Physics for Medicine

Physics in Medicine

X-rays, MRI, ultrasound, and laser surgery are well known techniques employed in today’s medical practice, and all originate from physics! Physics and its discoveries have been at the forefront of medical diagnosis and treatment since the discovery of X-rays in 1895. This close fit is a natural consequence of the wide-ranging implications of the discoveries of physics, the fundamental science. With medical practice and biology becoming more quantitative as our understanding of life's molecular processes grows, and as medicine moves toward early-stage diagnosis and treatment, the myriad experimental and theoretical techniques of physics will be increasingly prominent on the leading edge of medicine and health care.

Careers in Medicine

In today’s world, careers in medicine and health care abound, covering a wide range of possibilities from clinical practice as a physician to clinical research as an M.D./Ph.D. scientist and non-clinical investigations as a Ph.D. researcher, as well as numerous positions in support of medicine within the medical technology industry. Whether through research, medical support, or medical practice, physicists serve important roles in all aspects of the great humanitarian effort toward curing diseases and improving health care. Some less familiar professions include:

Health Physics

Concerned with radiation safety; see www.hps.org and www.hps1.org/aahp for information about careers and certification.

Medical Physics

Concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to help diagnose and treat human disease; see www.aapm.org and www.acmp.org for information about careers and certification.

Radiological Physics

Concerned with the use of radiation for therapy and diagnosis; see www.rsna.org for information about careers.

Biological Physics

Concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the solution of biological problems and the understanding of biological processes; see www.aps.org/units/dbp/ and www.biophysics.org for further information.


Three Tracks to Choose From

The Department of Physics at Marquette University has teamed up with Marquette University’s Department of Biological Sciences and with the Biophysics Department in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin, a world leader in the application of spin physics to medicine, to offer three distinct plans of study focused on careers in medicine while earning a Bachelor of Science in Physics. All three provide the course preparation for the Medical College Admission Test, but each is distinctive in professional aims.

  1. Clinical Track - for future MD studies and patient-centered practice as a physician

  2. Research Track - for advancing medicine through research after graduate or medical study

  3. Double Major in Physics and Biological Sciences – the strongest preparation for careers in biophysics and medicine

Additional Opportunities

Minor in Biophysics

The Physics Department also offers a minor in BiophysicsAs a student in our program, you can attend the weekly Biophysics Seminar at the Medical College of Wisconsin and earn credit at Marquette. You will learn science at the frontiers of physics and medicine and you will meet those who are advancing the frontiers.

Summer Program for Undergraduate Research

You can position yourself to have an edge in the competition for placement in the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Participation in research will open you to the excitement of discovery and allow you to become deeply familiar with a field and to develop distinctive credentials.

Speak directly with members of the Radiological Society of North America

Our close proximity to Chicago makes it easy to attend the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, the most important gathering of scientists, medical practitioners, and industry leaders in the field. Most important, your program of studies will be steeped in the values and personal attention that are the hallmarks of a Marquette education.