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Master of Health Physics

  • Director of the Master of Health Physics Program S.Y. Chen (pictured left) at this year's National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting with Joe Klinger, deputy director of Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and Charlie Miller, retired chief of the Radiation Studies Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    Director of the Master of Health Physics Program S.Y. Chen (pictured left) at this year's National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting with Joe Klinger, deputy director of Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and Charlie Miller, retired chief of the Radiation Studies Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Being a health physicist means being vigilant in the oversight, use, and disposal of radioactive sources, and overseeing the protection of those being exposed to these sources. Health physicists’ benefits include highly competitive salaries (The 2014 HPS Salary Survey) and a professionally rewarding career.

IIT’s non-thesis master’s degree can be completed in less than three years of part-time online study with just one short on-site instrumentation course. Students study with well-known members of the health physics community, follow a curriculum designed by SY Chen, PhD, CHP, and take courses reviewed by a nationally recognized board of advisors. They are involved with IIT’s Student Chapter and network with the Midwest Chapter of the national Health Physics Society.

IIT also has the distinct advantage of being in close proximity to two DOE laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab; major nuclear utilities such as Exelon; regional government agencies, a wealth of academic institutions; and numerous hospitals and healthcare facilities.

This professional master’s degree was established in 1997 by Carlo Segre, IIT professor of physics, and Eli Port, former IIT radiation safety officer and early student of Herman Cember, a pioneer of health physics education. The curriculum emphasizes the accrued knowledge of the profession:

  • Applying radiation protection principles
  • Implementing radiation protection programs
  • Assessing radiation exposure and human health risks
  • Monitoring radiological release and environmental radiation
  • Designing radiation controls and measurement devices
  • Developing radiation protection measures for regulatory compliance

One of the great advantages of IIT's program is that all of the courses in the curriculum except the instrumentation class may be taken online, and the average time to completion is only 2.5 years of part-time study. To earn the degree, students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 31 credit hours, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, and pass a final comprehensive exam. For more information see our FAQ.

If you are already a Board Certified Health Physicist, you can hone your skills by earning your master's degree or by taking individual courses for AAHP CEC credit (see below).

If your career goals do not require a full master's degree, you can earn a Certificate in Radiological Physics by taking just 12 credit hours of health physics courses.

If you are an undergraduate student, you can apply for our co-terminal bachelor of science/master's degree program (BS/MAS) where you can complete a bachelor of science in physics and a master of health physics degree in just five years.


To be considered for admission, applicants must have completed course-work in calculus through differential equations and a calculus-based general physics sequence. A course in modern physics, including some basic quantum mechanics, is strongly recommended.

Domestic students are required to hold a bachelor's degree in physical or biological sciences with a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. International students are required to hold a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA equivalent to a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All applicants must submit their transcripts, two letters of recommendation, an application fee, and a professional statement. Applicants for spring 2014 and beyond will be required to submit a resume no longer than two pages in length. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all international students, domestic students with an undergraduate GPA between 2.5 and 3.0, or at the request of the admissions committee. The recommended minimum score for admissions consideration is 304 [quantitative + verbal], 2.5 analytical writing on tests taken after August 1, 2011; 900 [quantitative + verbal], 2.5 analytical writing on tests taken before August 1, 2011.  GRE scores older than five years are not admissible.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the Office of Graduate Admission. Note that International applicants must meet English Language requirements and submit financial support documents.

Program Requirements 

Required Courses

PHYS 561 Radiation Biophysics
PHYS 571 Radiation Physics
PHYS 572 Introduction to Health Physics
PHYS 573 Standards, Statutes and Regulations
PHYS 575 Case Studies in Health Physics
PHYS 576 Radiation Dosimetry
PHYS 770 Instrumentation for Radiation Health Physics

Elective Courses

PHYS 566* Environmental Health Physics
PHYS 574* Introduction to Nuclear Fuel Cycle
PHYS 577* Operational Health Physics
PHYS 578* Medical Health Physics
*Students must take two Professional Health Physics electives: PHYS 566, 574, 577 or 578
CHEM 513** Statistics for Analytical Chemists
SCI 511** Project Management
SCI 522** Public Engagement for Scientists
**Students must take two other electives: CHEM 513, SCI 511 or 522

Program requirements last updated on 11/25/2014 and will be effective August 2015

Continuing Education Credits

Are you a certified health physicist in need of recertification by the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP) or the American Board of Radiology (ABR)? IIT offers 11 American Academy of Health Physics (AAHP) approved continuing education credit (CEC) courses aimed to help you achieve this goal. AAHP describes a creditable CEC course as a “bona fide offering by accredited institutions for which academic credit is offered” and one that is "professionally enhancing." The CECs offered at IIT fit that description perfectly and can all be taken online for your convenience (with the exception of the instrumentation course). Below is a list of the CEC courses, describing how many credits they each fulfill and their associated AAHP identification number.

Course Title (Number) CECs AAHP ID
Radiation Dosimetry (PHYS 576) ​32 ​2011-00-033
Radiation Biophysics (PHYS 561) ​32 2012-00-034
Environmental Health 
Physics (PHYS 566)
​32 ​​2012-00-035
Radiation Physics (PHYS 571) ​32 ​​2012-00-036
Introduction to Health 
Physics (PHYS 572)
​32 2012-00-037
Standards, Statutes, 
and Regulations (PHYS 573)
​32 ​​2012-00-038
Nuclear Fuel Cycle (PHYS 574) 40 2015-00-007
Case Studies in Health 
Physics (PHYS 575)
​32 2012-00-039
Operational Health 
Physics (PHYS 577)
40 2013-00-094
Medical Health Physics (PHYS 578) ​32 ​2012-00-040
Instrumentation for Radiation 
Health Physics (PHYS 770)
​32 ​2012-00-042

Program Contact 


Program Director
S.Y. Chen, Ph.D., CHP
Department of Physics
Illinois Institute of Technology
tel: 312.567.3145

Director, Professional Master's Programs
Elizabeth Friedman, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology
Illinois Institute of Technology
10 W. 32nd St., Eng. 1 - 234D, Chicago, IL 60616
tel: 312.567.7973


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