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UT Department of Nuclear Engineering Unveils Medical Physics Program

Michael Howard

Beginning in fall 2019, the Department of Nuclear Engineering will offer both an MS and a Graduate Certificate in Medical Physics. The field is an applied branch of physics concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Medical physicists are a specialized category of physicists who work in radiotherapy, nuclear technology, or medical imaging.

Michael Howard, administrative director and chief medical physicist at Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, travels to Knoxville several times a week to teach a course for the new program and serve as its director.

Our program is unique in that we offer students increased hands-on time within the clinical environment. Medical physics students will participate in a variety of labs as well as a summer internship.”

—Michael Howard

“We have been holding off starting this new program until we developed relationships with local medical facilities that will provide our students with internships and our graduates with residency opportunities,” said Department Head Wes Hines. “Now, we have partnerships to ensure student success.”

The Medical Physics MS program is designed for undergraduate students in engineering, physics, or a closely related field who would like to become certified medical physicists and/or conduct research in medical physics. The Graduate Certificate program is designed for students who have already earned a PhD in a related field such as physics, nuclear engineering, biomedical engineering, or other closely related science or engineering discipline and who would like to become certified medical physicists and/or conduct research in the field.