I am currently a Junior pursing my BS in Engineering Physics and am contemplating my options for what to do after I graduate. I am interested in pursing a graduate degree in medical physics, but I don't know if I want to do a PhD or masters yet. So far I am going to be doing some directed research with a professor but won't expect much more than a conference presentation and/or maybe a small publication, have a 3.5 physics/overall, can expect a GRE of 1300 (took the powerprep without practice and got 1260, so I figure above 1300 is a reasonable bet), but I have no idea what to expect on the PGRE. This summer I will probably do an REU in a related field, unless someone has a great idea for what would be better.
I am wondering what my options are...
I could potentially do a masters of BME at my current school (Rose-Hulman) which would be nice since it would be relatively cheap, would give me some experience with a thesis and some research, and (P)GRE's aren't required for admission. This would let me figure out a bit more if I like research and would allow me to increase my chances for admission to MP programs, but I really don't care for the town and would like a change of pace.
I could apply straight out to another masters program (likely medical physics if I am bothering to apply for a masters at another school), and then if I decided I wanted a PhD I could continue on to do that afterward. This would be much more competitive, more costly, but potentially more useful. I am not sure how many programs allow simple transfers from an MS to PhD.
Are there any other options? Are there any year long research programs? I've seen postbac's, but those seem to be geared primarily towards people who weren't premed and are pursing med school. Since medical physics is semi-multidisciplinary field, finding research opportunities is less obvious to me. I don't really have interest in traveling the world (at the moment) since I was abroad for a few months last year.
Any ideas? Thanks for the help.