MSc in Medical Physics
Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2015. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time. This qualification is not available to new students. If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification please contact the Centre for Qualifications and Ceremonies on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.
This MSc course is for those who want to explore aspects of medical physics, in particular medical imaging and the physics of radiotherapy, at postgraduate level. If you have a background in physics/engineering and currently work, or wish to work, in a clinical setting, there is an additional pathway through the qualification which is accredited by the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).
The MSc includes two compulsory 60-credit taught modules and a project module. The two taught modules use the innovative teaching methods pioneered by The Open University to provide you with a good knowledge of the subject as well as giving you a chance to explore a topic of your choice in further depth. The project module allows you to undertake a substantial piece of independent research based on the knowledge and skills you will have developed in the taught modules. If you are following the IPEM pathway you will need to make sure that your project is of a practical, investigative nature requiring laboratory work or computing. If you are on the IPEM pathway you will also have to study an additional 10-credit module.
Planning your studies
To enrol on any of the MSc in Medical Physics modules you must, normally, hold an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject. If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but must supply evidence of your study or experience. Your case will be referred to the MSc in Science Admissions Panel. For further advice, email the postgraduate science team.
There are additional entry requirements for S829 and SXP810, which relate to the pathway accredited by IPEM. To take these modules you must hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in physics or engineering. IPEM accreditation is now available until the end of 2015.
You will need good computing skills (e.g. able to search the Web, use email, use word processing packages and take part in online forums). You should also be able to carry out mathematical manipulations (e.g. algebraic rearrangement of equations, use exponentials and logs). Please see the individual module descriptions to ensure that you are properly prepared before starting to study for this qualification.
All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for the level of study you wish to take. We strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website.
Because of the demands that study of the degree will make on you, we recommend that you take only one 60-credit module at a time. You must complete the degree within seven years and no later than 31 December 2015.
You must have successfully completed either or preferably both of the 60-credit taught modules before starting the project module (S810 or SXP810). Your choice of topic for the project module must relate to the knowledge-based learning outcomes of one of the 60-credit taught modules.
You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits (at least 70 on the IPEM pathway) from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
Career relevance and employability
Completing this qualification will equip you with a base of postgraduate level knowledge and understanding in medical physics as well as providing you with a set of key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career. You will learn to carry out critical evaluation of current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will learn the basic science behind radiation protection of patients and staff and be able to discuss some of the ethical issues associated with imaging and radiotherapy.
You will learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences including professional audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a postgraduate level.
The nature of this qualification will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your ICT skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.
The pathway through this MSc accredited by the UK Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) will be of interest to those who wish to work in a clinical setting.
There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
For this masters degree you require:
180 credits from the following compulsory modules:
Postgraduate compulsory modules
Imaging in medicine (S809)
Explore the diagnostic and therapeutic use of medical imaging – including X-ray; ultrasound; magnetic resonance and radionuclide – and consider the risks and social issues involved.
See full description
Jan 2015 FINAL
MSc project module (S810)
Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project course in science, and develop essential skills like report writing.
See full description
Plus the discontinued 60-credit module S819
For the pathway through the MSc in Medical Physics accredited by IPEM you require:
190 credits from the following compulsory modules:
Plus the discontinued modules S819 (60 credits) and S829 (10 credits)
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.
Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Science entitling you to use the letters MSc Med Phys (Open) after your name. The degree will be classified as pass, merit or distinction. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.
How to register
If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of
our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the
module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module.
During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.
See a full list of modules available for this qualification