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Course Descriptions

Penn’s goal is to ensure that the Medical Physics Programs continue to provide the most advanced, rigorous and innovative education in this highly competitive and evolving field. We are currently putting a hold on admissions in order to do a full evaluation of our curriculum, research opportunities and professional development. The current master’s and post-graduate certificate programs will continue to serve its currently enrolled students. However, we are no longer accepting application submissions. We welcome you to contact our program team if you have any questions about this update.

Medical Physics course descriptions

  • Radiation Detection and Measurement (NEW)
    Fundamentals of detection and measurement of ionizing radiation; working principles of many detectors used currently in the field including their application in radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, and diagnostic radiology.
  • Computational Medical Physics (NEW)
    Fundamentals of computational calculations with MATLAB on common problems in radiation therapy physics: Compton scattering cross-section and its applications; Bremsstrahlung scattering cross-sections and its applications; 3D photon dose calculation algorithms; 3D electron dose calculation algorithms; CT reconstruction; DICOM format.
  • Medical Physics Laboratory (NEW)
    Lab course offering hands-on experience with a range of measurements commonly encountered in the practice of clinical medical physics.  Project offerings may include:  Task Group 51 calibration of linear accelerators; 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography (4DCT) imaging and image analysis; Deformable image registration and dose sum reconstruction; Monthly linear accelerator Quality Assurance (QA) procedures; Brachytherapy source calibration and High Dose Rate (HDR) machine QA; Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and image analysis; MRI imaging and image analysis; Linear accelerator shielding calculations and radiation survey.
  • Introduction to Radiation Protection 
    Introduction to applied nuclear and atomic physics; radioactive decay; radiation interactions; biological effects and safety guidelines; radiation detection, instrumentation and protection.
  • Radiation Biology
    Fundamental knowledge of mechanisms and biological responses of human beings to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation through the study of effects of radiation on molecules, cells and humans; radiation lesions and repair; mechanisms of cell death; cell cycle effect, radiation sensitizers and protectors; tumor radiobiology; relative sensitivities of human tissue and radiation carcinogenesis. This course is required by the ABR.
  • Medical Ethics/Governmental Regulation
    Fundamentals of professional ethics for medical physicists through exploration of Code of Ethics (published by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine); case studies; survey of governmental regulations pertinent to medical physics.
  • Physics of Radiation Therapy
    Clinical radiation oncology physics; principles of radiation-producing equipment; photon and electron beams; ionization chambers and calibration protocols; brachytherapy, dose modeling and calculations; treatment planning.
  • Physics of Medical/Molecular Imaging
    Physical principles of diagnostic radiology, fluoroscopy, computed tomography; principles of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging; radioisotope production, gamma cameras, SPECT systems, PET systems; diagnostic and nuclear medicine facilities and regulations. The course includes a component emphasizing the emerging field of molecular imaging.
  • Image-Based Anatomy
    Taught by a radiation oncologist, this medical physics course will focus on major organ systems and disease areas and be presented from a radiologic or imaging (including cross-sectional) viewpoint in addition to a standard anatomy and physiology presentation. This course is required by the ABR.
  • Introductory Practicum I and II
    Two-semester lecture series offering an introduction to various subspecialties of medical physics including radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine and medical health physics.
  • Clinical Practicum
    Practical experience in a subspecialty of medical physics including radiation therapy, diagnostic imaging, radiation safety, and nuclear medicine.  Taking place in a clinical setting and supervised by a qualified medical physicist, the 256 hour practicum provides an understanding of instrumentation methodology, calibration, treatment planning, and quality assurance; and may include patient interaction, clinical conference attendance, and a review of new techniques in radiation oncology.
  • Capstone I and II
    Two-semester, individual research project (extended research paper or original research) resulting in a final paper and short oral presentation that is the culmination of an MMP student’s graduate study.
  • Medical Radiation Engineering
    Fundamental concepts underlying radiological physics and radiation dosimetry. Covers photon and neutron attenuation, radiation and charged particle equilibrium, interactions of photons and charged particles with matter and radiotherapy dosimetry, including photographic, calorimetric, chemical and thermoluminescence dosimetry.
  • Biomedical Image Analysis
    Theoretical and practical fundamentals of modern quantitative image analysis that apply to all of the major and emerging modalities in biological imaging and in vivo biomedical imaging.  Covers traditional image processing techniques and advanced algorithms for image registration, image segmentation, and statistical shape analysis.

Outstanding faculty

Faculty Bios

Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Radiology, Bioengineering and Radiation Oncology.

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Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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