Medical Physics MSc

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Why Surrey?

Our Medical Physics MSc programme is well-established and internationally renowned. We are accredited by IPEM (Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine) and we have trained some 1,000 medical physicists, so you can look forward to high-quality teaching during your time at Surrey.

Programme overview

The syllabus for the MSc in Medical Physics is designed to provide the knowledge, skills and experience required for a modern graduate medical physicist, placing more emphasis than many other courses on topics beyond ionising radiation (X-rays and radiotherapy).

Examples of other topics include magnetic resonance imaging and the use of lasers in medicine.

You will learn the theoretical foundations underpinning modern imaging and treatment modalities, and will gain a set of experimental skills essential in a modern medical physicist’s job.

These skills are gained through experimental sessions in the physics department and practical experiences at collaborating hospitals using state-of-the-art clinical facilities.

Why not discover more about our programme in our video?


This programme is studied full-time over one academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation project. Part-time studemts study the same content over 2 academic years.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that all modules are compulsory, there are no optional modules, and may be subject to change.


Common room

A student common room is available for the use of all Physics students.


The University has an extensive range of PC and UNIX machines, full internet access and email. The University has invested in resources to allow students to develop their IT skills. It also has an online learning environment, SurreyLearn. Computers are located in dedicated computer rooms. Access to these rooms is available 24 hours per day.


Hounsfield Prize

A prize of £200 is awarded annually for the best dissertation on the Medical Physics programme. Sir Hounsfield was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1979 for his work on Computed Tomography.

Mayneord Prize

A prize of £200 in memory of Professor Valentine Mayneord will be awarded to the student with the best overall performance on the Medical Physics course. Professor Mayneord was one of the pioneers of medical physics, who had a long association with the Department and encouraged the growth of teaching and research in the field.

Knoll Prize

A prize of £300 in memory of Professor Glenn Knoll is awarded annually to the student with outstanding performance in Radiation Physics and Radiation Measurement on any of the department's MSc programmes. Professor Knoll was a world-leading authority in radiation detection, with a long association with the department

IPEM Student Prize (MSc Medical Physics)

A prize of £250 is awarded annually to a student with outstanding performance in their dissertation.


The programme integrates the acquisition of core scientific knowledge with the development of key practical skills with a focus on professional career development within medical physics and related industries. The principle educational aims and outcomes of learning are to provide participants with advanced knowledge, practical skills and understanding applied to medical physics, radiation detection instrumentation, radiation and environmental practice in an industrial or medical context.  This is achieved by the development of the participants’ understanding of the underlying science and technology and by the participants gaining an understanding of the legal basis, practical implementation and organisational basis of medical physics and radiation measurement.


The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

  • Concepts and theories: Students will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the concepts, theories and ideas in physics in Radiation Physics and the main diagnostic and therapy areas of medical physics through the taught elements
  • Instrumentation and materials: Students will understand the operation, function and performance of the key devices and technologies or principles of the physics relevant to medical applications.
  • Methods and best practices: Students will become fully acquainted with the scientific methods and best practices of physics and exposed to a specialized field described in the programme handbook

During their 60-credit Research Project students will gain further practical, analytical or programming abilities through working on a more extended investigation. This may be an experiment- or modelling-based project, for which the student will be encouraged to propose and set in place original approaches.

The dissertation required at the end of the Research Project has the objective of encouraging students to write clearly and express their understanding of the work, thereby developing the required skills of scientific writing. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge of physics, technology and processes in the subject of the course and the ability to apply these in the context of the course
  • Ability to research problems involving innovative practical or theoretical work
  • Ability to formulate ideas and response to problems, refine or expand knowledge in response to specific ideas or problems and communicate these ideas and responses
  • Ability to evaluate/argue alternative solutions and strategies independently and assess/report on own/others work with justification

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • The ability to plan and execute, under supervision, an experiment or theoretical investigation, analyse critically the results and draw valid conclusions
  • Students should be able to evaluate the level of uncertainty in their results, understand the significance of error analysis and be able to compare their theoretical (experimental) results with expected experimental (theoretical) outcomes, or with published data
  • They should be able to evaluate the significance of their results in this context
  • The ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Professional practical skills

  • Technical mastery of the scientific and technical information presented and the ability to interpret this in the professional context
  • Ability to plan projects and research methods in the subject of the course
  • Understand and be able to promote the scientific and legal basis of the field through peer and public communication
  • Aware of public concern and ethical issues in radiation and environmental protection
  • Able to formulate solutions in dialogue with peers, mentors and others

Key / transferable skills

  • Identify, assess and resolve problems arising from material in lectures and during experimental/research activities
  • Make effective use of resources and interaction with others to enhance and motivate self –study
  • Make use of sources of material for development of learning and research; such as journals, books and the internet
  • Take responsibility for personal and professional development
  • Be self-reliant
  • Responsibility for personal and professional development.

The learning outcomes of the MSC Medical Physics may be summarised as follows:

Subject knowledge and skills

  • A systematic understanding of Medical Physics in an academic and professional context, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the state of the art
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to research projects in Medical Physics
  • Familiarity with generic issues in management and safety and their application to Medical Physics in a professional context

Core academic skills

  • The ability to plan and execute under supervision, an experiment or investigation, analyse critically the results and draw valid conclusions. Students should be able to evaluate the level of uncertainty in their results, understand the significance of error analysis and be able to compare these results with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data; they should be able to evaluate the significance of their results in this context
  • The ability to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline
  • The ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Personal and key skills

  • The ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusions of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, accurately and informatively
  • The ability to manage their own learning and to make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources


We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities and through our international research collaboration. Hence, it may be possible to carry out the dissertation project abroad.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.



Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2017 £9,500 £19,000
Part-time Sep 2017 £4,800 £9,500

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Silvia Pani

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General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
MSc Full-time 12 months Sep 2017
MSc Part-time 24 months Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

A 2.2 honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in the physical sciences, electronics or in a relevant engineering discipline.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Loans, scholarships and financial support

There are many streams of funding for postgraduate students including awards, scholarships and loans. Learn more.


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Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees.

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The Braithwaite Family Foundation scholarship for Medical Physics

This scholarship will cover the fees of an MSc in Medical Physics for a UK student.

The scheme is open to UK applicants holding a Second Class degree or higher in Physics or a related subject.

Eligible MSc applicants will be e-mailed with information on the scholarship application process during Summer 2017. Interviews will take place in September 2017.

For more details

Surrey International Scholarship for Engineering and Physical Sciences

These university-funded scholarships are worth £2,000 - £4,000 for 2017 entry onto the MSc programmes within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences departments.

Offer holders for these programmes who are overseas feepayers and achieve either a 2:1 or a 1st class honours degree, or equivalent, are eligible. Those paying UK/EU fees are not eligible.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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