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 Post subject: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:46 am 
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I am planning on applying to grad school this fall. I am sending my app out only to medical physics programs.

I have a list of 9 or 10 of them that I think I would consider attending, but I am wondering if any current students have inside opinions on their programs.

It's hard to really find much out since it is such a niche field. My undergraduate advisor doesn't know anything about it


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Must be talking to me.

Personally, I think the program I'm in sucks from a teaching angle. The researchers are all known in the field, highly productive, and innovative, but I find the program extremely demanding and disorganized.

First of all, for some reason most medical physics programs say that a physics baccalaureate degree is the best preparation. This is not true. Your physics background prepares you for physics graduate school, but medical physics is a different animal. You will not apply quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, classical mechanics, optics, or any of the other branches of physics to what you do in medical physics. In fact, the first three semesters of college physics would probably be sufficient for anyone planning to go into medical physics.

The best preparation would really be a combination of electrical or biomedical engineering and physics with some biology, chemistry, and anatomy thrown in for good measure. This is because much of the research in medical physics involves research in imaging or radiation therapy, where you will deal with the properties of imaging systems and the interactions of radiation with matter. You will not be familiar with many of the concepts, which means you'll have to spend a lot of time absorbing ideas that were not part of your physics background. For instance, electrical engineers dealing with signal processing will be familiar with concepts such as LTI and LSI systems, filtering, point-spread functions, FFTs, and other things that are important to the description of medical imaging systems. As a physics undergraduate you probably will have not seen these things and first exposure to them at the graduate level can be trying. In fact, I find it hard to believe that so many medical physicists are involved in imaging at all, given that biomedical engineers receive roughly equivalent (if not better) training in it as undergraduates. You will probably be handed, on a silver platter, equations for things like the cross-section for photoelectric interactions as a function of energy or Z or something like that. In a physics class you would derive this from basic physics concepts (QFT might be required here), but in medical physics you are expected to simply memorize and use it.

As an insider, I can tell you that medical physics is a whole 'nother ball game. I found that physics was a concept driven field. Medical physics is a fact driven field. In physics you could go along way just knowing that momentum is always conserved. In medical physics I find you're expected to memorize a lot more facts, so that learning has become much more rote. There are really no general principles that guide you through the different parts of the field, whereas in physics you always have a set of principles that you can apply in different contexts and classes. Personally, I find this very frustrating, and it makes it very difficult to learn from professors who have encyclopedic knowledge of their subject but have no concepts to connect disparate material.

Part of the problem is that it's hard for undergraduates to determine whether or not they have a genuine interest in this field because most, if not all, of the training takes place at the graduate level. I chose the field because I though it offered more career opportunities than pure physics, and it does. I wanted to apply my knowledge of physics to an area where I could make a respectable living, but that is not the case. When I graduate I'll probably make decent money, but it will be at the expense of being more engineer than physicist. I find that a lot of successful people in the program have engineering backgrounds in addition to physics.

To summarize, don't expect great things out of a medical physics program. There is tons of variation even among the CAMPEP accredited programs (and if you do apply, I suggest you apply to those). The field isn't very well defined to begin with. If you want to go into radiation therapy, as most medical physicists in training do, you're probably fine anywhere you go. If you want to go into imaging, I'd urge you to consider biomedical engineering over medical physics. Chances are you'll get superior training in that field.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Very nicely written twistor and very honest! Thank you for the post, I have already finished grad school, but I kept contemplating about med. physics.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:01 am 
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Having graduated from a CAMPEP accredited school with a non-physics background (and what Physics I did take was 10 years ago as an undergrad).
I was very behind at the beginning of the program. My grades suffered as a result. I wish that I would have taken a Modern Physics book and read through it before starting the program. Oh well, I made it I guess.

Twistor makes many valid points in his post. However, I wanted to add (or perhaps correct) one aspect of his post.

This past year, the ABR (http://www.theabr.org) who accredits Medical Physicist through their 3 part board certification process (and you really do need to become accredited - so don't think that this is an option) mandates a few things...
1) Beginning in 2012, in order to take Part I of the exam (and if you have taken Part I, then you are "grandfathered in" for the rest of the exam) you must have graduated from a CAMPEP accredited program (http://www.campep.org).
2) Beginning in 2014, to take Part I of the exam (and again, once you take Part I you are pretty much clear to take the rest of the exam), you will have to had completed a 2 (or 3?) year residency program to take the exam.
3) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this year they have really started to crack down on students applying for Part I of the boards who do not have a B.S. in Physics or the equivalent of a minor in Physics. They are looking for at least a few upper level (read: calculus based) physics courses. So those courses that Twistor says don't matter (Quantum, statistical, classical) do matter (though I agree with Twistor that in the field you don't use them). Take a look at this:
http://www.campep.org/documents/Webpageupdateonrequirements09.04.29.doc

Also, I encourage you to go to the Yahoo group for people starting the ABR process:
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/medphysboardpreparation/

You will read (look for messages in May - June) about students who do not have the necessary physics background getting denied (even though they are currently working in the field, graduated from a CAMPEP accredited program, etc), and told to take more classes such as:

Modern Physics (or Quantum Mechanics)
Electricity and Magnetism
Mechanics
Atomic Physics
Statistical Mechanics

I am in this position... and I do believe that I think it might end my career as I can't really take off in the middle of the day to take upper level physics courses at a university that is not at all close by.
I hope that this information helps someone.


