By: Rachel Katz

The Medical Radiation Sciences and Medical Physics programs are both under the microscope, but for different reasons. Changes to these science programs were proposed as part of the recent Faculty of Science planning document.

According to Robert Baker, Dean of Science, the Medical Radiation program is one of the faculty’s most popular. It is taught in collaboration with Mohawk College and the Juravinski Cancer Center.

“We’re not proposing any changes to the Medical Radiation Sciences program,” Baker said.

On the other hand, he claims the Medical Physics program needs serious reevaluation.

“What we are proposing to do is essentially rethink how we’re offering the general area of medical physics at McMaster. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with the program… our concern is that there’s just so few students taking it [and] we need resources to be used for some of our other programs,” Baker explained.

The Medical Physics program will continue to exist, but in a different way. Options include combining it with Biophysics or making it a stream in Life Science. However, specific details have not been confirmed.

“The bigger issue is really that we’re proposing to close the department…the administrative unit of the Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Science,” he said.

This proposal is one of various proposed changes to the entire Faculty.

Baker is hoping for these changes will “be online…for September 2016. And I think that’s a reasonable date to set for,” he says. He is planning on setting up working groups to discuss this in the next two weeks.

Students either currently in or planning to be in these programs before September 2016 have no need for concern.

“Any program that a student has started in on, we make the commitment that that student will be able to complete the program as they started it,” said Baker. He explained that the only difference for students is that instead of going to the office of the Department of Applied Physics and Radiation Sciences, they would consult the office of interdisciplinary sciences, a new office also proposed in the planning document.

The course requirements will not change for these students either. The Faculty of Science will offer two versions of the same program until all the students in the old Medical Physics and Radiation Sciences programs.

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