The Physics of Medical Imaging 1 MED5303

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

Interaction of radiation with matter, with particular emphasis on imaging with ionising radiation. Radioactive decay with particular emphasis on imaging with ionising radiation or therapy.


Over 12 weeks teaching sessions include e-learning and

20 lectures of 1.5 hours each

6 hours of practical

1.5 hours tutorials

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



Assessment is by examination of 90 mins duration worth 60% of the mark

Two assignments 20% each, worth 40% of the marks. Students are assigned problems e.g. safety calculations, shielding from the field of radiation physics.

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The course aims to cover in depth

■ the interaction of ionising radiation with matter:

■ at a fundamental physics level

■ in the production of x-rays for imaging

■ in the formation of medical images

■ radioactive decay and its uses in medicine

■ the interaction of ultrasound with matter in the formation of medical images

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

At the end of this course the student will be able, with reference to the guidelines and evidence, to :

■ critically review the range of medical imaging modalities - both ionising and non-ionising and discuss their utility in a wide range of conditions

■ critically appraise the legislation and guidance that applies to ionising radiation safety

■ communicate to a wide range of people the normal and pathological appearances of images and identify common imaging artefacts

■ explain and discuss the factors that affect diagnostic radiology system performance

■ critically appraise the principles of operational radiation protection to a level that would allow the planning and execution of a radiation room e.g. X-Rays

■ critically discuss the role of the radiation safety expert and the importance of safety culture

■ understand the IT environment in radiation departments including issues around interconnectivity of systems

■ critically assess irradiance measurement practice in ultraviolet phototherapy

■ communicate to a wide range of people from peers to the lay public, the dichotomy between diagnostic value and radiation dose

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.