A master's in medical imaging, also called a master's in biomedical engineering by some schools, teaches you how to use the complex equipment and imaging programs used in medical imaging. The program teaches you how to analyze the images and perform assessments using ultrasound technologies, nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To earn a master's in medical imaging, you will need to have an undergraduate degree in a related field and take a blend of graduate-level classes related to anatomy, imaging, biochemistry and technology. You also may have to do some type of final project to graduate.
The first step in getting a master's in medical imaging is to meet the entrance requirements for the graduate schools that interest you. You should have a bachelor's degree related to engineering, biology, biochemistry or another related field. In addition to a degree, some schools require prerequisite science courses before you can enroll in a master's program. A high grade point average is a common requirement and is especially critical for those who want to apply for competitive master's programs. Before you can apply for medical imaging programs, you also may need to take some type of graduate entrance exam and receive a specified score.
After being accepted into a master's in medical imaging program, you will usually need to take up to 12 courses that may require one or two years to complete. Common areas studied in the program include biomedical systems, systems analysis, biomedical imaging, medical imaging systems, ultrasound imaging, statistical methods, electrophysiology and anatomy. Most programs require a set of core classes but allow you to select a few electives that may include advanced courses related to the core classes or classes related to computer science and mathematics.
Many schools require a thesis or a comprehensive research project to earn a master's in medical imaging. Many programs include a research component in most classes, so you may actually work on this project throughout your entire graduate education. If you don't want to do a thesis or final project, some programs allow the option of taking additional courses or completing a practicum. Students planning to apply for doctorate programs in medical imaging should complete the thesis or research project, if possible, because most doctorate programs ask for the thesis as an admissions requirement. You'll also learn research skills that will help you with the dissertation a doctorate program requires you to complete.