Study medical physics at the University of Adelaide and use your passion for physics to make a rewarding impact in the health and medical industry.
Explore the latest advances in areas such as radiotherapy and medical imaging under the supervision of leading academics and researchers.
You’ll gain the opportunity to complete the coursework needed for accreditation as a medical physicist by the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine.
Postgraduate study in medical physics
|Graduate Certificate in Medical Physics||Coursework||2 years part-time|
|Master of Medical Radiation Physics||Coursework||2 years or part-time equivalent|
|Master of Philosophy (MPhil)||Coursework / research||2 years or part-time equivalent|
|Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)||Coursework / research||3-3.5 years or part-time equivalent|
"Studying physics gave me a lifelong interest in learning as well as the technical and analytical skills required to develop new abilities required of me in the workplace. My learning and research interests have taken me to areas I couldn’t imagine when I first started my degree like machine learning, particle physics simulations, 3D modelling and printing."
Michael Douglass - BSc (Space Science & Astrophysics), PhD (Physics)
What will I study?
- Nuclear and Radiation Physics
- Human Biology for Medical Physics
- Physics of Medical Imaging
- Radiation Biology, Protection and Epidemiology
- Radiotherapy Physics
Research project - Masters / PhD
- Potential students are encouraged to contact the program coordinator to discuss research topics that match their interests and skills.
- An outline of your research proposal which indicates your broad area of interest is required as part of the application process. The proposal should contain enough detail to allow us to assess whether we have appropriate equipment and expertise and need only be around one page. We would expect details of the project to be finalised in discussion between you and your supervisors once the candidature has commenced.
- Learn about our research in medical physics.
Which degree should I choose?
Our Master of Medical Radiation Physics will equip you for a rewarding career in this exciting health field. This masters by coursework degree is available to both domestic and international students and is suitable for students with an undergraduate physics degree, or engineering graduates seeking a change of specialisation.
Our Graduate Certificate in Medical Physics is a shorter postgraduate coursework degree, available only to domestic students.
Both MPhil and PhD programs combine essential coursework and a research project; and involve substantial experience in a clinical environment. For these programs, you must be based in Adelaide; or be employed in the medical physics department of an appropriate hospital in Australia or New Zealand. Evidence of previous research experience and ability will be required.
The degree you choose will depend on your circumstances. You are encouraged to contact the program coordinator to discuss the appropriate study program. Enquiries are welcome from Australian and international students.
If you live in Australia or New Zealand, you may be permitted to enrol in a medical physics program externally and complete the course part-time via distance learning.
To be approved for external studies you must:
- Have access to appropriate facilities and nominate a local medical physicist who is willing to supervise your project for its entire duration.
- Obtain pre-approval from the University of Adelaide of both your facilities and supervisor.
- Provide a letter from your head of department supporting your enrolment in the program and assuring the availability of ongoing support and supervision.
For all external programs, you will be required to visit the Royal Adelaide Hospital Department of Medical Physics for at least one week near the start of your study; and make at least one visit per year during your candidature.
Careers in medical physics
Medical physics is one of the fastest growing areas of employment for physicists. They play crucial roles in radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation oncology. These fields use very sophisticated and expensive equipment. Medical physicists are responsible for the safe use of these technologies in the clinical setting.
What is medical physics?
Medical physics is the application of physical principles to medicine. Most commonly, this involves the use of radiation to diagnostics or therapeutics. Examples of such fields include magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, computed tomography, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy.
Medical physics not only involves the measurement of radiation, it also utilises skills in computer programming and experimental design.
Who are medical physicists?
Medical physicists are healthcare professionals with specialised training in the medical applications of physics. They often work closely with medical doctors, radiation therapists, radiographers and technicians.
Their work most commonly involves the use of x-rays, protons, electrons, ultrasound, magnetic and electric fields in diagnosis and therapy.
Most medical physicists work in hospitals at cancer treatment facilities, diagnostic imaging departments, or hospital-based research establishments. Some medical physicists work in universities, or for government and industry.
What does a medical physicist do?
Most medical physicists work in one or more of the following areas:
The responsibilities of a clinical medical physicist lie predominantly in the areas of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging. The roles of a medical physicist in radiotherapy include treatment planning and radiotherapy machine design, testing, calibration, and troubleshooting. The roles of a medical physicist in diagnostic imaging include machine purchasing and installation, testing, quality control, and operation.
Medical physicists have expertise in radiation safety. The main objective of radiation safety is to protect persons and the environment from the harmful effects of particular sources of ionising radiation and harmful non-ionising radiation.
Research and development
Medical physicists may work in research and development for commercial companies or for universities and hospitals. Research medical physicists apply a combination of biological and fundamental physical principles to further advance treatment and diagnostic technologies.
Medical physicists are often affiliated with universities and teach in graduate and undergraduate programs. They also teach radiology and radiation oncology residents, medical students, and radiology, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine technologists.