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MSc Medical Physics

Course Description

The University of Surrey’s Medical Physics MSc programme is well-established and internationally renowned. Approximately one-third of all medical physicists in the UK are graduates of our programme, and we have trained some 1,000 medical physicists, of whom more than 500 are from overseas and the European Union - so you can look forward to high-quality teaching during your time with us at Surrey.


We have close links with specialist teaching and regional Trust hospitals, as well as research institutes. These all provide lecturers with both up-to-date experience and outstanding opportunities for project research work.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/medical-physics

Module overview

The MSc Medical Physics comprises nine compulsory modules, including a summer research project.

The syllabus is designed to provide the knowledge, skills and experience required for a modern graduate medical physicist, placing more emphasis than many other courses on topics beyond ionising radiation (X-rays and radiotherapy). Examples include magnetic resonance scanning and the use of lasers in medicine. Although applications of ionising radiation seem likely to remain a major branch of medical physics, other fields are increasing in importance, and modern medical physicists are now involved in the wide range of physical problems which arise in clinical medicine.

Module descriptions

Radiation Physics
33 hours of lectures including: atomic and nuclear physics and interaction of radiation with matter, plus introductory material describing detector operation and dosimetry.

Introduction to Biology and Radiation Biology
33 hours of lectures focusing on human biology, the nature of the interaction of ionising radiation with biological systems and the effects of ingested radionuclides. Effects at the cellular level and the impact that this has on the individual are also covered.

Radiation Measurements
33 hours of lectures providing detailed understanding of the physical and chemical principles underlying the operation of a wide range of techniques for the detection or dosimetry of ionising radiation. This will enable you to make appropriate choices of instrumentation in practical situations.

Experimental and Professional Skills for Medical Physics
66 hours of laboratory sessions designed to give you an understanding of the ethical and management aspects of the medical physicist's profession, as well as practical experience in handling radioactive substances, detectors and instrumentation. You will attend workshops on the NHS, research management and ethics, and achieve a comprehensive understanding of the use of radioactive materials, radiation counting, spectroscopy equipment, dosimetry measurements and standard radiation experimental techniques.

Diagnostic Applications of Ionising Radiation Physics
33 hours of lectures, labs and hospital sessions including: X-rays and diagnostic radiology; nuclear medicine; image analysis and image processing. The module aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various imaging systems, quality control, observer decision criteria and image processing.

Therapy Physics
33 hours of lectures, labs and hospital sessions including: X- & γ-ray, fast electron, proton, heavy-ion & neutron interactions with body tissues; treatment units and accelerator systems; treatment planning. High intensity focused ultrasound, lasers, UV and blue light therapies. The module aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various therapy systems, and their quality control.

Non-ionising Radiation Imaging
33 hours of lectures and labs and hospital sessions including: electronics and instrumentation; NMR spectroscopy, MR imaging and signal analysis; ultrasonics theory; ultrasonics, instrumentation and practice.

Extended Group Project
Through 33 hours of laboratory-based lectures and hands-on computing laboratory sessions, you will learn the basic use and implementation of the FLUKA Monte Carlo simulation software. The module culminates in a group-based design project or library-based project.

Research Project and Dissertation
You will undertake a supervised project, either on campus or off-campus (off-campus projects are often supervised by a hospital medical physicist). The project lasts eleven weeks. You will write a dissertation at the end of the project.

Teaching and assessment

Subject knowledge and skills
The subject material is delivered through lectures, laboratories and directed reading/research. You are given guidance on how to manage your learning, and at each stage in your development you are expected to take responsibility for your own learning. Understanding is developed and consolidated through interactions in group meetings, by laboratory work and by private study. Project work, leading to the dissertation, is used to integrate material and make knowledge functional. The need for physics or engineering graduates to acquire a background knowledge of human biology is supported through dedicated anatomy and physiological function lectures.

Core academic skills
The advanced lecture modules deliver knowledge in depth and breadth, while applications at the frontiers of the subject expose you to cutting-edge modern medical physics. The programme also develops your ability to think logically and analyse problems, and to apply these skills to problem-solving in a clinical setting.

The project module develops the ability to plan and execute a substantial project, developing a careful and critical approach to experimental design and/or mathematical modelling, and the maintenance of accurate records.

Personal and key skills
Teaching and learning of a range of transferable skills (ability to exercise independent judgement, use of information technology, oral and written communication, presentation, accessing information and group work) are embedded within the programme.

Facilities, equipment and academic support

- Common room
A student common room is available for the use of all Physics students.

- The University Library & Learning Centre
The University Library & Learning Centre (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover?cat[]=217) holds journals and the recommended textbooks. These may be borrowed using the University library card. This card is issued to students upon registration and contains their University Registration Number (URN).

- Computers
The University has an extensive range of PC and UNIX machines, full internet access and email. The University has invested in resources to allow students to develop their IT skills. It also has an online learning environment, SurreyLearn. Computers are located in dedicated computer rooms. Access to these rooms is available 24 hours per day.


This MSc degree is currently in the process of being re-accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) (http://www.ipem.ac.uk/). IPEM is the UK’s professional body for the application of physics and engineering to medicine.

IPEM is dedicated to bringing together physical science, engineering and clinical professionals in academia, healthcare services and industry, to share knowledge, advance science and technology, and inform and educate the public, with the purpose of improving the understanding, detection and treatment of disease and the management of patients.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Medical Physics page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

Student Profiles

The Braithwaite Family Foundation Medical Physics MSc scholarship - Single Award

Surrey's MSc in Medical Physics is well established and internationally renowned. Approximately one-third of all practising medical physicists in the UK are graduates of our programme. The programme includes all aspects of the modern applications of physics to medicine. It is accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM). For further details, see http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/medical-physics.We have close links with specialist teaching and regional Trust hospitals, as well as research institutes. These provide lecturers with both up-to-date experience and outstanding opportunities for project research work. Students have opportunities for practical experience in a hospital.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Applications are invited from candidates for The Braithwaite Family Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship will cover the fees of an MSc in Medical Physics at the Department of Physics, University of Surrey, for a UK student.

Application Procedure

A good undergraduate degree (First or Upper Second) in Physics or a related subject is required.
Please send a CV, including the names of two referees, and a covering letter explaining your motivation and interest in medical physics to Mrs Jane Clarke, Taught Physics Programmes Postgraduate Administrator, BB04, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH; e-mail . Informal enquiries can be made to the programme director, Dr Silvia Pani (email: ). Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in the week commencing 18th August 2014.

The scholarship covers the full UK/EU fees (£7,055 in 2014/15) for the one-year course.

Closing date: 4pm on Friday 11th July 2014.

Further Information



Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on .


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information



Teaching Assistantships - 6 Awards

Our department-led scholarships enable you to assist with the teaching of Physics undergraduate students through laboratory sessions, tutorials, problem-solving classes, computing and other teaching activities depending on suitability. Open to home or international, full-time or part-time students, the University of Surrey gives out approximately six of these awards per annum. The Teaching Assistantship award is available on all MSc Physics programmes, and if successful, you can earn up to £3,000 throughout the year.

Value of Scholarship(s)

up to £3,000


Eligible MSc applicants will be sent an application form by email in August 2016 and the application procedure includes an interview (which can be completed by telephone).

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A 2.2 honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in the physical sciences, electronics or in a relevant engineering discipline. English language requirements: IELTS minimum overall: 6.5; IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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