Medical Physics Graduate Program

Medical Physics is an applied branch of physics concerned with the applications of physical energy to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Professional Medical Physicists are involved in clinical service and consultation, research, and teaching. As a result, the Medical Physics program is closely allied with biophysics, bioengineering, medical schools, and health physics (radiation protection and control).

Medical Physics is a CAMPEP accredited program.


Research Opportunities or Research Focus

  • MRI and MRS in Diagnosis of Neurotoxicity and Radiation Response
  • Neutron and X-ray Technologies for Human Body Composition, Disease Diagnose, and Radiotherapy
  • Imaging and Tracer Development in PET and SPECT
  • Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Imaging (CT, PCT) and Thermoacoustic in Image Guided Therapy
  • IMRT and Normal Tissue Response to Radiation Therapy

Degree Paths

All graduate students in Medical Physics work through the core medical physics courses, then follow one of two specialized tracks: Therapeutic Radiological Physics or Diagnostic (imaging) Radiological Physics. Students also choose from elective courses to complete their plan of study. In each track, there are three possible degrees — a non-thesis (coursework) M.S. degree, a thesis-based M.S. degree, and a Ph.D. degree.

Sample Plan of Study

Radiological Health Pre-Med Physics (RHMP) 4 + 1 Graduate Program

Students that successfully complete the RHMP Pre-Medical Physics program are eligible to apply for entry into the School of Health Science's accelerated (1 year) M.S. or a Ph.D. in Medical Physics.

Completion of the undergraduate "Pre-Medical Physics" Radiological Health major at Purdue University is required.  This program is for academically outstanding students who have excelled in the RHMP program and who are looking for a "fast track" for earning their Master of Science degree.

History of the Program in HSCI

In 1955, Professor Christian established the Radiological and Environmental Management (REM; 1955) and the Bionucleonics Department (1959) for the medical and radiopharmaceutical uses of radioisotopes, which expanded upon his pioneering research in the application of radioactive isotopes in the field of pharmaceutical sciences (1936-1942). This new field of research ultimately led to the inception of programs in Health Physics, Nuclear Physics, Pharmaceutical Research, and ultimately Medical Physics, and the formation of the School of Health Sciences (1979).

In 1990 a formal agreement established a graduate program between the School of Health Sciences, Purdue University, and the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM), Departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Indiana University. Faculty from both institutions contributed to teaching and student mentoring, although the administrative functions of the program were all performed within the School of Health Sciences at Purdue University. From 1990 to 2000, the program grew under the joint leadership of Drs. Ziemer and Sandison. Dr. Sandison became the Head of Health Sciences in 2000. In 2011 it was determined that a more fully integrated medical physics graduate program between Purdue University and Indiana University would provide the best educational experience for our students. At that time a fully integrated leadership model was developed with Dr. Gary Hutchins serving as the overall director for the program and Drs. Colleen DesRosiers and Keith Stantz serving as associate program directors as representatives from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences leading the academic and clinical components of the program. The program received initial CAMPEP accreditation for calendar years 2012-2014 under this leadership model, and remains accredited today.

Purdue University, School of Health Sciences, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-1419, Fax: (765) 496-1377

© 2016 Purdue University| An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by HSCI

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact