Medical Physics Course Descriptions


x = Fall semester
y = Spring semester

APPH E4010x: Introduction to nuclear science
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professor Ostrow
Prerequisite: Math V1202 & E1210 & Physics C1403 or their equivalents. This introductory course is for individuals with an interest in medical physics and other branches of radiation science. Topics covered include: basic concepts, nuclear models, semi-empirical mass formula, interaction of radiation with matter, nuclear detectors, nuclear structure and instability, radioactive decay processes and radiation, particle accelerators, and fission and fusion processes and technologies.

APPH E4330y: Radiobiology for medical physicists
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professor Zaider
Prerequisite: APPH E4010 or equivalent or Corequisite: APPH E4010. Interface between clinical practice and quantitative radiation biology. Microdosimetry, dose-rate effects and biological effectiveness thereof; radiation biology data, radiation action at the cellular and tissue level; radiation effects on human populations, carcinogenesis, genetic effects; radiation protection; tumor control, normal-tissue complication probabilities; treatment plan optimization.

APPH E4500x: Health physics
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professor Morgan
Prerequisite: APPH E4600 or Corequisite: APPH E4600; APPH E4330 recommended. This course presents the fundamental principles and objectives of health physics (radiation protection), the quantities of radiation dosimetry (the absorbed dose, equivalent dose, and effective dose) used to evaluate human radiation risks, elementary shielding calculations and protection measures for clinical environments, the characterization and proper use of health physics instrumentation, and the regulatory and administrative requirements of health physics programs in general and as applied to clinical activities.

APPH E4600x: Fundamentals of radiological physics and radiation dosimetry
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professor Meli
Prerequisite: APPH E4010 or equivalent or Corequisite: APPH E4010. Basic radiation physics: radioactive decay, radiation producing devices, characteristics of the different types of radiation (photons, charged and uncharged particles) and mechanisms of their interactions with materials. Essentials of the determination, by measurement and calculation, of absorbed doses from ionizing radiation sources used in medical physics (clinical) situations and for health physics purposes.

APBM E4650x: Anatomy for physicists and engineers
Lect. 3. 3 pts. Professors Rozenshtein, and Katz
Prerequisite: Engineering or physics background. A systemic approach to the study of the human body from a medical imaging point of view: skeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and urinary systems, breast and women’s issues, head and neck, and central nervous system. Lectures are reinforced by examples from clinical two- and three-dimensional and functional imaging (CT, MRI, PET, SPECT, U/S, etc.).

APPH E6319y: Clinical nuclear medicine physics
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professors Zanzonico
Prerequisite: APPH E4010 or equivalent recommended. Introduction to the instrumentation and physics used in clinical nuclear medicine and PET with an emphasis on detector systems, tomography and quality control. Problem sets, papers and term project.

APPH E6330y: Diagnostic radiology physics
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professors Jambawalikar and Liang
Prerequisite: APPH E4600. Physics of medical imaging. Imaging techniques: radiography, fluoroscopy, computed tomography, mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance.  Includes conceptual, mathematical / theoretical, and practical clinical physics aspects.

APPH E6335y: Radiation therapy physics
Lect: 3. 3 pts Professor Wuu
Prerequisites: APPH E4600; APPH E4330 recommended. Review of x-ray production and fundamentals of nuclear physics and radioactivity. Detailed analysis of radiation absorption and interactions in biological materials as specifically related to radiation therapy and radiation therapy dosimetry. Surveys of use of teletherapy isotopes and X-ray generators in radiation therapy plus the clinical use of interstitial and intracavitary isotopes. Principles of radiation therapy treatment planning and isodose calculations. Problem sets taken from actual clinical examples are assigned.

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APPH E4710x: Radiation instrumentation and measurement laboratory, I
Lect: 1. Lab: 4. 3 pts. Professor Arbo
Prerequisite: APPH E4010 or Corequisite: APPH E4010. Laboratory fee: $50 each term. Theory and use of alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray detectors and associated electronics for counting, energy spectroscopy, and dosimetry; radiation safety; counting statistics and error propogation; mechanisms of radiation emission and interaction. (Topic coverage may be revised.).

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Tutorial & Practicums 

(Practicums require a grade of B+ or better in the prerequisite course, adjusted at the discretion of the instructor, and permission of instructor and advisor.)

APPH E4501y: Medical health physics tutorial
Hours to be arranged. 0 pts. Professor Morgan
Prerequisites: Permission of the course coordinator. Required for, and limited to, M.S. degree candidates in the Medical Physics Program. Course addresses procedures for personnel and area monitoring, radiation and contamination surveys, instrument calibration, radioactive waste disposal, radiation safety compliance, licensure requirements and other matters contributing to professional competence in the field of medical health physics. Course includes lectures, seminars, tours, and hand-on experience. This two-week tutorial is offered immediately following spring semester final examinations and is taken for Pass/Fail only.

