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Indiana University Bloomington
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PHYS-P 314 Introduction to Medical Physics

Credit hours: 3

Course Description:
This course will introduce fundamental principles and concepts related to the interactions of ionizing radiation with physical and biological systems. The course applies physics to medicine and biology and emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students are expected to become proficient at applying concepts and problem solving skills to selected areas in the radiation sciences including radiation protection, radiology and radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. 


  • P201 (or P221)


  • P202 (or P222); may be taken concurrently

Course Objectives:

  1. To understand the physical concepts of ionizing radiation
  2. To understand the interactions between ionizing radiation and biological materials
  3. To understand the principles of Health Physics
  4. The interpretation of  diagnostic images with an understanding of the physical limitations of the technique
  5. Have a basic knowledge of the principles of physics and medicine as they pertain to radiation therapy

Course Topics:

  • Medical Physics and Radiological Physics
    • Radiation Physics
    • Radiation Biology
    • Health Physics
  • Diagnostic Imaging
    • Film and Digital Radiography
    • CT
    • MRI
    • PET
    • Ultrasound
  • Radiation Therapy
    • External Beam Therapy
    • Radiation Detection
    • Brachytherapy
    • Treatment Planning

Required Textbook:

  • RadiationTherapy Physics, third edition, Hendee, Ibbott and Hendee (Wiley-Liss, 2005).

Supplemental Texts:

  • Radiobiology for the Radiologist, Eric J. Hall and Amato Giaccia, 6th Edition (Lippincott,Williams, & Wilkins, 2006)
  • The Physics of Radiology, Harold Johns and John Cunningham, 4th edition (Charles C. Thomas, 1983)