Master of Science in Medical Physics

Master of Science in Medical Physics

Offered in Block Release
  • Course Duration
  • PostgraduateSkill level
  • $8553.00


Purpose of the Programme
● Provide an education framework in the university and clinical environments leading to professional competence in medical physics
● Lay appropriate underpinning scientific knowledge leading to high levels of competence and interest in new technology and efficient practice in the highly dynamic environment of radio therapeutic and diagnostic imaging
● Inculcate in students research mindedness and awareness and prepare students to engage in research related to medical physics and the broad environment in which it is practiced
● Ensure students appreciate patients’ needs and provide informed, appropriate and compassionate health care

The programme has two distinct components which are aimed at producing a medical physicists that is educated and clinically orientated and therefore fit to practice on completion of the degree Clinical practice component enables the student to build, reinforce and consolidate on theory and clinical learning. The clinical component shall follow recommendations for Medical Physics Education in AFRA Member States endorsed by the Federation of African Medical Physics Organisations (FAMPO). This is based on three IAEA Medical Physics Clinical Training Series Handbooks namely TCS 37, TCS 47 and TCS 50. Students shall be required to compile a logbook or portfolio which reflects the competencies attained during their clinical training. A detailed outline of the clinical programme is shown in Appendix 1. A formal, independent assessment of the students shall take place at the end of the training programme to confirm successful completion of the clinical training programme.

Specialist Focus:
It is designed to provide an overview of both the theoretical background and applications of physics in the medical field. It is the intention of this programme to address some of the pertinent issues in medicine today, the availability of personnel to monitor and maintain quality in the equipment and procedures used in medicine, and also to carry out sustained research.

These regulations should be read in conjunction with the Faculty of Applied Science and the NUST General Academic Regulations.

Entry Requirements
Bachelor's Degree in Physics, Biophysics, Radiography or relevant Engineering with a minimum grade of 2.2 or equivalent. Preference will be given to those who are already working in the Health Delivery Sector.



Consists of module work running for two semesters. Part II shall consist of clinical practice and a research project work leading to a dissertation and a portfolio.
The Research Project may commence at any time after the Part I Second Semester examinations. It may be undertaken in any relevant industry or any institution approved by the Departmental Board. The dissertation report shall normally be submitted at least one month before the end of the fourth semester.

Part II

A student is required to pass a minimum of eight taught modules and shall be required to choose at least one module from the list of elective modules.
A minimum of 340 credits shall be required for the Award of the Degree.

A taught module shall be assessed by a four hour written examination at the end of each semester.
The final grade in the module work shall be based on 25% from continuous assessment and 75% from the final written examination. 3.3 To pass a module a student must obtain an overall mark of 50% from both continuous assessment and the final written examination. 3.4 A student shall be expected to obtain a minimum of 50% in the Master’s Thesis project work and 50% in the Clinical Placement portfolio. The thesis and clinical placement portfolio shall contribute on equal weighting, 40% of the overall mark of the degree classification.

A student who obtains a minimum of 80 Credits in Part I and is not allowed to proceed to Part II may be allowed to repeat the Part provided he / she scored an overall aggregate of 50%. A student who is not allowed to proceed to Part II because he/she could not earn a minimum of up to 80 Credits shall withdraw from the Programme.
A student may be allowed to proceed to Part II while carrying a Part I module, provided he/she has earned a total of 120 Credits in that Part. Such modules shall normally be examined at the next regularly scheduled examinations. A student may not be allowed to carry-over a Module for more than one year. Such a student shall be required to withdraw from the programme.

A student who has satisfied the examiners in the modules studied by earning a minimum of three hundred and forty (340) Credits shall be awarded the Master of Science Degree in Medical Physics.
A student who passes eight (8) of the taught modules, successfully completes the Clinical Practice but fails to complete the Research project work, may be awarded a Post-graduate Diploma.
A student who fails to complete the programme but has passed at least six (6) of the taught modules and successfully completed both the Clinical Practice and the Research project, may be awarded a Post-graduate Diploma.



MAPH 5113 Human Anatomy And Physiology 20 Credits
This module covers the relevant anatomy and physiology of each of the major body systems; Nervous system; Thermoregulation; The skeletomuscular system; Endocrine system; Reproduction; Genetics; Cardiovascular system; Respiratory system; The kidney; Gastrointestinal system; Introduction to disease classification; Principles of diagnosis testing and decision-making in medicine as well as malignant disease.

