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Master of Health Physics

The looming shortage of radiation professionals represents a serious threat to the United States.

(NCRP Report )

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 2015 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 S.Y. Chen, Ph.D., 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 is a member of ORAU.

  • Master of Health Physics students and alumni attend 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington. From left to right: S.Y. Chen (program director), John Edwards, Allison Wilding, Ian Lake, Larry Harisis, Barbara Fisher, Patrick Hann.
    Master of Health Physics students and alumni attend 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington. From left to right: S.Y. Chen (program director), John Edwards, Allison Wilding, Ian Lake, Larry Harisis, Barbara Fisher, Patrick Hann.
  • Barbara Fisher at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
    Barbara Fisher at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
  • Eric Hooper, John Gough, and S.Y. Chen at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
    Eric Hooper, John Gough, and S.Y. Chen at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
  • John Edwards at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
    John Edwards at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
  • S.Y. Chen with Victoria Brown at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
    S.Y. Chen with Victoria Brown at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
  • Todd Davidson at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.
    Todd Davidson at the 2016 Health Physics Society meeting in Spokane, Washington.

This professional master’s degree was established in 1997 by Carlo Segre, Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics at IIT, 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, including:

  • 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 grade point average (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 (B.S./M.A.S.) where you can complete a bachelor of science in physics and a master of health physics degree in just five years.

Admission 


To be considered for admission, applicants must have completed coursework 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.

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 institution of higher education. All applicants must submit their transcripts, two letters of recommendation, an application fee, and a professional statement. 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] and 2.5 analytical writing.

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

HEALTH PHYSICS 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

PROFESSIONAL HEALTH PHYSICS ELECTIVE COURSES (select two of the following)
PHYS 566 Environmental Health Physics
PHYS 574 Introduction to Nuclear Fuel Cycle
PHYS 577 Operational Health Physics
PHYS 578 Medical Health Physics
OTHER ELECTIVE COURSES (select two of the following)
MATH 525 Statistical Models and Methods
SCI 511
Project Management
SCI 522
Public Engagement for Scientists

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
email: schen32@iit.edu

Director, Professional Master's Programs and New Initiatives
Elizabeth Friedman, Ph.D.
College of Science
Illinois Institute of Technology
tel: 312.567.7973
email: friedman@iit.edu

 

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