Module information

Module details

Radiotherapy Physics
Module code

Aim of this module

Trainees will gain an understanding of dosimetry, codes of practice, treatment machines and treatment planning, together with relevant radiation protection legislation.

Work-based content


# Learning outcome Competency Action
# 1 Learning outcome 1 Competency

Assist with the safe handling and operation of small sealed sources in the department, including the performance of strontium-90 consistency checks on dosimetry equipment.

Action View
# 2 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Perform a radiation protection room survey and discuss the results with your training officer.

Action View
# 3 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Perform a radiation risk assessment and discuss the results with your training officer.

Action View
# 4 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Operate treatment equipment safely and evaluate the operation of the interlocks

Action View
# 5 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Select an appropriate dosemeter and measure standard output, including assessment of the constancy and leakage of the measurement system and its significance.

Action View
# 6 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Relate standard output measurement to the relevant code of practice (MV/kV electron).

Action View
# 7 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Measure a beam profile at the depth of maximum dose and reference depth, and calculate the field size, penumbra, flatness and symmetry Explain the differences and relate to the beam specification

Action View
# 8 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Critically evaluate the function of the ionisation chamber in the linear accelerator and its importance for correct treatment delivery

Action View
# 9 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Assist with routine quality control on external beam radiotherapy equipment (including items such as light to radiation, quality index) and evaluate the appropriateness of action/tolerance levels

Action View
# 10 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Assess available immobilisation techniques and identify treatment sites that would most benefit

Action View
# 11 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Import images for treatment- planning purposes Evaluate the interactions between data systems and be able to critically assess the essential information, eg image quality assurance, slice requirements, etc

Action View
# 12 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Generate outlines for anatomical structures and geometrical volumes to aid planning based on Computed Tomography (CT) data sets

Action View
# 13 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Design treatment plans for two to four field treatments for a range of sites in accordance with International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) Guidance and local clinical protocols (explain choice of modality/energy, beam arrangement,  and compensation)

Action View
# 14 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Appraise treatment plans, making use of dose volume information and dose constraints for organs at risk and the target volume

Action View
# 15 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Produce a range of routine MV photon treatment plans

Action View
# 16 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Perform manual calculations for basic treatment techniques, taking into account field size, wedge factor, change of FSD, off-axis, etc

Action View
# 17 Learning outcome 6 Competency

Perform and discuss routine quality assurance checks on the treatment planning/VSim system and the radiotherapy network

Action View


You must complete:

  • 1 case-based discussion(s)
  • 1 of the following DOPS/ OCEs:
Perform a radiation survey of a treatment room DOPS
Produce and evaluate a simple treatment plan DOPS
Measure the radiation output of a treatment machine DOPS

Learning outcomes

  1. Assist with the safe handling and operation of small sealed sources.
  2. Undertake a risk assessment and perform a radiation protection room survey.
  3. Operate treatment equipment safely (under supervision), selecting and using relevant measurement devices, undertaking basic measurements on the treatment machines. 
  4. Assist with routine quality control on external beam radiotherapy equipment and evaluate the appropriateness of action/tolerance levels. 
  5. Assist with the treatment-planning process from immobilisation to the start of treatment and produce and critically appraise routine MV photon treatment plans. 
  6. Perform quality assurance checks on treatment-planning systems. 

Academic content (MSc in Clinical Science)

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning outcomes

  1. Describe the legislation that applies to safe working within the radiation, workshop and clinical environments. 
  2. Explain the physical principles behind the interaction of radiation with matter. 
  3. Describe the basis of clinical measurement. 
  4. Discuss and evaluate the role of Medical Physics in innovation and service development.

Indicative content

  • Malignant disease and role of radiotherapy
  • Basic radiobiology
  • Introduction to radiotherapy equipment (treatment machines and dosimetry equipment)
  • Characteristics of clinical beams
  • Target volume localisation: equipment and methods
  • Principles of treatment planning
  • Treatment verification
  • Introduction to quality assurance, calibration, treatment accuracy and safety; standards
  • Radiation protection specific to radiotherapy: local rules, protection measurements

Clinical Measurement

  • The physiology of pressure, flow and electrophysiology
  • The physical principles underpinning measurements of pressure, flow and electrophysiology
  • Transducers for measuring pressure, flow and electrophysiology
  • Calibration, traceability of standards
  • Sources of error: random, systematic and human
  • Sensitivity and specificity of measurement techniques
  • Relationship to clinical pathology, data processing and interpretation

Clinical experiences

Important information

Clinical experiential learning is the range of activities trainees may undertake in order to gain the experience and evidence to demonstrate their achievement of module competencies and assessments. The list is not definitive or mandatory, but training officers should ensure, as best training practice, that trainees gain as many of these clinical experiences as possible. They should be included in training plans, and once undertaken they should support the completion of module assessments and competencies within the e-portfolio.


  • Follow a patient through the complete pathway of radiotherapy treatment and participate in the pathway processes
  • Undertake validation calculations on routine treatment plans
  • Set up equipment and undertake quality control measurements on linear accelerators
  • Participate in the calibration of treatment equipment
  • Undertake a risk assessment and room survey of a treatment room