Health Physics

Health Physics

Degree Offered: M.S.
Program Director Norman E. Bolus, MSPH, MPH
Phone: (205) 934-3427

Program Information

Health Physics is a discipline that focuses on the application of physics, nuclear science, and engineering physics to diagnostics, treatment, and therapeutic processes pertaining to public health protection. It includes instruction in radiation biophysics, biophysics, health effects of natural and artificially induced radiation, hazard evaluation, environmental radioactivity, nuclear physics, engineering physics, radiobiology, medical radiology, calibration and dosage theory, computer application and medical informatics, and specific research problems involving the use of non-ionizing and ionizing radiation.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general Graduate School admission requirements, applicants to the M.S. program must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree in biology, physics, chemistry, biomedical sciences, bioengineering, or a related degree from an accredited college or university,
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (A= 4.0), computed from all undergraduate credits or from the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate course credit,
  • Apply for admission to the UAB MHP Program,
  • If foreign-educated, have a score of at least 550 for paper version (or 80 for Internet version; or 213 for computer version) on the TOEFL, submit a transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES) at

The completed application must be on file with the program office by February 15th for a priority interview to be granted. All eligible applicants will be interviewed in March for admission decisions in early April. Eligible late applicants will be considered on a space-available basis up to August 1st.

If accepted, students must complete the UAB medical history questionnaire and physical, provide proof of required immunizations, and receive satisfactory screening by the UAB Medical Center Student Health Service before enrollment.  A background check and drug screen will be required at program admission and prior to clinical placement.  Persons with a baccalaureate degree may be eligible to register for courses as non-degree seeking graduate students before acceptance into the M.S. program. If a non-degree seeking graduate student meets the M.S. program admission requirements, up to 12 semester hours of approved non-degree graduate coursework may be accepted for the M.S. degree. Admission of a student to any course as a non-degree student does not constitute admission to the M.S. degree program.

Program Accreditation and Professional Credentials

Established Health Physics programs may seek accreditation from the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Programmatic accreditation can be sought when the program is fully implemented and has graduated its first cohort of students. Program graduates will be eligible for part I of the certification examination administered by the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP).

Additional Information

Entry Term: Fall Semester
Deadline for Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office: August 1
Program Length: 4 consecutive semesters

Contact Information

For detailed information, contact the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Health Physics Program, UAB School of Health Professions, SHPB 446, 1705 University Blvd., Birmingham,
Alabama 35294-1212.
Telephone 205-934-3209.

Master of Science in Health Physics

CDS 610Research Design and Statistics3
MHP 601Principles of Health Physics3
NMT 610Medical Radiation Physics4
NMT 621Nuclear Medicine Instrumentation I4
CDS 625Analysis of Scientific Publications3
MHP 611Physics of Diagnostic Imaging3
MHP 620Principles of Dosimetry3
NMT 641Regulations, Radiation Protection/Biology and Lab4
MHP 621Nonionizing Radiation3
Supervised Practice Summer, Second Fall 6 Semester Hours each: Total 12 hours12
Supervised Practice
Electives Substitution of elective courses must be approved by advisor6
Advanced Radiation Biology
CDS 501Professional Skills I0
CDS 502Professional Skills II0
CDS 503Professional Skills III1
CDS 504Professional Skills IV1
MHP 698Non-Thesis Research4
Total Hours54


MHP 601. Principles of Health Physics. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the practice of health physics. Topics include accelerator and cyclotron health physics, environmental radiation, emergency response, decommissioning and decontamination, and nuclear reactors.
Prerequisites: PH 221 [Min Grade: C] and PH 222 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 611. Physics of Diagnostic Imaging. 3 Hours.

Overview of the various imaging modalities used in a clinical setting. Topics include the basics of X-rays, ultrasound, CT, MRI, SPECT & PET imaging.
Prerequisites: NMT 610 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 620. Principles of Dosimetry. 3 Hours.

Fundamental principles of radiation dosimetry. Topics include the mathematical treatment of internal and external doses from radiation sources, dosimetry models, routes of intake, industrial and medical sources.
Prerequisites: MHP 601 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 621. Nonionizing Radiation. 3 Hours.

Recognition, assessment, and control of nonionizing radiation hazards. Topics include sound, electricity, magnetism, microwaves, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, and lasers.
Prerequisites: MHP 611 [Min Grade: C] and NMT 610 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 651. Advanced Radiation Biology. 3 Hours.

Effects of radiation at the molecular, cellular and whole-tissue level. Topics include cell survival curves, repair of radiation damage, radiation carcinogenesis, risk assessment models, cancer biology, model tumor systems, and dose fractionation in radiotherapy.
Prerequisites: NMT 641 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 652. Radiochemistry. 3 Hours.

Overview of fundamentals of radiochemistry and experiments including counting statistics, radionuclide generator design, elution and operation, labeling and quality control, liquid scintillation counting, radiotracer techniques and applications, and dating techniques.
Prerequisites: MHP 611 [Min Grade: C] and NMT 610 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 675. Special Topics in Health Physics. 1-4 Hour.

Exploration of current issues in Health Physics.

MHP 691. Supervised Practice. 6 Hours.

Supervised practical experiences in applied health physics.
Prerequisites: MHP 620 [Min Grade: C]

MHP 698. Non-Thesis Research. 1-4 Hour.

Directed research with a faculty mentor to complete an applied master's degree project.