MAPH 5114 Physics And Biology Of Ionising Radiations 20 Credits
The module looks at the interaction of photons, charged particles and neutrons with matter, essential properties of atomic nuclei, quantities and units according to the International Commission on Radiological Units and Measurements (ICRU), radiation measurement and detection; Physical basis of dosimetry, introduce different theories and describe the principle of operation of the various types of dosimeters; Overview of medical applications of ionising radiation; Radiobiology and laboratory work.

MAPH 5115 Medical Imaging 20 Credits
The module looks at the theory of Image Formation; Image Production; Images and Information; Fourier Transforms, FFT, Tomographic Image Reconstruction/Filtered Back projection, k-space representation; Quality Assurance; ROC Analysis; Image display and Storage; Picture Archiving and Communication Systems and an overview of medical imaging modalities.

MAPH 5116 Radiotherapy Physics 20 Credits
The module explores the basic Concepts; External Beam Therapy - Introduction: radiotherapy versus chemotherapy or surgery; Effects of radiation on cells, cell survival curves; External-beam therapy: linear accelerators, photon and electron beams; Cobalt units: source production, decay schemes; Kilovoltage: circuits, dose distribution, Beam characteristics: percentage depth dose, beam-data measurement; Treatment planning: wedged fields, beam blocks, treatment simulators; Quality control: Radiation dosimetry and detectors; Brachytherapy - Historical development; Types of treatment: Interstitial, intracavitary, intraluminal, moulds; Brachytherapy sources: characteristics, production, specification, apparent activity, AKR; Units: exposure, AKR and dose; Dose calculations: source geometry, self-absorption, capsule attenuation, tissue attenuation and scatter, dosimetry systems (Manchester, Paris); Measurement: activity, dose; Unsealed source therapy: Iodine-131, typical doses, other isotopes (P-32, Y-90, SR-89) and radiation protection in radiotherapy.

MAPH 5220 Radiation Protection, Safety And Quality Management 20 Credits
This module examines ionising radiation safety; Ultrasound safety; Electrical safety; Laser safety; Microwaves, radio-frequency and magnetic fields; Ultraviolet radiation; Chemical safety; Biological hazards; Mechanical workshop safety; Finance and Management of Medical Physics; Personnel and Management in a Hospital; Medical Research; Quality Management System and code of ethics.

MAPH 5221 Non-Ionising Radiation 20 Credits
The module examines ultrasound; Interaction of ultrasound with tissue; thermal effects; physiotherapy; interaction with red cells; attenuation; absorption; reflection and refraction; velocity; lasers; Interaction of laser light and tissue, coefficient; classification of lasers, safety, therapeutic uses of lasers; surgery; ophthalmic; photodynamic therapy; Microwaves; UV and infrared.

MAPH 5222 Medical Electronic And Instrumentation 20 Credits
This module outlines electronic circuits for medical imaging, Nuclear Instrumentation standards, Microprocessor technology in health care delivery, Artificial Intelligence, computer interfacing, Image reconstruction and spectral analysis.

MAPH 5223 Magnetic Reasonance Imaging 20 Credits
This module looks at the introduction to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Nuclear Magnetism; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: Properties in Matter; NMR in tissue; Imaging Sequences; - spin echo, multi echo spin echo, fast spin echo; Spatial encoding - k-space and the MR image; Frequency encoding; Phase encoding Half Fourier imaging; STIR; Ultrafast imaging; 3D image acquisition; MRI artefacts and MRI equipment.

MAPH 5224 X-Ray Imaging 20 Credits
This module looks at the X-Ray Image Formation: Analogue and Digital Detectors; Conventional X-Ray diagnosis; Image Quality (Noise, Contrast, Spatial Resolution); Noise and Image Perception; Imaging Systems; Mammography; Fluoroscopy; Computed Tomography; Digital Subtraction Radiography and Angiography.

MAPH 5225 Nuclear Medicine 20 Credits
The module examines tracer studies, Roentgen, Becquerel, Hevesy; Instrumentation: Thyroid uptake counter, rectilinear scanner (resolution, sensitivity, dose); Gamma camera: Anger camera, technetium, camera uniformity (sensitivity) computers; Gamma camera: Construction, collimator, Anger's equations, dose utilisation, multi-head cameras, pharmaceuticals; Tracer techniques: red-cell volume, compartment models, I-131 uptake test, radiation dose form uptake test, requirements for imaging; Isotope generators: technetium, Krypton, transient/secular equilibrium, isotopes and pharmaceuticals used; Image assessment: aberrations/quality assurance, mechanical and thermal shock, functional studies; Other topics: statistics of counting, well counter, energy discrimination and elementary statistics of photomultiplier tube.

