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Master of Health Physics with Specialization in Radiochemistry

Radiochemistry is the detection, measurement, and analysis of radioactive nuclides. It is used in the preparation of reagents for nuclear medicine, development of new techniques in nuclear power generation, and removal of radioactive materials from the environment. It requires a specialized knowledge of nuclear reactions, decay modes, and the chemical properties of radioactive elements and isotopes.

The United States urgently needs radiochemists for:

  • Homeland security for detection and protection against nuclear threats
  • Emergency response in handling radioactive materials
  • Environmental remediation, especially from old manufacturing plants, defunct hospitals, and decommissioning nuclear power plants
  • Detection of illicit transportation of radioactive materials
  • Drug synthesis of radiopharmaceuticals and the development of reagents in nuclear medicine

To fulfill this need for radiochemists, Illinois Tech created a radiochemistry specialization within its well-established Master of Health Physics program. Through a special arrangement with the University of Missouri, students will take one radiochemistry laboratory course (PHYS 581) onsite at the Missouri Research Reactor (MURR), one of the nation's top university research reactors.

Announcing the radiochemistry specialization at the Annual Health Physics Society Meeting in Raleigh, NC, July 2017, are, from left to right: alumnus Patrick Haan (’17), program director SY Chen, and current students Erin Evans and John Edwards.

Announcing the radiochemistry specialization at the Annual Health Physics Society Meeting in Raleigh, NC, July 2017, are, from left to right: alumnus Patrick Haan (’17), program director SY Chen, and current students Erin Evans and John Edwards.

Sample curriculum

Course Title Credit hours Remarks
  Core Courses (24)  
PHYS 550 Instrumentation 3  
PHYS 561 Radiation Biophysics 3  
PHYS 571 Radiation Physics 3  
PHYS 573 Case Studies in Health Physics 3  
PHYS 575 Standards, Statutes and Regs. 3  
PHYS 580 Introduction to Radiochemistry 3  
PHYS 581 Radiochemistry Laboratory 3 Prereq. PHYS 550
PHYS 582 Application of Radiochemistry 3  
  Elective Courses (2-3)  
PHYS 574 Introduction to Nuclear Fuel Cycle 2  
CHEM 512 Spectroscopy II Inorganic 2  
PHYS 539 Physical Methods of Characterization 3  
  Professional Courses (6)  
MATH 525 Statistical Models and Methods 3  
SCI 522 Public Engagement for Scientists 3  
SCI 511 Project Management 3  
  Total 11 Courses 32  

All of the courses listed above are offered online except for PHYS 550 – Instrumentation and PHYS 581 - Radiochemistry Laboratory. All students in the radiochemistry track are required to complete the instrumentation class before taking the radiochemistry lab component. Each of these two courses is offered in the summertime and consists of one week of intensive, hands-on training. Instrumentation is held on Illinois Tech’s main campus in Chicago while the radiochemistry lab is offered at MURR in Columbia, Missouri. The entire program generally takes about two years to complete.

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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