Columbia (M.S. in Medical Physics) vs. Vanderbilt (DMP)

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Which would you choose?

M.S. in Medical Physics (Columbia)
DMP in Medical Physics (Vanderbilt)
Total votes: 2

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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:43 am

Columbia (M.S. in Medical Physics) vs. Vanderbilt (DMP)

Post by WalterSobchak » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:50 am

Hello, all. So, I am a prospective medical physics graduate student for the fall of 2015 and I have been accepted into two of my top four choices: The 2 year M.S. program in Medical Physics at Columbia and the four year DMP (Professional Doctorate of Medical Physics) program at Vanderbilt. Both programs would require massive student loans and both would be extremely expensive. Also, from everything I can gather, both programs have stellar reputations.

To those of you familiar with the medical physics field and with the prospects of the somewhat uncommon DMP degree in particular, do you think the guaranteed residency is worth taking out loans for an extra two years? What would an M.S. graduate from Columbia's program do with his/her life if he/she didn't get into a residency program? Are there "junior" medical physicist jobs available for such unfortunate souls? etc, etc. Any information from people currently in the field would be greatly appreciated.

One additional concern I have is that I will be turning 30 this coming summer. I need to get my career going. The biggest thing that worries me about the DMP is the extra two years and having to go even further into debt for a residency experience that I would be paid for elsewhere. The biggest thing that worries me about the Master's program is that admission into medical physics residencies is absurdly competitive, and without a CAMPEP accredited residency, one can not become a board certified medical physicist.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Columbia (M.S. in Medical Physics) vs. Vanderbilt (DMP)

Post by twistor » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:02 am

The future of the DMP and its degree holders is uncertain. As you said, a MS in medical physics is an expensive degree and the residency prospects for MS degree holders are currently much lower compared to the Ph.D. At the end of the day, the DMP is essentially just a master's degree combined with a residency. For those trying to get into the field, the DMP is admittedly an attractive option. However, according to a survey by the AAPM the DMP is not held in high regard in the field as many believe it will cause a number of problems, including forcing students to pay for residencies that previously would have had stipends, eliminating the MS degree entirely from clinical practice, and degrading the value of the Ph.D.

Because the DMP is so new no one can currently say what your prospects will be. From discussions with my colleagues it seems that the consensus at least in my hospital is that the DMP is viewed essentially equivalently to a MS degree as far as hiring purposes. I cannot speak for other hospitals or for the field in general.


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Re: Columbia (M.S. in Medical Physics) vs. Vanderbilt (DMP)

Post by Beena620 » Wed May 15, 2019 3:29 pm

This post is years old, but I’ll put my two cents in for anybody currently looking thinking about the same thing. Publishing while in an M.S. program seems to be the only hope for a residency. Even then, most of the residencies that take M.S. are in places you may not want to live for two years of life. It’s a gamble. Then again, you could take a junior physicist position after an M.S. program and hope your prospects for residency improve after a year. Anyone have any input on if this does actually make a residency applicant more attractive?
The DMP sounds great in the outside, but this structure is the same reason why I’m not going to be an MD: four years without a salary plus student loans is just not practical. At least with an MD, you will have the chance of making over $300k as a hospitalist at some point. Medical physicists salaries don’t touch that at any point in the career. It seems like with DMP programs, you’re paying A LOT for a guaranteed residency and the Dr. title. If that’s a factor at all, consider that several part-time, online programs offer DHSc for much cheaper, which you can start once your career has started and you’re earning money.

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