Health physicist in the lab

Ensuring safe use of radiation

Overview

Small quantities of radioactivity exist naturally in the soil, water, and air. Ionizing radiation is used in a variety of beneficial ways, including energy production, medical treatments, transportation safety, medical diagnoses, precision industrial measurements, quality assurance, etc.  Radiation health physicists ensure beneficial uses radiation, protecting workers and the public from potential hazards associated with exposure. 

 
Oregon State's radiation health physics program traces its roots back to the 1960s and today produces the most graduates of any program in the nation. The undergraduate program is accredited by ABET (view accreditation information). The graduate program is accredited by the Northwest Comission on Colleges and Universities. 

Radiation Health Physicists

  • Ensure beneficial uses of radiation and radioactive materials. 
  • Study the effects of radiation on the environment.
  • Measure radioactivity in water, soil and air.
  • Ensure the safe use of medical/dental diagnostic equipment.
  • Design radiation detection equipment.
  • Develop software to estimate radiation dose from source exposure.
  • Calculate safe, effective doses of radiation for cancer patients.
  • Provide radiation protection training.
Academics and Admission 

We offer bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral degrees in radiation health physics including online options for both a professional master of health physics and a research-based master of science (with special approval by a graduate advisor). Each degree level has a different set of admission requirements.

The undergraduate or bachelor's program is broken into two sections: pre-engineering (two years) and pro-engineering (two years).  Please review the undergraduate admission requirements and contact the Head Undergraduate Advisor Joan Stueve with any questions. 

Admission to a graduate level program requires applicants to meet standards set by the Graduate School and by the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering.

Research Areas at Oregon State