Last edited by sloguy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:35 pm 
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I completely agree with the previous post by twister. I'm currently in a CAMPEP-accredited graduate program in a school which also has a pretty well-known physics/astronomy department (which is completely separate from the medical physics department). I find the program highly disorganized and unchallenging. I think having any bachelors degree in science/engineering would be overkill for this program (even though its required). I'm not a physics or math whiz by any stretch, but I was shocked as to how easy the medical physics textbooks/courses were. The equations aren't derived, and most of the profs here actually taught using simple powerpoint slides instead of deriving equations on the board. Most of my classes didn't even require calculus; the ones that did forced me to use an integral every now and then. The final exams were a joke as well. I should mention that my program is within the medical school of the university; things might be different if it was within the science/engineering schools.

I came to grad school partially because I enjoyed the challenge of a tough class; needless to say, I was dissappointed. A lot of the profs here don't have a physics background (they might have an engineering, chemistry, etc. background which are equally useful). Medical physics doesn't provide the same mathematical or conceptual challenges that physics does. I wish I had known that before I entered. In short, if you like physics and math, don't go into medical physics.

However, if you really do want to practice as a medical physicist, you will have to go to a CAMPEP-accredited program; this was not true in the past, but things have slowly become standardized in more recent years. Getting a degree in biomechanical engineering, etc. won't slide anymore. As long as you have some science/engineering background, you'll be fine as far as being able to handle the coursework. The topic itself really isn't that demanding. Just about everyone entering it will have some holes to fill, but it won't be too bad.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:37 pm 
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I'd like to comment on the previous two posts and clarify my own earlier post.

First, I wasn't saying that biomedical engineering would get you into the field of medical physics. What I meant was that I would consider training in biomedical engineering to be superior to training in physics for one seeking a career in medical physics, actual prerequisite training non-withstanding.

I want to add is that my experience in clinical medical physics is that it's a very mundane field. You will be doing rote tasks like quality assurance by making measurements on phantoms. I'm not sure why you need a Ph.d. to do this other than it probably makes some administrator somewhere feel more comfortable paying you $80,000 a year. The calculations for the treatment plans are all done by software and you need only a rudimentary knowledge of how they work. A lot of clinical research actually involves finding better ways to calculate dose. There's no new physics here, just new programming. Also, the medical physicists I've met that work in the clinic are all very starchy, uptight people. They've read a lot of papers, memorized a lot of facts, but they are not physicists. They have no passion for their work and because of that they're very boring to hear.

I, too, have experienced the dreaded Power Point lectures. I used to love going to class to see what interesting things we would learn about. Class was always building up to something, like how when you were taking E&M and near the end you put together everything you learn to have a complete understanding of Maxwell's equations. Classes aren't like that anymore. There's lots of pretty pictures of prostate CTs along with boring facts about the machine that generated them. There's no physics in sight, just a bunch of bullshit about how the images were reconstructed from the raw data. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I think the only reason physics is required is because medical physicists want to keep the field as insular as possible. Though other disciplines would do just as well, they will not admit it because they don't want the competition.

Going into medical physics is a compromise. You start in physics because you love the field and you switch to medical physics because you don't want to be poor for most of your adult life.

P.S.

Also, it is my current understanding that ABR exams are a clinical prerequisite. I know you can take them for imaging, but I don't think it would be required to be a researcher in that field.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Twistor: $80k with a PhD?!?! That would be woefully underpaid. :D
I make $110k with a Master's and ~3 years of experience...
And I am not a true (trained) physicist, and I am not a genius, but I do work hard!
check out the AAPM Salary survey (which I am sure you already know about).


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:51 am 
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If you look at the AIP salary statistics for physics PhD's, medical physicists are the highest paid, with something like $150k/year on average.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:41 am 
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I usually don't post here due to my embarrassing writing skill but after reading previous posts I'm again encouraged to give my two cents. I'm also attending one of the CAMPEP accredited medical physics program. My school isn't the schools that were mentioned by earlier posters. So hearing from students from other institutions assured me of two things. Learning medical physics isn't anything like learning physics. All of my classes were taught using power point slides and most of them were more like seminars than a typical college class. I couldn't agree more with previous posts that said the advanced physics courses are not needed to ace the courses. With right mind and attitude (not the same mind and attitude you needed for you QM classes) almost any engineering/science major background would be an over qualification. I used to thought this is so because of the fact that my own institution is based in hospital than a typical university. Like twistor said, being a medical physicist at hospital isn't anything like being a physicist. In fact, I'm not even sure if what they do in clinics can be called engineering equivalent work. Typical clinical medical physicist's duty involves routine chart checking and QA and there's nothing 'engineering' about that. I heard medical residents calling the physicist PTA. Physician's Technical Assistance. But I'm here knowing all that and I still think its a good lucrative carrier for a guy like me who are not cut out to become a nobel winning physicist. But sometimes it bothers me to think there are many out there who's applying to medical physics programs without knowing what it really is. Medical physicist (faculties and students included) like to be muted when it comes to discussing true nature of their work and training. Anyone who's thinking about following this carrier path and reading the posts here are now officially warned.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:15 am 
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I agree with you, hchemist.

I think part of the problem is intentional misrepresentation of the field by universities that offer programs. Many say that the best qualification is a physics degree. However, the hardest parts of the program for me have involved catching up on a lot of things that are taught in engineering classes and are important in studying medical physics. As a physics major I had no previous exposure to these concepts, so when professors started throwing around terms like "power spectra", "LTI" and "duty factor" I had no *** clue what they were talking about it (even after they explained it, because they're explainations lacked depth). Learning this stuff on the fly is like trying to learn a complicated math subject by reading about it in an appendix in a book. Sure, all the formulas are there, but you will not really get much out of it unless you have been previously exposed to the subject and just need a quick refresher.

