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Master of Health Physics

The advent of the Nuclear Age has brought about tremendous advancements in nuclear and radiological technologies that provide unprecedented benefits to mankind. When ionizing radiation is used properly, it is an excellent means for diagnosing and treating medical conditions, for providing a steady supply of safe and cost-effective nuclear power, and for furthering scientific research using radioisotopes and radiation sources.

In order to assure continued usage and development of these technologies, universities must educate health physicists to be vigilant in their oversight, use, and disposal of radioactive sources as well as oversee the protection of those being exposed to these sources. Health physicists employed in government agencies, nuclear facilities, national laboratories and medical centers must be highly trained professionals.

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) fulfills this critical need by offering a professional master of health physics (MHP) degree program. The MHP provides in-depth knowledge of radiation protection and detection while emphasizing strong analytical and communication skills. This is a non-thesis degree that can be completed in less than three years of online, part-time study and one short, on-site instrumentation course. The program was conceived in the mid-1990’s by Carlo Segre, IIT physics professor, and Eli Port, IIT's RSO at the time and an early student of Herman Cember. The program has evolved since 1997 and is now under the direction of S.Y. Chen.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "health physicists are provided with many opportunities. The field is broad, diverse, and continually evolving." Aside from being in demand in a variety of work environments, health physicists also enjoy other benefits, including very competitive salaries in an otherwise challenging market (see 2013 Health Physics Society Salary Survey).

Let IIT's master of health physics program help prepare you for an important, exciting, and rewarding career in the field of health physics. Come study with nationally renowned faculty members to further advance your career goals. This program will also help you work towards becoming a Board Certified Health Physicist.

If your career goals do not require a full master's degree, we offer a Certificate in Radiological Physics. We also offer a distinct co-terminal BS/MAS program where you can complete a bachelor of science in physics and a master of health physics 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 an identification number that will help you locate the specific course on AAHP's list of approved courses for 2014.

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) 32 2013-00-093
Case Studies in Health 
Physics (PHYS 575)
​32 2012-00-039
Operational Health 
Physics (PHYS 577)
32 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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