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Indiana University Bloomington
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PHYS-P 472/572 Radiation Oncology Physics

Credit hours: 3

Course Description
This is an introductory course to the physical principles, equipment, processes, imaging guidance and clinical techniques involved in the treatment of cancer patients with external radiation beams and radioactive sources. Various external radiation beam types and their energy deposition characteristics are described. Treatment planning dose calculation algorithms and point dose calculations are discussed. The use of international dosimetry protocols for radiation beam calibrations are covered in detail.


  • P371 Radiation Science Fundamentals
    or equivalent courses
    or the consent of the instructor

Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Describe the role of the medical physicist within the context of the radiation oncology clinic
  • Perform point dose calculations for radiation therapy and derive output factor (MU)
  • Describe dose distribution characteristics
  • Describe the processes of IMRT and associated QA procedures
  • Describe Brachytherapy fundamentals
  • Describe the fundamentals of computer-based treatment planning including
  • Plan for special electron treatment techniques including
  • Describe, identify and/or diagram radiation therapy devices
  • Describe the process of Machine Acquisition
  • Identify requirements for Quality Assurance (QA), describe relevant methodologies and perform calculations
  • Describe the rationale for special techniques in radiation therapy
  • Describe the fundamentals of Radiation Protection in Radiotherapy

Required and Recommended Textbooks

  • Required:  The Physics of Radiation Therapy, 4th edition Khan, Faiz M
  • Recommended:  The Physics of Radiology, Johns and Cunningham

A homework assignment will normally be assigned every 2 weeks.


3 exams will be given during the semester, each equally weighted.    The exam content will include a combination of any or all of the following: true/false, matching, multiple choice, calculation and problem solving.

PHYS-P 472 requirements compared with PHYS-P 572 requirements.
Students taking this course at the undergraduate level (P472) will be required to take three sectional examinations. The graduate-level course (P572) requires a comprehensive final examination based both on course content and the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examinations.