That being said, I'm not quite ready to criticize medical physics as a field. I think that if you draw a line between what happens in the clinic and what happens in the lab then there really is some good research going on, even if it not on par with pure physics research. Yes, a lot of clinical duties are boring and repetitive and it's very hard not to think of the clinical medical physicist as more than a glorified technician. I mean, they try to drill a lot of facts into your head in graduate school about how to calculate dose and what different cavity theories mean, but in practice all the data is plugged into treatment planning software and it does everything for you. And this isn't even done by the physicist, it's done by a dosimitrist who probably makes 1/4 of what the physicist makes. So the physicist oversees all this, does yearly calibrations on machines, daily QA, and a few other tasks but mostly they can be done without any deep understanding of physics.

At the research level there are some cool things happening and in some of them you really do need to have a strong grasp of the underlying physics. However, the sad part is you won't get this from a medical physics program because none of them are designed to teach it. You'll have to pick it up on the fly while working on your degree. This will probably involve taking physics courses related to it (such as QM for studying MRI, or solid state physics if your doing something with detectors) and consulting outside sources. But the good news is that there's a lot of room for original ideas and new developments, so your not confined to performing a few clinical tasks as a clinician would. From my experience though, the actual number of research areas in medical physics where physics is an integral part are few. For instance, there is a lot of research going on to find better ways to perform image reconstruction in CT images. Now, the basic physics behind CT hasn't changed since it's inception. What has changed are the algorithms used to take the data from the CT scanner and use it to produce an image. So even though this is considered an active area of medical physics research, it's really more mathematical than anything. With just a few tidbits of physics knowledge and lot of math you can be well on your way to solving these types of problems. Another area of research is radiation dosimetry. Finding more accurate ways to measure dose really just means running a shitload of Monte Carlo simulations. And then there's computer aided diagnosis, which is arguably more computer science than medical physics. This is an area of medical physics research that involves absolutely NO physics whatsoever. However, it's becoming quite popular and garnering a lot of interest from radiologists because it can improve detection of lesions and help radiologists classify them as benign/malignant. All it involves is statistical and feature analysis of radiographic images; if you have a background in image processing (i.e. your background is in engineering/computer science) then you already have all the tools you need to do this -- no physics required. These are the areas I'm referring to when I say engineering would be more helpful than physics. The areas where you do need physics knowledge usually relate to MRI/EPR and ultrasound. There are other imaging modalities, like OCT, that involve other fields physics like optics and such, but I don't know of any medical physics program that actually teaches/researches them so if one wants exposure to them one should probably look at biomedical engineering programs.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:10 pm 
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Right, research topics in medical physics are interesting and exciting but a significant portion of them are happening not through the medical physics program, or at least not through your medical graduate training. CAMPEP accredited medical physics program is designed to grow clinical medical physicists. Anyone with serious interests towards research areas that was mentioned in previous post by twistor would be better off considering their academic path through research based engineering departments. I think nuclear or electrical engineering would suit better than biomedical engineering though. Of course, it is still possible to do those research through CAMPEP programs. But in my personal opinion ( extremely personal opinion at that), many serious researchers of medical physics come from non-medical physics education background. But I'm not saying people from CAMPEP program can't become a researcher or anything. But typical research work given to those clinical physicist are merely 'mouse-clicking' than creating a new methods or technologies.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:59 am 
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These replies have all been really helpful, if not also a bit disheartening. Based on what I have read on the websites of all these schools, I have been really excited about applying to these programs. However, the reason I chose physics as an undergraduate field is the same you all have - it encourages the development of knowledge from fundamentals and rewards cleverness before memorization.

Now I am really starting to wonder if Medical Physics makes any sense for me. Perhaps it is too new and not well defined yet. It seems like no one has anything positive to say at all (except for the earning potential). Has anyone had a positive experience? I really don't want to sell my soul for money. I thought I would be doing something more rewarding by entering medicine.

One more thing... are you guys who posted willing to share which program you are/were in?


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:16 am 
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I won't say what program I'm in because I want to remain anonymous. However, based on the above answers you can pretty much bet they're all very similar.

As for positive experiences, I'm really excited about the research I'm going to be doing. There is a sense of reward knowing the research you do may benefit someone in your own lifetime. I'm guessing string theorists don't have that feeling. I get work with some really smart people and expand my field of knowledge into areas I wouldn't have encountered in pure physics. Surely that's worth something.

About selling your soul for money: it's really a compromise. If your passion is some other field, but the job outlook is pessimistic at best (high-energy theory or some niche field) and you want to stay in the field you study, then I think medical physics is a good compromise. You'll get to work in the field, get paid decently for it, have some connection to physics and be able to build a stable life earlier. Ultimately it's a very individual decision and I can't really offer any advice other than to say you have to weigh what you're passionate about against your prospects of being able to do that for a living and come up with a solution that works for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:33 am 
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Well thanks again, I have had a hard time finding detailed information about any medical physics program. What I've heard in this forum has been incredibly helpful.

While I finally have knowledgeable people here, I have one more question.

I keep hearing about how the selectivity of all the medical physics programs is sky rocketing, and so I really have no idea how safe I am applying to say, 8 or 9 CAMPEP accredited programs. Can I consider any of them "safety schools," or are they all a reach? I really have to get into at least ONE program. I don't have much of a backup plan. I won't be disappointed as long as I get into one, but if I don't do that I'll really be kind of lost.

My profile is as follows

School: Cornell
gpa: 3.8 (overall)/3.9 (physics/math)
GRE: 620/800/5.5 (verbal/quant/analytical writing)
PGRE: (Expecting around 850 based on practices)

I have 2 summers research experience with a very small unknown nanotech business, and a few semesters plus a summer researching in biophysics. I have 2 recommenders who know me well and like me a lot and a third who doesn't know me that well. I don't think any of them are incredibly well known.

