Radiation Health Physics

Two radiation health physics engineers.
Degree Type
Corvallis Campus
Table of contents


Radiation health physics involves the study of ionizing radiation and developing systems and methods to protect people and their environments from radiation’s hazards.

Radiation health physicists protect us from the potential dangers of exposure to radiation. Their responsibilities may include managing radiation safety at nuclear plants and hospitals; designing radiation shields for industrial and medical applications; designing sophisticated radiation detection systems; researching the effects of radiation on the environment; and providing radiation protection training. Their role is essential to society’s well-being.

Students at Oregon State are guided by our top-notch faculty, who are known worldwide for their research, expertise, and innovative teaching. Our program, which traces its roots back to the 1960s, now graduates more students than any other academic institution in the nation, putting them on track to be leaders in this dynamic, indispensable field.

Undergraduate Information

  • Nuclear Radiation Physics
  • Nuclear Radiation Detection and Instrumentation
  • Societal Aspects of Nuclear Technology
  • Radiation Protection
  • Radiation Biology

Sample class plan Full list of requirements

Students in Radiation Health Physics can also pursue the Radiation Health Physics-Pre Med option in which they fulfill the requirements for the BS degree in Radiation Health Physics, as well as the course work expected for entrance into most medical schools.


Education through the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) program provides you with the tools to succeed as a commissioned officer, and to later have a promising career as a civilian nuclear engineer or radiation health physicist.  

After completion of the Naval Nuclear Power School you can enroll in the STA-21 program to complete a three-year bachelor's of science degree at NSE. Engineering is an academically challenging field, and as a Navy student at Oregon State you’ll be held to a higher standard than traditional students. We want to see you make the grade: our world-class faculty, tutoring services and library are available to you.

Because you have 36 months to complete your degree, it’s important to understand how your transcripts will transfer to Oregon State. Please review the Nuclear Engineering STA-21 Three-Year Program Guide below. You also need to be conscious of acceptance deadlines for the STA-21 program. Once your Oregon State application is completed, admissions decisions can be made in 2-4 weeks and sometimes in as little as one week. So please plan accordingly.

For more specific information on the STA-21 program please visit the Oregon State Department of Naval Science.

Portrait of Subisha Sundaram

“What's really exciting me now is learning more about the applications of radiation health physics.” – Subisha Sundaram, radiation health physics. Read about Subisha’s experience at Oregon State.

Julie A. Bentz: Engineering Hall of Fame – 2022
Retired Maj. Gen. Julie Bentz, B.S. radiological health ’86, served for more than three decades in active and reserve military and National Guard commissioned service. She served at the White House with multiple appointments between 2004 and 2019 to the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council, including as senior advisor for emerging technologies and director of strategic capabilities. At different times, she also held several roles in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. 

  • American Nuclear Society / Health Physics Society  
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Student Chapter  

Search all clubs   

Have a question about a club? Ask the Engineering Student Council.  

Graduate Information

The School of Nuclear Science and Engineering offers three graduate degrees in radiation health physics: Master of Science, Master of Health Physics, and Doctor of Philosophy.


Our master's programs are also offered as an online option through Oregon State Ecampus. Graduate students work with world renowned faculty and have access to a breadth of unique research facilities and laboratories.

You can put your innovative stamp on real world research projects such as radiation detector design and medical isotope production with partners like Idaho National Laboratory and the Department of Energy. Please refer to our research areas

The program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

For more information, contact the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering, NSE.Info@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-2343.

Challenge yourself and advance your career by enrolling in Oregon State University's rigorous, online Master of Radiation Health Physics degree program — and learn firsthand from world-recognized radiation detection practitioners. Through this non-thesis program, you'll develop the professional skills needed to positively impact society through energy security, national defense, medical health and industrial competitiveness.

More information

  • Application of nuclear techniques
  • Emergency response planning
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental pathways assessment
  • Radiation detection and instrumentation
  • Radiation dosimetry
  • Radiation shielding
  • Radioactive material transport
  • Radioactive waste management
  • Research reactor health physics
  • Risk assessment

Prospective graduate students apply through the Oregon State University Graduate School and will be required to submit the following. 

  • Statement of purpose.
  • Three letters of reference.
    • University-level academic references are preferred.
  • An official transcript from every institution attended. 

Applicants must meet the minimum academic requirements. International applicants must meet the minimum requirements for international applicants. GRE scores are currently being waived for Fall 2023 admission cycle.

Admission decisions are based on many factors, such as the quality of the applicant’s prior academic degree and record of accomplishment, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation from professors or others familiar with the applicant’s academic work, performance in aptitude and achievement tests, relevant work experience, preparation in the proposed field of study, and the suitability of the applicant’s academic goals with the faculty’s research interests.

Particularly at the graduate level, a critical consideration in the decision is whether your academic objectives can be satisfactorily fulfilled by the graduate programs at Oregon State. Admission to Oregon State is competitive and meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Following approval of the School, the Office of Admissions will determine whether the general university admission requirements have been met.

The four-year undergraduate program example plans provide an indication of the level of math and science required of our undergrads in preparation for our graduate programs. 

Each applicant is judged on their entire application and a decision is made on the strength of each application in relation to the pool of applicants in any given year.  Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee admission. 

International applicants to our Ecampus health physics program be advised that you will be required to visit the Corvallis campus at least once, possibly twice (for a week-long course and for your final oral examination), prior to attaining your degree. It is your responsibility to obtain a visa to come to Corvallis during that time. 

Questions regarding applications and the program should be directed as follows:

Application Dates

Admissions Fall 2024

Apply Now

NSE offers a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) and graduate research assistantships (GRA). There is no separate application process. Students whose applications are complete by the priority funding deadline are automatically considered for available GTA/GRA positions.

Graduate teaching assistants and research assistants are appointed on a term-by-term basis. They receive tuition remission, a monthly stipend starting at $1,700*, and a $430* per term lump sum for fees. 

Fellowships are also available to incoming graduate students. Stipends range from $1,160* to $2,200* per month for the nine-month academic year. There are typically four to six fellowships awarded per academic year. There is no separate application process for fellowships, qualified graduate applicants to the department are automatically considered for available fellowships.

*Award offers and amounts are subject to change at the discretion of department administrators.

Job Market Outlook

Make an informed decision to help meet your career goals by using this real-time job market information.



The Bachelor of Science & Honors Bachelor of Science degree programs in Radiation Health Physics are accredited by the Applied & Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

ABET Student Outcomes

Radiation Health Physics

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve broadly defined technical or scientific problems by applying knowledge of mathematics and science and/or technical topics to areas relevant to the discipline.
  2. An ability to formulate or design a system, process, procedure or program to meet desired needs.
  3. An ability to develop and conduct experiments or test hypotheses, analyze and interpret data and use scientific judgment to draw conclusions.
  4. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  5. An ability to understand ethical and professional responsibilities and the impact of technical and/or scientific solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  6. An ability to function effectively on teams that establish goals, plan tasks, meet deadlines, and analyze risk and uncertainty.

Radiation health physics program specific outcomes:

  • HP1 Ability to apply knowledge of atomic and nuclear physics to nuclear and radiological systems and processes
  • HP2 Ability to apply knowledge of transport and interaction of radiation with matter to nuclear and radiation processes
  • HP3 Ability to measure nuclear and radiation processes
  • HP4 Ability to apply knowledge of ionizing radiation risk in terms of decision-making and policy

Educational Objectives