Careers in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
A career in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
All our courses are designed to give students a general training in physics, with a specialism in medical physics or biomedical engineering. Students are trained in applying rigorous, quantitative analysis to real-life situations, like any other physicist or engineer. Any careers which are open to a physicist or engineer are therefore also open to one of our graduates. So students are advised to explore general physics and engineering based careers as well as careers specifically for medical physicists and biomedical engineers.
There are many sources of information for careers in physics and engineering. The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine has released an excellent careers video: "Making a difference". The Institute of Physics provides a lot of good material. There is also useful advice on the careers webpage of the UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy (click here).
But there are specific careers in medical physics and biomedical engineering as well. These include working as a hospital physicist in the NHS where you might plan radiotherapy treatment, work in an imaging department, or work as a clinical engineer. Our graduates might choose to stay in research, in one of the research groups in this department or elsewhere, or work in the medical technology industry. In any of these careers, medical physics and biomedical engineering graduates use their scientific and analytical skills in real-life situations often with direct benefit to patients.
Clinical Science in the NHS
Thousands of medical physicists and biomedical engineers work in the NHS, doing a wide range of jobs all aimed at using physics and engineering to diagnose, treat and manage illness. The range of tasks is broad, but often include developing new techniques for imaging and radiotherapy, ensuring medical equipment is working optimally, and research and development.
Doing a PhD and postgraduate study
A PhD is a three-year or four-year research degree. Our department currently has around 70 PhD students, involved in many different areas of research. A PhD degree often leads to a career in academia (initially as a postgraduate researcher and then a university lecturer), but is also recognised as a valuable step towards careers in the NHS or in industry. Details about our PhD programme are available by clicking here.
Working in industry
Our graduates have found employment in a broad range of medical physics and biomedical engineering related industries. It is possible to start such careers at any level, e.g. after successfully completing a BSc, MSci, MSc, or PhD.
Advice on preparing applications and a good CV
All our students are offered personal advice on preparing appropriate job applications, normally through their tutor. As with any career, job vacancies in this field can be extremely competitive. Students are advised to ensure they prepare for the application and any subsequent interview thoroughly. UCL Careers service can offer advice. It is important that every application should be individual - applicants are far more likely to be selected if they have written a covering letter, application and CV which are carefully tailored to the job being applied for.
Students are advised to see our notes on how to prepare a CV.
Our graduates find work in the NHS, industry, university research, teaching and other areas. We are collating statistics on what careers our alumni find. The data will be posted here.
Support from UCL
We recommend that all our students visit the UCL Careers Service who offer lots of advice on a wide range of careers.
For subject-specific advice, we organise regular Careers events to which all our students are invited. Students can also seek support from their personal tutor and their final-year project supervisor.