I don't have any awards or publications

I want to apply to

Duke, UCLA, UChicago, UWisc, Vanderbilt, UPenn, Columbia, UF, and UT Houston

Thanks again so much for all of your help.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Based on your profile I'd say you have a good shot at all the schools you want to apply at (which I think is most of the CAMPEP accredited US schools). Because there are so few schools nationwide I don't think you can consider any of them safeties. If you want safety schools you should apply to pure physics programs as well. You might also consider applying to programs that aren't yet CAMPEP accredited, such as Purdue. If I remember right Purdue has a relatively late deadline (in May I think-- check this to makes sure) so you can still apply there even if you get rejected from other programs.

It's hard to say what your chances at any given school are. I know some schools like Wisconsin admit quite a few people every year (~30 or so) while other schools have very small programs (Chicago admits something like 5 or 6/year). I also know that some some schools (e.g. Duke) require you to interview for your spot.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:11 am 
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Just out of curiosity, what is the importance of attending a CAMPEP grad program when a CAMPEP residency will be the requirement by the time we all graduate? Wouldn't it be sufficient just to do your grad degree in something you're interested in, and then do a CAMPEP residency when it comes time to specialize in Med Physics?

Another quick question: how much of the medical physics curriculum can you pick up in residency? Is it feasible to acquire the requisite knowledge to practice clinically in a two year residency without ever having taken medical physics classes in grad school? It doesn't strike me as being a completely vertical subject - such as traditional physics - where taking 4 years of undergrad classes in the subject would be absolutely essential for studying the more advanced topics.

Another thing I heard is that the CAMPEP residencies generally have way more applicants than spaces, and that the number of trained physicists from CAMPEP residencies is vastly insufficient to fill the vacant jobs. While I can understand the importance of standardizing education - especially for a clinical setting - it seems a little silly to enforce the CAMPEP residency requirement given the numbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:13 am 
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techodestructo wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what is the importance of attending a CAMPEP grad program when a CAMPEP residency will be the requirement by the time we all graduate? Wouldn't it be sufficient just to do your grad degree in something you're interested in, and then do a CAMPEP residency when it comes time to specialize in Med Physics?


sloguy has done an excellent job answering this. Scroll up and read his answer.

techodestructo wrote:
Another quick question: how much of the medical physics curriculum can you pick up in residency? Is it feasible to acquire the requisite knowledge to practice clinically in a two year residency without ever having taken medical physics classes in grad school? It doesn't strike me as being a completely vertical subject - such as traditional physics - where taking 4 years of undergrad classes in the subject would be absolutely essential for studying the more advanced topics.


You are right. I have worked with clinical residents that came from pure physics backgrounds (come to think of it, they all did...). A lot of what you need to know for clinical position can be gained by working in the clinic. However, they were also required to complete graduate courses in the department to fill in gaps in their knowledge. A medical physics degree provides the specialized knowledge one needs to perform research in the field of medical physics.

techodestructo wrote:
Another thing I heard is that the CAMPEP residencies generally have way more applicants than spaces, and that the number of trained physicists from CAMPEP residencies is vastly insufficient to fill the vacant jobs. While I can understand the importance of standardizing education - especially for a clinical setting - it seems a little silly to enforce the CAMPEP residency requirement given the numbers.


I believe what you are saying here is true. AAPM has some say over the number of clinical residencies and I believe there is some issue with funding residents. However, my sources tell me that they are going to try to expand the number of residencies in the next few years. We will have to wait and see if this pans out.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:11 am 
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dsr39 wrote:
<snip>
I want to apply to

Duke, UCLA, UChicago, UWisc, Vanderbilt, UPenn, Columbia, UF, and UT Houston
<snip>


All of these schools are great, with the following exceptions:
- Columbia; isn't the best program (nearly zero clinical work) but you get out of there in 1.5 years! Really, it's only 1 year of classwork, and an extra semester of after-hours, once a week, practicum.
- when I was applying to schools, several program directors said to stay away from UCLA as they were going through some turmoil and staff changes. I'm not sure what the latest is from there.
- I was talking to a Physicist from Milwaukee who said he hired a couple of UWisc grads and that they were terrible clinical physicists (they had no time in the clinic when they were in school). To further this claim, I am friendly with Wolfgang Tome (high-up clinical Medical Physicist at UofWisc) and he said that the grads never come down to the clinic (this was 4 years ago).


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:43 pm 
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I wouldn't worry too much about what school you should go, just apply all or at least most CAMPEP schools. As far as I know, most of these school will have you visit there before you decide. You can get there and find out everything about the program and decide on your own.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:01 pm 
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So has anyone out in cyberland had a good experience in a medical physics program? So far it seems we have a unanimous opinion that the only advantage of this field is the salary. I've yet to have an outstanding professor in medical physics -- you know the kind I'm talking about. The kind that inspire you to dream about possibilities, the kind that radiate knowledge, that inspire you to work harder because there is so much to know. I've had a few math and physics teachers like that in my life. After a year of medical physics I've encountered just about all of the faculty and none of them have been an inspiration. I wonder if they really know anything at all about the subjects they're supposed to be teaching -- I get the feeling you can do research in this field with only a limited scope of expertise. Professors have a very narrow viewpoint and don't understand a lot of the physics.

Example:

For those of you that remember modern physics, bremsstrahlung is the process of inelastic scatter of electrons in a nuclear Couloumb wherein photons are released. This was presented to us as a semi-magical process by which electrons suddenly emit photons that come from nowhere. My instructor did not have a better explanation for it than that, so I did research on my own. Turns out the answer comes from QFT, specifically the Weissacker-Williams virtual photon picture which describes the bremsstrahlung process as the scattering of electrons off of virtual photons. When asked to describe bremsstrahlung on a recent exam this was the answer I put. Points were deducted because "this is not a good way to think about this process," even though we never taught ANY way in which to think about the process other than the spontaneous emission of a photon that happens for no reason. Now, obviously the examiner doesn't know what he's talking about, as I have actual physics books (not shitty medical physics books) that describe the process and how it's calculated. I know that my answer is right but apparently being objectively correct in the field of medical physics is not as important as regurgitating PowerPoint slides -- a bit of politics that was largely absent from pure physics programs. Had I simply put that electrons emit photons when they get too close to the nuclear (as other students did) I would have gotten this right. Talk about horseshit grading. This has been the trend in all of my classes and it is infuriating.

