ORISE reports analyze the number of health physics degrees granted at U.S. universities
The 2015 Health Physics Enrollments and Degrees Survey reports degrees granted between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015. Enrollment information refers to the fall term 2015. Twenty-two academic programs were included in the survey universe, with all 22 programs providing data. The enrollments and degrees information comprises students majoring in health physics or in an option program equivalent to a major. The report includes enrollment information on undergraduate students and graduate students and information by degree level for post-graduation plans.
Number of bachelor’s decline, while master’s and doctorate degrees increase
According to the report, 49 students received bachelor’s degrees with majors in health physics in 2015—the lowest number of bachelor’s degrees reported since 2002 and nearly two-thirds less than what was awarded during the peak years in the 1970s.
The number of health physics master’s degrees awarded in 2015 increased slightly, up 4 percent from the previous year, but 2 percent lower than 2013.
The survey data showed that the number of doctorate degrees granted in 2015 increased significantly to 18—an 80 percent increase over 2014.
Oregon State University had the largest number of health physics degrees awarded in 2015 with six bachelor’s degrees, sixteen master’s degrees and one doctorate degree, followed by the University of Tennessee and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Enrollment in health physics programs continue to fall
In 2015, the number of students enrolling in undergraduate and graduate health physics degree programs fell 20 percent and 7 percent, respectively, when compared to 2014. The undergraduate decrease is the lowest number reported since 2003 and indicates that the number of bachelor’s degrees in 2016 and 2017 are likely to remain closer to the number reported for 2015. For graduate programs, the number of students enrolling in advanced-degree programs is the lowest since the survey began. Based on this data, the number of master’s degrees awarded in 2016 and 2017 may drop to lower levels, while the number of doctorate degrees is expected to have plateaued and could fall back to the 5 to 10 range in the next couple years.