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MSc in Medical Physics

This MSc course is for those who want to explore aspects of medical physics, in particular medical imaging and the physics of radiotherapy, at postgraduate level. If you have a background in physics/engineering and currently work, or wish to work, in a clinical setting, there is an additional pathway through the qualification which is accredited by the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

The MSc includes two compulsory 60-credit taught modules and a project module. The two taught modules use the innovative teaching methods pioneered by The Open University to provide you with a good knowledge of the subject as well as giving you a chance to explore a topic of your choice in further depth. The project module allows you to undertake a substantial piece of independent research based on the knowledge and skills you will have developed in the taught modules. If you are following the IPEM pathway you will need to make sure that your project is of a practical, investigative nature requiring laboratory work or computing. If you are on the IPEM pathway you will also have to study an additional 10-credit module.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Completing this qualification will equip you with a base of postgraduate level knowledge and understanding in medical physics as well as providing you with a set of key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career. You will learn to carry out critical evaluation of current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will learn the basic science behind radiation protection of patients and staff and be able to discuss some of the ethical issues associated with imaging and radiotherapy.

You will learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences including professional audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a postgraduate level.

The nature of this qualification will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your ICT skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.

The pathway through this MSc accredited by the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) will be of interest to those who wish to work in a clinical setting.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Modules

For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Imaging in medicine (S809)

Explore the diagnostic and therapeutic use of medical imaging - including X-ray; ultrasound; magnetic resonance and radionuclide - and consider the risks and social issues involved.

See full description.

60 Jan
Radiotherapy and its physics (S819)

Explore the application of physics to the techniques of radiotherapy in medicine (focusing on cancer), and consider the effects of ionising radiation on biological tissues.

See full description.

60 Jan
MSc project module (S810)

Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project course in science, and develop essential skills like report writing.

See full description.

60 Nov

For the pathway through the MSc in Medical Physics accredited by IPEM you require:

190 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Imaging in medicine (S809)

Explore the diagnostic and therapeutic use of medical imaging - including X-ray; ultrasound; magnetic resonance and radionuclide - and consider the risks and social issues involved.

See full description.

60 Jan
Further material in medical physics (S829)

If you work in the field of medical physics, this course will be of interest to you. It includes anatomy and physiology, health and safety in the medical environment and statistics.

See full description.

10 Nov
Radiotherapy and its physics (S819)

Explore the application of physics to the techniques of radiotherapy in medicine (focusing on cancer), and consider the effects of ionising radiation on biological tissues.

See full description.

60 Jan
MSc project module for IPEM accredited pathway (SXP810)

Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project course in medical physics, developing essential skills like report writing.

See full description.

60 Nov

Educational aims

The overall aim of the qualification is to develop knowledge and understanding, cognitive skills, key skills and practical and professional skills in the study of medical physics, with particular emphasis on radiotherapy and medical imaging.

The intention is that you will develop:

  • an understanding of the scientific principles underlying the main areas of medical physics
  • an awareness of the risks present in medical physics and of the social context of the subject
  • skills essential to postgraduate study in science.

After completing the qualification you should be able to:

  • use electronic means of communication, information searching and retrieval
  • critically assess literature in medical physics
  • prepare an extended piece of writing, a poster and a presentation that critically engage with current theoretical, methodological and/or practical issues in medical physics.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have:

  • a systematic understanding and knowledge of the main areas of medical physics
  • a critical awareness of the role of medical physics and the future development of the subject
  • techniques applicable to advanced scholarship in the study of medical physics.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the study of medical physics
  • evaluate research methodologies and develop critiques, and propose alternative hypotheses, where appropriate
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and proficiently, and make sound judgments in the absence of complete data
  • demonstrate originality of thought in the application of knowledge.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree, you will:

  • be able to critically assess primary and secondary literature in the area of medical physics
  • have an appreciation of the importance of and methods of quality assurance in medical physics
  • be aware of the social and ethical issues that arise in medical physics
  • be able to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

Key skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • undertake self-directed study
  • communicate information and conclusions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • use information and communications technology (ICT) to locate information, analyse, present data and communicate
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems.

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