So if anyone out there, anyone at all, has a great experience in a medical physics program I would like to know about it. I think we all would, because right now the only thing keeping me from switching to a masters degree in order to complete this *** program early is the promise of a larger salary with a Ph.d. And even with the enticement of a larger salary, I'm still considering the masters....


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Twistor-
Even though my situation is unique - I felt very challenged in my MP program. Granted, it had been ~10 years since my non-Physics undergrad, but I found the program extremely challenging. That said, some very intelligent Physics' students (who left other PhD programs early to get their MS in MP or who just came out of an undergrad MP program) felt that overall the program was easy, and were only concerned with the amount of work in our particular program.

So to each their own. But I don't think the Physics GRE forum is my target crowd... so I'm guessing most students wil be like you, and find the program unchallening. However, it can be be a rewarding career once you get out of school (and good luck finding a job with less than 3 years experience!!!)


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:44 pm 
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Ironic...

You can't get a job without experience. How do you get experience unless you have a job?

I should've been an engineer.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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twistor wrote:
bremsstrahlung is the process of inelastic scatter of electrons in a nuclear Couloumb wherein photons are released. This was presented to us as a semi-magical process by which electrons suddenly emit photons that come from nowhere.
Yep, that's undergrad physics in a nutshell.

Just like in Bragg diffraction, where we're taught in modern physics that X-rays magically reflect off the lattice planes in a crystal... as if the imaginary lines connecting the atom centers were real. Of course, you could check Kittel's Solid State for a more rigorous derivation based on dipole scattering of the initial wave from the lattice atoms... but after trying to read that book, you'll find that you just don't care anymore...


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am 
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quizivex wrote:
twistor wrote:
bremsstrahlung is the process of inelastic scatter of electrons in a nuclear Couloumb wherein photons are released. This was presented to us as a semi-magical process by which electrons suddenly emit photons that come from nowhere.
Yep, that's undergrad physics in a nutshell.

Just like in Bragg diffraction, where we're taught in modern physics that X-rays magically reflect off the lattice planes in a crystal... as if the imaginary lines connecting the atom centers were real. Of course, you could check Kittel's Solid State for a more rigorous derivation based on dipole scattering of the initial wave from the lattice atoms... but after trying to read that book, you'll find that you just don't care anymore.
[quote="quizivex"]

But this is graduate education. I expect more. And the problem is that I actually do care to learn the physics beyond the limited scope related to my research. But I'm essentially taking graduate medical physics courses with professors who terminated their study of physics at the undergraduate level in order to pursue medical physics.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:28 pm 
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Just a caveat to you prospective medical physics students:

Twistor is one of the more negative posters on a board for physics PhD students, one of the most generally overworked, underpaid and disgruntled groups around! If you want to hear some positive takes on what an MP can do for you, I suggest looking to mid-career professionals. $$ + an interesting job + helping folks = a pretty rare combination.

Disclaimer: I don't know *** about medical physics, only about physicists in general and this board in particular. :)

G'luck!


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 Post subject: Help!!!Concerns about medical physics program
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:10 pm 
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Hi,everyone.
I'm an undergraduate who wants to continue my study in medical physics in graduate school. I like this field because it seems to be a combination of education,research and clinical experience. You can enjoy different kinds of things on this subject. But yesterday I've met a guy who told me that it is not true since most medical physicist would have to work more than 60 hours :shock: a week and they have to be on call on weekends too. It is unrealistic and impossible for them to do something like research besides their clinical hours as they are too occupied with the latter. And he also mentioned that being medical physicsist is really harmful to the health and it is of high possibility for medical physicist to give birth to a child with retardness :shock: .He also said that today it is really difficult for a native medical physics student to find a job after graduation because this field is so saturated...... I'm an international student and I think if it is the case, it will be like impossible for me to get a job......
I've been really shocked by the conversation and I'm really worried about if it is a good choice for me to get into this field. Can anyone inside the field tell me if it is really like what is described above?I'm really worried about my future...
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Help!!!Concerns about medical physics program
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:42 pm 
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I'm not sure what country you're from, but a lot of the information you got seems to me to be bogus. Regarding what it's like to be a medical physicist/student you can read the other threads on this forum. Generally a clinical medical physicist's clinical duties will supercede any research. Some research hospitals will have positions that are part research and part clinical, usually in a ratio like 60/40 with most of the time being spent on clinical work.

Medical physicists have one of the best job outlooks as far as careers in physics go. At least in the US this is true.

As for clinical physicists being exposed to radiation, this is generally not true in radiation oncology because you will not be in the room while the beam is on. In nuclear medicine you may be exposed to small amounts of radiation while preparing samples of radiopharmaceuticals, but this amount is very, very small. In the US there are strict guidelines governing the dose radiation workers can receive. These are even more strict for pregnant women, though it is not a legal requirement for a woman to declare that she is pregnant. Your dose will be monitored with a personell dosimeter so you will always be aware of your cumulative radiation dose.


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 Post subject: Re: Help!!!Concerns about medical physics program
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Thanks!I'm from China. It seems that what I was told was totally wrong except for the research thing...Kind of a relief :)


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:32 am 
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Sorry to hear about the gym, I used to work out at Columbia from 12-2, but only because that worked well with my personal schedule thus I never noticed the PE classes. Well, even when I was working out at other hours, they only take up part of the gym, right?

