IIT offers a five-year, co-terminal Bachelor of Science in Physics/Master of Health Physics degree program for students who wish to combine a bachelor's degree in physics with a professional-track master's in health physics leading to a career as a radiation health physicist. This program is designed for students seeking careers in the government, in industry, the military, and environmental and health-related fields where radiation protection and planning are critical.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Health Physics Society (HPS) have all foreseen a significant need for new radiation health physicists. According to the HPS, "A projected shortfall in sufficiently educated radiation safety professionals has placed a burden on industries using radiation to support our nation's energy, security, and health needs. " The current workforce in government and industry is aging and those positions need to be filled.
A recent salary survey conducted by the Health Physics Society reveals that average entry-level salaries are up to $80,000 with significant increases upon board certification. The median salary of a health physics graduate with a master's degree is above $100,000.
Why IIT? The unique opportunity to take classes online, as well as on campus, sets IIT apart from other health physics programs. According to a recent survey by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, IIT ranked third in the number of health physics master's degrees awarded in 2010. IIT is one of only a handful of universities that offer this five-year, co-terminal opportunity and at IIT, faculty help students find an appropriate health physics internship.
Students admitted to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in physics may apply for admission to the co-terminal Master of Health Physics (M.H.P.) program after their second year of undergraduate study. The recommended minimum GPA for a successful applicant is 3.25 at the time of application.
In order to complete both the bachelor's and master's degrees in five years, students will follow IIT's standard B.S. Physics curriculum for the first three years and begin taking graduate Health Physics courses in their fourth year of study, when they will be dual-enrolled in the B.S. and M.H.P. programs. Both degrees will be awarded simultaneously. Some master's degree courses in health physics will be offered only during the summer so students are expected to be in classes year-round over their final two years of study. The online availability of our health physics classes allows the students to hold internships while taking classes during the summer semester. Students will take 128 credit hours for their bachelor's degree and 31 credit hours for their master's degree and will receive both degrees upon satisfactory completion of both programs.