graduate program, said that the degree is especially well-suited for physics majors, since several upper-level physics courses are required for admission into the program.

Those students in subjects such as nuclear engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical and biological engineering are also good fits for the program, but Selwyn said that students should carefully check the requirements and work with their academic advisor to make sure they have the required physics prerequisites for the program, which should be equivalent to a minor in physics.

The program began in 2006, and since 2009, it has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Program (CAMPEP). From its inception in 2006 through 2017, 25 students have graduated from the program.

The curriculum for the program includes 36 credit hours and does not have a thesis option. Upon graduation, students also have the opportunity to participate in a residency program at UNM.

In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in physics, or a degree in engineering or allied science with a minor in physics (or equivalent of a minor in physics)
    • A two-semester calculus-based introductory physics course (6 credits total)
    • One year of differential and integral calculus
    • Three upper-division physics courses (3 credits each)
      • Commonly-approved courses include electricity and magnetism (PHYC 405), atomic physics, modern physics (PHYC 330), quantum mechanics, optics (PHYS 302), nuclear physics, heat and thermodynamics (PHYC 301), and advanced mechanics (PHYC 303)
  • Highly-recommended coursework, but not required: a survey course in general biology, human biology or mammalian physiology and one year of general chemistry and laboratory
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 with a particular focus on physics and math performance
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • General GRE scores (Physics GRE is not required by may help with assistantships)
  • Letter of intent

Students who are superbly qualified may possibly pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering.

For additional information or to apply, visit the application website.

For domestic applicants, fall semester priority deadline is March 1, 2020, and for international applicants, the deadline is Jan. 1, 2020.