Any ways, you are only partly correct about why the classes are at night. The *main* reason they are at night is because most of the professors are clinical or have "real jobs" and can't come during the day. They generally work at MSKCC or Columbia-Presbyterian and getting to/from Columbia during the middle of the day is not practical. With the exception of Arbo and Meli (and Meli just retired a couple of years ago) this is how it is. If you want clinical professors who "walk the talk" you're going to have to put up with this.

The comp exam sucks. However, this past year's (August 2009) was much more fair than last year's. I finally passed it this year (last year they basically took the PhD qualifying exam and made it into the MS comprehensive exam - totally ridiculous). From other's I talked to (who took it this year and last year) this year was much easier. I would be surprised if the low pass rates you are referring to are from 2009 - more likely they are from 2008. though I can't be sure of this as I have not talked to professors in the know. Moreover, you want to pass the written exam on certain (very hard professors) so that you won't have to see them in the oral section of the comp exam. that's when you get roasted.

Sounds like you are kind of a pre-madonna with the night class thing. Yes, Arbo's labs are very late, and they will sometimes run until 1 or 2am. But look. you are basically done with the program in a year, and you can look for a job during the fall semester when you are doing your therapy practicum. by then your comp exam is over, and you are home free. Furthermore, you are being taught by professors from some of the best cancer centers in the US - and they actually have clinical duties in those centers! Lastly, you will come to loathe Arbo's labs, but come to love him as a mentor. He is a real advocate for the student - something that the program really lacks.

good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:58 am 
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It's good to know so many students share my sentiments.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Don't so easily discount the comp exam. Not passing means not having your degree - and it will not be easy to find a job when you don't have a degree. Especially at hospitals (perhaps private clinics will overlook that fact). Furthermore, since you have not graduated, the ABR will *not* count any time worked at a full-time MP job. The most they will give you is 6 months, because they give up to 6 months of "work experience" for time spent while you are a student. And you need 3 years of work experience before you can take Part II and III of the ABR Boards - so that is a big shitter when you don't have your degree - trust me. So the clock doesn't start ticking as far as the ABR is concerned until you get that almighty degree.

I am pretty sure that the first class who had to take it was the 2005 class (thus they took in in August 2006). I took it in August 2007, 2008, and finally 2009. =)

If you don't like taking classes at night, I wonder how you will like doing QA at night... (I'm still at work and it is 10:30 pm). Maybe this profession is not for you?!?!


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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ColumbiaMedPhys wrote:
On a further note, please don't try to evaluate my character and work ethic. I simply stated that I don't like taking night classes and that I learn better during day classes. This has nothing to do with the fact that I among most other people will have to work late some days and I will still do my best job reardless because I do have a good work ethic. There is a big difference in working late than taking night school. Your job is your job, grad classes are presenting entirely new concepts and connections. Lets keep this forum professional and stick to the topic, "Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?"


Lighten up a little!! all in good fun. You're just in a bad mood after Arbo's lab.... I know the feeling.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:40 am 
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I'm going to go ahead and put in a positive word for medical physics here. I won't keep my location a secret, either. I started grad school in medical physics here at UW-Madison last month, and while it might be too soon to give the complete story, I have enjoyed the experience so far.

Academically, the field of course is not as theoretically challenging as my undergrad in physics, but to a large extent I credit my undergrad institution for this rather than discrediting UW-Madison. I believe the science behind things is explained to a perfectly acceptable level. It is not just memorization as one might think, though it depends on the class. Just today, I had a fairly scintillating conversation with a professor about virtual particles. So especially at the research level, don't discredit the field's involvement in basic science. The group I am working with right now (I say "right now" because I am on a research rotation) is connected to faculty in nuclear engineering while other faculty members are tied to physics, for instance. So I like this interaction between departments.

I second the idea that engineering would be useful, but only in different ways than physics. When I work on problem sets with classmates, those of us with physics backgrounds excel at certain things while those with engineering backgrounds contribute more on other concepts. In the labs, there is a similar story. Different people are better at different things and each side is needed. It seems like programming ability, though, dominates more than your background field. It works out well, in my opinion.

The field is a great way to use physics for something you never thought you would as an undergrad. The career prospects are better than those in other fields of physics. Of course, jobs seem to be tough virtually everywhere these days.

Anyway, let me know if you have any more questions about the field from a less cynical newcomer before I am here long enough that I begin to change my tune!


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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Yes, 1 month is too early.

I'd like to know what you think a year from now.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:37 am 
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Haha, I knew that was coming. Look, don't dismiss my opinion entirely. Keep in mind that in the last month I've also talked with plenty of people who have been here for a while. Aside from the normal stress that is graduate school, I hear no complaints as to regretting going into med phys or anything. I feel like I should also point out that labs you take your first year are very beneficial as far as gaining understanding through hands on activity, especially in the nuclear medicine class, where the labs are with detectors/particle counting and all of the electronics which go with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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I never said I regretted it. I just wanted people to know that it is not everything it seems to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:14 pm 
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I am currently in a CAMPEP-accredited program, and will confess to not being satisfied at all. The program is a joke. It's hard to believe, but you can get a graduate degree in "physics" without having to do a single integral. Whenever I ask my professors a physics/math question, I'll get a blank response. As a simple example: "What is the Hamiltonian operator which describes the mechanism by which NMR (which is directly related to MR imaging) operates?" Professor's answer: "I don't know. You'll have to ask a physicist that." Another example: "How do you derive the equation for Compton scattering?" Professor's answer: "Only a 'quantum genius' would really know." The answers to both questions can be found in advanced undergraduate physics textbooks. Medical physicists know how to maintain machines, write algorithms, devise treatment plans, and do quality control, but don't know much about any deep physics. Some of them have never taken a graduate-level physics or math class. My "actual" physics professors were much more knowledgeable. A professor in physics/math/engineering can probably understand a medical physicist's work pretty easily, but not vice-versa. As one previous poster noted, a medical physicist is sort of a "glorified technician".