MAPH 5226 Medical Ultrasound 20 Credits
This module looks at physical sound of the Ultrasound Laboratory Room Requirements; Types of Equipment; Image Storage; Image Retrieval; Safety Considerations; Components of Ultrasound Equipment Pulse Echo Systems; Doppler Imaging; Colour Flow Imaging; Continuous Wave Systems; Transducers; Computers; Film Archiving Performance and Safety Standards; Uses of Ultrasound in the Body; Correlative Imaging Angiography; Digital Radiography; Computerized Tomography; Magnetic Resonance Imaging Future Trends in Medical Imaging; Instrumentation A-Mode; Static B-mode; Bi-stable; Grayscale; Real-time; Mechanical sector; Linear array; Phased array; Annular array; Duplex (Doppler); M-mode; Scan converters; Test Objects; Test and Calibration Procedures Output Measurements and Biological Effects; Acoustic output measurements; Biological effects; Doppler Ultrasound: Doppler flowmeters; Doppler shift signals and Colour Doppler Imaging.

MAPH 5227 Introduction To Bioengineering 20 Credits
This module has an overview of structure and function of biological materials, implant materials and biocompatibility, materials for medical prosthetics, radiation effects on biomaterials; Mechanical stresses on limbs and joints; Augmenting and replacing body functions: corporeal devices, mechanical, fluid and electrical systems; power sources- drug delivery; safety-critical systems; examples (pacemakers, implanted defibrillatory heart-lung machine dialysis, joints); Functional evaluation and properties of materials.

MAPH 5228 Bioelectricity 20 Credits
This module explores the sources of physiological signals: electrical signals (generation of nerve action potential, propagation, velocity, circulating currents, muscles, smooth and striated, oscillators, trans-membrane potentials) - pressure (perfusion, hydrostatic dynamic); flow (blood, gas, food, urine); biochemistry (gas tension, pH, glucose concentration); Accessing physiological signals: (blood flow as a case study to illustrate different methods); images; electrodes (micro, needle, surface, calomel, ion-selective, chemfet); biomagmetism (SQUID); transducers (pressure, flow, ultrasound, temperature, force, displacement); invasive and non-invasive methods.

MAPH 5229 Audiology And Audiometry 20 Credits
The module examines basic anatomy and physiology; mechanisms of hearing- effects of excessive sound levels; pathology of hearing; genetic and age effects; basic psychoacoustic properties; Philosophy of audiometric testing; Role and types of audiometry; Pure tone, air and bone conduction audiometry; Physical basis of objective tests of middle ear function; Electrophysiological tests of hearing and optoacoustic emissions and speech audiometry.

MAPH 5230 Mathematical Techniques 20 Credits
This module is on mathematical techniques for system modelling, data analysis and data classification: similarities and difference between modelling classification and analytical techniques; Data - signals against time, 'XY' data and images; analogue and digital data, equivalence of representations, sampling theorem; Time and frequency domain analysis - duality of domains; Statistical properties of signals in relation to analysis; stationarity, ergodic hypothesis; Convolution, correlation and frequency transformation, methods of calculation, relationship between, applications of filtering; windowing and estimation techniques; Pattern recognition and data classification; similarities and differences; Pattern recognition - classical, syntactic, neural nets: applications of, problems with; classification techniques - cluster analysis, principal components, neural nets; Applications of techniques - problem identification, data validation, result validation; common pitfalls and errors.


MAPH 6000 Clinical Practice 90 Credits
This module looks at supervised clinical training in the physics aspects in radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, diagnostic radiology and radiation protection; Factors affecting patient care, personnel monitoring, regulatory controls, research and development, teaching, acceptance testing and commissioning of equipment; Monitoring equipment performance and calibration, quality control and professional awareness. Clinical practice shall be assessed by presentations, practical assignments, portfolio and oral assessments.

MAPH 6010 Research Project 90 Credits
This module provides the research component of the MSc programme. The research shall be carried out over a period of six months. Such projects shall be approved by the department before they embark on them. This shall be done in an industrial/clinical setting. The dissertation shall be assessed in part by an oral examination.


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Mr Walter Magagula

Mr Walter Magagula

Senior Assistant Registrar