Medical Physics

What is Medical Physics?

Medical physics is a branch of physics concerned with applying physics to medicine, commonly in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Areas of focus include the following:

  • treating cancer using ionizing radiation;
  • medical imaging with x-rays, ultrasound, nuclear magnetic resonance or radionuclides;
  • and health physics, including overseeing radiation hazards and radiation protection.

Being a Medical Physicist

Pursuit of medical physics at the graduate level, combined with practical training, can lead you to a dynamic and versatile career. Medical physicists can work in various areas, including clinical service, education, research and development, and administration.

Clinical service in medical physics involves developing and implementing new therapeutic or diagnostic techniques, assurance of accuracy and quality of procedures, management and treatment planning, equipment specification and commissioning, and calibration of devices or radioactive sources.

In education, medical physicists teach undergraduate and graduate students, medical residents, and radiation therapists. Research and development in medical physics is diverse, ranging from investigation of the basic science underlying imaging or treatment delivery, to highly applied development of novel technologies.

In academic health-care facilities, research is often motivated by the limitations of current approaches; it can be focused on improving diagnosis or treatment. An administrative role may be served in health-care facilities or in industry.

Graduate and Certificate programs in Medical Physics

The MSc program in Medical Physics is two years in duration.  All core coursework is completed in the first year and thesis work is completed during the second year. 

The PhD program requires one year of core courses and typically three years of thesis research.

The Certificate program is designed for those who hold a PhD in physics and would like to qualify for admission to medical physics residency training programs and consists of one year of core coursework.

For more information, please go to the Medical Physics program page or contact the Program Director: Dr. Alasdair Syme