I've also taken classes in other programs (physics, EE, biomedical engineering, etc.) from a number of institutions. Some were good, some were not, but my medical physics program (which is in an institution that has a good physics program and is well-known nationally/internationally) was by far the easiest and least challenging, even compared to my undergraduate classes. Keep in mind that I am definitely not a physics genius or math prodigy. Most medical physics classes didn't have difficult problem sets, and rarely required any math. The final exams were open notes/books. Most students seemed to be given an 'A' or 'B' randomly. The qualifying exam was quite easy compared to colleagues in other disciplines.

Medical physics isn't exactly an exciting field. Many talks and journal articles are on topics like calibration, quality control, etc. Most real physicists (condensed matter, particle, astro, etc.) would not take this field seriously due to its lack of theoretical or mathematical rigor. Most doctors have never even heard of the field. In addition, AAPM (which is "the" official organization for medical physicists) is coming up with more and more regulations, but does not come up with a strong standard for the medical physics curriculum. In addition, the ABR test for medical physicists sounds like it is written by doctors, not physicists, etc.

In addition, the medical physics field is quite commercial compared to straight physics. There is no "astrophysics industry" per se, but there is definitely "radiation therapy industry" or "CT imaging industry", etc. As a result, a lot of the manufacturers do their own research, so even if you publish something really well-thought out, the business side of things might force people not to take notice or look the other way. Different manufacturers have different collaborations with various universities, so there is definitely a sense of competition (for profit) which may limit collaborations for research and development.

For prospective medical physics students, the best way to get a sense of the field is to look at the standard books used for the graduate level classes: The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging by Bushberg, Radiobiology for the Radiologist by Hall, Physics in Nuclear Medicine by Cherry, Introduction to Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry by Attix, etc. Except for the last one, all other books give few, if any equations. They do not derive anything. The book by Cherry actually gives a footnote on what an integral is (but does not use them). Books like these are more appropriate for radiological residents, but are way too simple-minded for those with a background in physics/math/engineering. Some my classes didn't even use textbooks; they used poorly-made power point slides to "teach".

Another piece of advice for prospective medical physics students: Don't go to an "interdepartmental program" or a program offered through "radiology", etc. "Interdepartmental" means that the professors have positions in other departments (not necessarily physics) which take priority. In other words, the "interdepartmental" medical physics program is just an after-thought. The education is definitely "diluted" compared to other programs.

Finally, for prospective medical physics students: Don't assume that just because a program has a certain research field (radiation therapy or CT imaging, for example) listed on their website that you, as a graduate student, will be able to do your research in that field. Don't ask the administrative assistant: "Can I do my Ph.D. in [whatever field]?" He/she won't really know, but will have to smile and say "oh yes". You have to ask the researchers themselves: "Do you have room, funding, and interest for incoming students to realistically do their Ph.D. in [whatever field]". If they do not give a definite "yes", it is because they are too embarrassed to say "we don't have the means or the funding." There is definitely some false advertising (on the part of institutions) when it comes to recruiting graduate students. My institution, for example, indicates that "radiation therapy" is an active area of research within the department. In reality, however, the "radiation therapy" group is not an option for a graduate student at all. It has been this way for the last 4-5 years, and probably will not change for the foreseeable future. Many of the current students don't want to "blow the whistle" due to fear of getting on the profs' bad sides. As with all fields, there is a lot of politics involved, so try to read between the lines.

In short:

You'll like medical physics if:

You don't like or don't care for difficult physics/math.
You don't want to take the physics GRE.
You want a stable career with job opportunities after graduating.
You want a stable, repetitive job in a clinical, consulting, or industrial setting which pays pretty well.

You will not like medical physics if:

You like the challenge of difficult physics/math.
You like learning, as opposed to memorizing.
You don't mind the extreme shortage of jobs available after graduating.

I hope this helps prospective students to decide, either way, whether or not they want to apply to medical physics programs.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:28 am 
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Quote:
It is blue collar work for white collar pay.

Also known as "engineering." It has its perks ;)

Feeling the need to bring balance to the Force. Here are some good points:

- You make a lot of money
- Your job is fairly low stress
- Your work doesn't follow you home
- You only have to work 8-10 hours per day (unlike 12+ for most physics PhDs)
- Your work will have a noticeable, positive impact on real people in your lifetime
- You're in school for under two years, rather than 5+
- You can get a job without doing 2-5 years of postdocs
- You don't have to worry about writing grant proposals
- You don't have to publish if you don't want to
- You get to work alongside sexy doctors and nurses
- ...it's easy?

Lighten up, eh?


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
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Hi everyone,

I just went through the entire thread and felt compelled to make an account so I would partake in the conversation.
I started a Medical Physics masters program from a CAMPEP accredited school. So for I'm very happy.

I can understand why not everyone would be happy though. It all depends on your motives for choosing Medical Physics. I finished my undergrad in Physics two years ago
and was completely fed up with physics. I had had a couple of years of research experience and discovered that I hated research.
So I didn't want to go to grad school in Physics. I decided to try my luck looking for a job. HA. I was unemployed for a year. I gave a lot of thought to what to do next.

I reached the conclusion that I liked the idea of working in a clinical setting (I had volunteered in a Hospital before and really like it). I also really value actually being able to get a job and being well paid for it. Call me shallow but I want to make a good living. I find the prospect of a pay cheque more rewarding than most things when it comes to considering a job.

I considered Medical School since along with all the things I mention above, I also really like biology, medicine, physiology, etc. But med school is hard to get into, you have to write letters, take the MCAT, blah, blah, blah. Too much effort for something you aren't even to sure about.

