Radiological Health Sciences Major

School of Health Sciences

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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.

Career Opportunities

  • Health physicist
  • Medical physicist
  • Radiation safety officer
  • Radiation safety specialist
  • Imaging scientist
  • Radiation scientist

Potential Areas of Advanced Study

Learning Experiences

  • 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.
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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.

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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.

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