APPH E6333x, y: Radiation therapy physics practicum
Hours to be arranged. 3 pts. Professor Wuu
Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or better in APPH E6335 and permission of the instructor and the advisor. Students spend two to four days per week studying the clinical aspects of radiation therapy physics. Projects on the application of medical physics in cancer therapy within a hospital environment are assigned; each entails one or two weeks of work and requires a laboratory report. Two areas are emphasized: 1. computer-assisted treatment planning (design of typical treatment plans for various treatment sites including prostate, breast, head and neck, lung, brain, esophagus, and cervix) and 2. clinical dosimetry and calibrations (radiation measurements for both photon and electron beams, as well as daily, monthly, and part of annual QA).

APPH E6340x, y: Diagnostic radiology practicum
Hours to be arranged. 3 pts. Professor Jambawalikar
Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or better in APPH E6330 and permission of the instructor and the advisor. Practical applications of diagnostic radiology for various measurements and equipment assessments. Includes instruction and supervised practice in radiation safety procedures, image quality assessments, regulatory compliance, radiation dose evaluations and calibration of equipment. Students shall participate in the clinical QC of the following imaging equipment: Radiologic units (mobile and fixed), fluoroscopy units (mobile and fixed), angiography units, mammography units, CT scanners, MRI units and ultrasound units. The objective is familiarization in routine operation of test instrumentation and QC measurements utilized in diagnostic medical physics. The students are required to submit QC forms with data on three different types of radiology imaging equipment.

APPH E6365x, y: Nuclear medicine practicum
Hours to be arranged. 3 pts. Professor Esser
Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or better in APPH E6319 and permission of the instructor and the advisor. Practical applications of nuclear medicine theory and application for processing and analysis of clinical images and radiation safety and quality assurance programs. Topics may include tomography, instrumentation, and functional imaging. Reports.

APPH E6380x, y: Health physics practicum
Hours to be arranged. 3 pts. Professor Morgan
Prerequisite APPH E4501, Pre- or Co-requisite APPH E4500 and permission of the instructor and the advisor. Topics include radiation protection practices and procedures for clinical and biomedical research environments. Includes design, radiation safety surveys of diagnostic and therapeutic machine source facilities, the design and radiation protection protocols for facilities using unsealed sources of radioactivity – nuclear medicine suites and sealed sources – brachytherapy suites. Also includes radiation protection procedures for biomedical research facilities and the administration of programs for compliance to professional health physics standards and federal and state regulatory requirements for the possession and use of radioactive materials and machine sources of ionizing and non ionizing radiations in clinical situations. Individual topics are decided by the student and the collaborating Clinical Radiation Safety Officer.

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APPH E4550y: Medical physics seminar
Lect: 1. 0 pts. Professor Arbo
Required for all graduate students in the medical physics program. Practicing professionals and faculty in the field present overviews of selected topics in medical physics.

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Elective Courses

APPH E4711x or y: Radiation instrumentation and measurement laboratory, II
Lect: 1. Lab: 4. 3 pts. Professor Arbo
Prerequisite: APPH E4710. Laboratory fee: $50. Additional detector types; applications and systems including coincidence, low-level, and liquid scintillation counting; neutron activation; TLD dosimetry; gamma camera imaging. (Topic coverage may be revised.)

APPH E6336x: Advanced topics in radiation therapy
Lect: 3. 3 pts. Professors Amols and Wuu
Prerequisite: APPH E6335. Advanced technology applications in radiation therapy physics, including intensity modulated, image guided, stereotactic, and hypofractionated radiation therapy. Emphasis on advanced technological, engineering, clinical, and quality assurance issues associated with high technology radiation therapy and the special role of the medical physicist in the safe clinical application of these tools.

APAM E6650x,y: Research project
1-6 pts. Members of the Faculty
This course may be repeated for credit. A special investigation of a problem in nuclear engineering, medical physics, applied mathematics, applied physics, and/or plasma physics consisting of independent work on the part of the student and embodied in a formal report.

APPH E[numbers vary]: Third practicum
3pts. Staff.

For prerequisites and course descriptions see previous list.

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Optional Course

APAM E4999x and y-S4999: Supervised internship
1 pt. Members of the Faculty
Prerequisites: Internship and adviser’s approval (must be obtained in advance).  Only for master’s students in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics who may need relevant work experience as part of their program of study. Final report required. This course may not be taken for pass/fail or audited.

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