Medical Physics seemed like a good fit for me. It doesn't take a decade to finish and get a job, so at worst you can change careers again if you don't like it.
Anyhow, those were my motives for trying it and so far...I'm quite happy with it.

Yes, it's not like Physics, you dont derive things from first principles, etc. BUT, I dont necessarily want to derive things from first principles my whole life and feel like I'm doing something really interesting but utterly useless (this is how pure physics makes me feel. I find it exciting to learn things that are practical.

If you want to feel like you are contributing to society in an immediate way with your physics knowledge, then you might like the field as well.

Ok, enough of my rambling. I hope it helps someone.
Oh, and one more thing. Perhaps the program you enroll in really makes a difference in terms of teaching philosophy...
We have a pretty decent program. We do get taught things by deriving them. Someone mentioned they hadn't seen the derivation of compton scattering...
I actually have a prof. who wrote the book which derives it (rad. phys for medical physicists, i think).


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:58 pm 
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Thanks for your opinion, astronut.

I don't think seeing the Compton scattering equation derived was the issue. I don't have time to re-read the thread to find the post your are referring to, but I think it's fair to say most of us have seen the equation derived as undergraduates. What the poster was referring to, I'm sure, was the Compton cross-section which is a different thing altogether. As far as I know it can only be obtained from first principles using QFT. I don't know of any medical physics program that requires QFT.

The same is true for a number of other things we are expected to use but never derive. In fact, the whole field of radiation therapy seems to thrive on things that are commonly accepted but never in fact derived from anything. I'm of the opinion that you cannot really understand a result unless you know its derivation. If something is a postulate than that should be said. But I find it hard to believe an entire field would be made up entirely of postulates; some things must be theorems which can be derived from more basic results. You can't understand where a particular result is useful if you do not understand the assumptions underlying its derivation.

I'm not just complaining about seeing derivations here. I know there are solid justifications for the things I learn in class. My problem is that not only do I not learn them, my professors do not seem to know them either or even care.

If I had to summarize medical physics in one sentence it would be, "Medical images have noise, use Monte Carlo to figure out dose, learn the Fourier transform thoroughly, and shut the *** up!"


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:09 am
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Hi guys, I just read the whole thread so far, and I just wanted to say thanks a lot for your inputs,
right now I get the feeling that many of you took the wrong path, or some of you didn't choose the field for the benefit it gives.
since MP isn't like any others graduate physics programs (it does not even require the physics GRE, I guess you have to take it anyway).
the negative aspects explained earlier do not matter, I believe one chooses a career path based on the opportunities and the advantages it has to offer. I have been thinking about medical physics for the past two and so far I don't even think about a Plan B (that's bad I know...). you can work in a clinical environment, you can teach at the graduate level (I would love to), you can do research (if you're willing to properly document yourself and go where the research actually is), you can work in the industry (health physics specialties), regarding work/job prospect there is a lot to look for.
the pay is relatively good, which should be an interesting factor in anyone looking for a job/career imo.

so basically there are some cons and pros, but the cons apply if you don't really know why you chose that direction.
I will give a much more detailed answer next summer, I might get into an internship @Pro cure, or MRPI (please god help me :wink: )


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:24 pm
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I will be graduating from a CAMPEP accredited program in June 2010. As others have already said, it's not for everyone. Especially, when you are coming from pure physics background. It can be an unexpected change of pace. That being said, I found my program extremely rewarding. Most of my professors were inspiring and lectured mostly on a genuine black board. Derivations were common along with calculus and differential equations. I felt my physics BSc was helpful, especially when dealing with wave-guides, scattering, Larmor, atomic physics, and others. Theoretical foundation is important in MP however, I would say it's even more important to have strong experimental skills, since it is a more 'shut-up and measure' type of field due to statistical complexities of radiation interaction with matter. As for memorization, it was a key component in my program, but it is hard to avoid when joining a medical profession. It is important to be capable of clinical judgements without having to refer to a book. This is a consequence of the professional aspect of MP. Most of our memorizing was graphs, constants, and terminology. The class I'm in have backgrounds in biomedical engineering, biophysics, physics and even a guy with a Ph.D. in astrophysics. We all struggled through the program, and used each others strengths to survive. So there are programs out there that are challenging and do have great professors.

MP gets a bad rap for being a mundane, repetitive, type of work. It is all in how you look at it. It's not mundane when your measurements have a direct impact on whether or not the patient lives or dies. And its not repetitive when you are faced with unusual cases that could take weeks to validate. But again, it can be both mundane, and repetitive, it comes with the territory of following protocol required to most accurately deliver treatment. MP has also been branded as a 'glorified technician'. In reality all clinical professionals are technicians, even the radiation oncologists. Patient care is very organized and many choices are made on practical science. Technician or not there still is a great deal of experimenting to create the very best treatment plan for an individual patient. There are times when the physician or medical physicist have to think outside the box and this is why problem solving skills stemming from physics become so important and where the technician aspect is removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone in a Medical Physics program have an opinion on it?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:40 am 
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Hi guys, I figured I'd ask this question here rather than starting a new thread for it. Hopefully I'll get some responses!

I'm currently doing my MSc in Medical Physics at a CAMPEP accredited school in Canada. I'm hoping to do my Ph.D in the US, and was wondering if you guys could give me some info on which schools are more/less competitive to get into. I'm particularly interested in U of Florida, Duke, Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, U of Chicago, and U of Texas at San Antonio.

I haven't been able to find any admission statistics, other than for Duke which seems insanely competitive. Can anyone tell me which programs, if any, are generally easier to get into? I'm just curious whether I have a good shot at admission, or if I should stay north of the border.

Thanks!


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