Physics of Medicine

Professor and student doing an experiment

Program Description 

The physics of medicine pre-professional major track is interdisciplinary in nature and is designed for students who wish to attend clinical graduate school programs in medicine or health care. Physics of medicine students experience a unique, hands-on curriculum that focuses on a deep conceptual understanding of physics as it applies to other sciences, medicine and health care. Our medical physics graduates leave Rockhurst with strong communication and critical thinking skills that enable them to integrate their scientific understanding with their desired career path.  

Many students who have gone on to graduate schools in medicine and healthcare have remarked how beneficial a strong foundation in Physics of Medicine has been to their admission and success in competitive graduate programs. For instance, Clinton Wallis, '17, who is currently working toward his Doctor of Physical Therapy remarked, "I am very proud of the knowledge I attained in my Physics of Medicine Major and am really happy with how much it is helping me in grad school."

The Physics of Medicine curriculum was developed under a National Science Foundation grant award. The active learning, hands-on curricular modules developed under the grant (Physics of the Respiratory System and Fiber Optics in Medicine) have won national awards from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). In large part due to the Physics of Medicine track, Rockhurst ranks first in the nation in awarding a second degree in physics to females and 7th nationally in awarding a second degree in physics to all genders.


Learning Outcomes 

  • Students will demonstrate their conceptual understanding of a wide range of applications of physics to the human body and healthcare devices. 
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze a wide range of situations using their understanding of selected topics from physics, biology, physiology, and chemistry. 
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to research, design and create a working model of a system in the body relating physics principles to medicine and healthcare. 
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in oral and written scientific communication and will demonstrate that they can think critically and work independently.

Prospective Students 

Current Students 

Latest News

Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education Awardees

Over the past 10 years, the physics department at Rockhurst University has made a concentrated effort towards transformation and growth through the design of courses relevant to its students’ career interests in medicine and health care. Using an inquiry-based, active learning pedagogy with research-based curriculum, the department has seen a dramatic increase in the number and diversity of its physics students. Read more (


  • One-year Physics of the Body Research Project 
  • Field trips to a medical imaging and nuclear medicine facility 
  • Opportunity to join Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society  
  • Service Opportunities: “Wacky Science Night” at the local children’s hospital 
  • Research in Physics of Medicine capstone with opportunity to present work nationally 
  • Students can join the Society of Physics Students on campus
  • Learn through an integrated, interdisciplinary, hands-on curriculum funded by the National Science Foundation that will give you a significant advantage for your future health career


  • Graduate school in a wide variety of medical/healthcare programs: medical, dental, veterinary, physical therapy, optometry, prosthetics/orthotics, occupational/speech therapy. About the physics of medicine program, one student who went on to Osteopathic Medical School said the following:
    • "The physiology that is taught at KCU is very similar to the information that we studied in Physics of the Body. I feel slightly ahead of my classmates in this section. This is partially due to the material similarities but also due to the fact that we were really taught to think and rationalize the physics of the body. I would encourage any students thinking about a graduate degree program in healthcare to take Physics of Medicine. It has helped so immensely." — Madison Roberts, RU '17, KCU DO Candidate '21.
  • Graduate school in biomedical sciences 
  • Graduate school in business or health care administration