Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Medical Applications
Code PHYS384
Coordinator Dr LJ Harkness-Brennan
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To introduce the physics principles of radiation therapy and treatment planning; to understand interactions of radiation with biological materials and detectors; to understand the need for modelling in radiobiological applications; to obtain a knowledge of imaging modalities used for diagnosis and treatment verification; to construct a simple model of a radiation therapy application.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To understand the principles of radiotherapy and treatment planning.

(LO2) To develop a knowledge of radiation transport and the interaction of radiation with biological tissue.

(LO3) to understand the need for Monte Carlo modelling and beam modelling

(LO4) to have a knowledge of the principles of common imaging modalities used in medicine

(LO5) to have a basic understanding of radiobiology

(LO6) to have experience developing a simple radiotherapy treatment plan

(S1) Problem solving skills.



Principles of radiotherapy: Review of essential interaction physics; review of relevant basic probability theory; introduction to radiation transport and the Boltzmann equation; principles of brachytherapy and radionuclide therapy.

Principles of medical imaging: Overview of the imaging techniques used for diagnosis and treatment verification, including the principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Computed tomography, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography; Positron Emission Tomography and techniques used for image reconstruction.

External beam radiotherapy: Outline of external beam radiotherapy modelling components; clinical beam characteristics for photons, electrons and protons; mean modeling for radiotherapy treatment planning, lookup table approaches, convolution/pencil beam approaches to treatment planning.

Dosimetry and Radiobiology: Simple radiobiological principles of radiotherapy; dosimetry in healthcare applications; general introduction to biologica l modelling, fractionation and treatment during effects, volume effects. Statistical techniques of biological model data fitting; data fits using real clinical normal tissue data, using model prediction data.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Lecture
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 - Tutorial
Description: Tutorial
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3 - Other
Description: Support for Treatment Planning Practical
Attendance Recorded: Not yet decided

The module will be delivered remotely in 2021. Asynchronous learning materials (notes/videos/exercises etc) will be made available to students through the VLE. The module will have regular synchronous sessions in active learning mode.
We are planning no changes to module content compared to previous years, and expect students to spend a similar amount of time-on-task compared to previous years. These changes will mainly constitute a rebalancing of hours from scheduled directed learning hours to unscheduled directed learning hours as students will have some flexibility as to when they access asynchronous materials.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours     4



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 98


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
time-controlled online examination  3 hours on task    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Treatment planning practical Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) :2      20       
written assignment Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. Assessment Schedule (When) :2      20       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.