Medical Physics

radiotherapy machine image

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

Program Type Duration
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

Meet a medical physics specialist

"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?

Coursework subjects

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.

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:

    Clinical service

    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.

    Radiation safety

    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.

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How to apply

Domestic applications International applications