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Radiological Health Physics (RHP) involves the study of the effects of radiation and radioactivity on life processes. It also can be called radiation protection science and is particularly involved with the effects of radiation on the human body and the control of such radiation.
Many graduates of this curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) enter the profession of health physics, which is devoted to the protection of man and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation while at the same time making it possible for our advancing civilization to enjoy all of the benefits resulting from uses of radiation.
Radiation control in its professional aspects requires the skills and knowledge from many disciplines. It has common scientific interests with many areas of specialization: biophysics, physics, biochemistry, chemistry, biology, genetics, ecology, nuclear engineering, metallurgy, medicine, physiology, industrial hygiene, and toxicology.
Other aspects of the profession include a working knowledge of labor relations, public relations, teaching, philosophy, and administration. The wide spectrum of knowledge required of the health physicist makes this profession both challenging and rewarding.
Medical Physics (MP) involves the application of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The use of radiation producing devices and radioactivity in medical physics is extensive. Many graduates of the Radiological Sciences and Protection curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) enter the profession of medical physics. Graduate students who intend to enter this profession are encouraged to seek internships and research venues at nearby hospitals for which they can receive graduate credit towards the master’s degree.
Health physicists are employed by federal agencies (such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy) at
Scholarships are available for graduate students who choose the Radiological Sciences Program. These are available from
Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships are available on a limited basis for UML graduate students.
Students may gain valuable applied work experience while also earning graduate credit and money through various summer internship programs. They also may gain experience and academic credit through an internship course at the UML Radiation Laboratory. This course is conducted under the direction of the health physics staff who have responsibility for the radiation safety programs at the nuclear reactor facility; accelerator facility, radioisotope research laboratories and x-ray facilities at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.