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Jocelyn Bowie
Director, Communications and Marketing, IU College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2011

IU Bloomington recruiting underway for new Medical Physics master's degree

Aug. 29, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Physics have begun recruiting students for a new professional master's degree in medical physics. Successful applicants will begin classes in the fall of 2012.

Medical Physics

Susan Klein, director of the new MS program in medical physics at Indiana University Bloomington, examines the proton therapy energy selection system at IU Cyclotron Operations.

Print-Quality Photo

"Medical physics is the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease," said Susan B. Klein, director of the new program. Klein has a Ph.D. in biophysics from University of California Berkeley and did postdoctoral research in radiation oncology at University of Michigan Medical School. "The challenges facing the field of medical physics will demand that its innovators have the broad theoretical and research training that is possible only in a program like ours. We are preparing students for the future of medical physics."

The new program will provide a rigorous curriculum in physics, mathematics, chemistry and biomedical sciences, in addition to practical courses in the four primary areas of the medical physics practice: radiation therapy physics, diagnostic imaging physics, nuclear medicine and radiation protection physics. Besides providing a curriculum in clinical medical physics, this program will also emphasize research and development skills vital for establishing the next generation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. A professional master's degree is a terminal degree program that provides advanced training to prepare students to work in a particular professional field.

"Medical physics practitioners have expressed a desire for graduates with a solid grounding in physics in addition to the knowledge of medical imaging, X-rays, CT scanning and MRI's," said Physics Department chair Rick van Kooten. "This program addresses this need, and we are very excited about the opportunities for students -- the field is wide open and the careers are potentially quite lucrative."

The new program offers physics majors in the applied physics track the opportunity to complete the master's degree in one year beyond their four-year undergraduate degree. New master's students in the graduate program can expect to complete the degree in about five semesters.

Catherine Pilachowski, associate dean for graduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, "Physics plays an increasingly important role in healthcare as the technologies for imaging and radiation therapy advance in complexity. The new medical physics program at IU Bloomington not only serves this need, but also takes advantage of the strengths of the Bloomington campus."

The development of professional master's degree programs is of particular interest to the College of Arts and Sciences, according to Larry D. Singell Jr., dean of the college.

"One of my goals as dean is to foster and encourage the development of programs that serve both individual needs and the needs of the increasingly complex and interconnected world we all live in," Singell said. "I commend the faculty in the Physics Department for the care and attention they have given to the development of the medical physics master's program, and I congratulate them on launching their first recruiting season. I look forward to welcoming our first group of master's students next fall."

For more information please contact Jocelyn Bowie, director of communications and marketing, IU College of Arts and Sciences, at 812-855-5265 or