The radiological health sciences major is dedicated to advancing the biomedical, health and scientific uses of radiation while protecting individuals, communities and the environment from its harmful effects. This major also applies radiation to medicine to ensure the safe operation and maintenance of equipment that diagnoses and treats disease. There are two available concentrations in the major: health physics and pre-medical physics. Learn more about what is offered in each concentration in the “Concentrations” section below.
Note: Radiological health sciences at Purdue is not to be confused with training to become radiation or radiological technologists, which are medical personnel who perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments. Radiation technologists pursue a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree.
- Health physicist
- Medical physicist
- Radiation safety officer
- Radiation safety specialist
- Imaging scientist
- Radiation scientist
Potential Areas of Advanced Study
- Medical physics
- Health physics
- Medical imaging
- Biomedical engineering
- Nuclear physics
- Nuclear engineering
- Radiological Health Pre-Med Physics (RHMP) 4+1 Graduate Program
- Participate in a simulated emergency drill involving radioactive materials in HSCI 31200 (Radiation Science Fundamentals) or at the Purdue research reactor.
- Learn from real-world experience at prominent industrial, academic and medical institutions.
- Work with faculty on independent research projects to apply radiation fundamentals in a variety of research labs, including at the Purdue MRI Facility on-campus.
- Participate in internships at a variety of companies and organizations.
- Meet and learn from your peers by joining the Health Physics Society, the Medical Physics Club of Purdue, or the Purdue Association for Magnetic Resonance.
Pre-Medical Physics Concentration
Students interested in the application of physics to medical imaging or radiation therapy should consider the pre-medical physics program. Medical physics is associated with the application of radiation physics in medicine at a clinic, hospital, private practice or university. It includes the fields of diagnostic imaging physics, medical health physics, nuclear medicine physics and radiation therapy physics. Practicing medical physicists must have a graduate degree from an accredited program. Purdue’s program includes an accelerated five-year (4+1) MS in Medical Physics and is CAMPEP accredited. It has had excellent success in placing graduates into well-paying jobs and residencies.View Complete List of Courses Degree Requirements
Health Sciences Physics Concentration
The radiation protection — or “health physics” — profession is devoted to protecting people and their environment from potential radiation hazards while also making it possible to enjoy the beneficial uses of radiation. Health physics involves many disciplines such as physics, biology, biophysics, engineering, chemistry, genetics, ecology, environmental sciences, metallurgy, meteorology, hydrology, medicine, physiology, toxicology and industrial hygiene. As a health physicist, you’ll evaluate the radiation environment using instruments and calculations and work with regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with radiation exposure standards.View Complete List of Courses Degree Requirements
“I initially wanted to travel a bit further from home for my college experience; however, when I visited Purdue, I felt very welcomed and comforted by the people on campus and the atmosphere of the school. I admired the strong focus on educational success and the wide variety of opportunities the school has to offer.”— Molly
Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana
Major: Radiological Health Sciences, Pre-Medical Physics concentration
Why Purdue: I initially wanted to travel a bit further from home for my college experience; however, when I visited Purdue, I felt very welcomed and comforted by the people on campus and the atmosphere of the school. I admired the strong focus on educational success and the wide variety of opportunities the school has to offer.
Favorite Place at Purdue: My favorite place to spend time at Purdue is the Purdue Memorial Union. It offers various places to study, grab a bite to eat and even go bowling with friends!
Advice to an Incoming Freshman: Take advantage of the opportunities you are given, whether it be joining a club or learning community that interests you, branching out and making friends with your classmates or going to weekly office hours. You will not regret getting involved and committing yourself to your own happiness and success!
Purdue’s Orientation Program/Boiler Gold Rush, Purdue’s Statistics Living Learning Community, Purdue Greek Life
What it is like to volunteer at Franciscan Health Hospital, which includes a link to apply.