Skip to content

Toggle service links
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

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 masters course will enable you 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 or 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 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 the 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 study for the MSc in Medical Physics you must, normally, hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject relevant to this qualification. 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 Science Postgraduate 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 also need good computing skills and a level of proficiency in the English language that is adequate for study at postgraduate level. The following should give you some indication of the basic IT and language skills we expect students to have before enrolling on our postgraduate qualifications in science. Modules in this qualification will additionally require you to carry out mathematical manipulations (e.g. algebraic rearrangement of equations, use exponentials and logs). Please refer to individual module descriptions to ensure that you are adequately prepared before starting to study for this qualification.

Basic IT Skills: Our science postgraduate modules are delivered online, and consequently rely heavily on the use of IT. For example, you will need to access core reading materials, audiovisual and other online resources, communicate with other students, with your tutors and with module teams, search for information, and produce and submit assignments online. Some IT skills are taught within our modules, but you should have a basic level of competence before starting with us (e.g. be able to search the Web, use email, use word processing packages and take part in online forums).

Proficiency in the use of English: All of our taught modules are in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting the IELTS website.

Due to 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 key transferrable skills which will be relevant to your career and for the workplace, as well as providing you with a base knowledge and understanding of medical physics at postgraduate level. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in this field of study as well as evaluating a range of 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 also 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 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.

You can find 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 Credits Next start
Imaging in medicine (S809)

See full description

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

60 Nov 2015

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:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Imaging in medicine (S809)

See full description

Plus the discontinued modules S819, SXP810 (both 60 credits) and S829 (10 credits)

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, 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. Please note that credit transfer will not apply to the MSc project module (S810). 

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Master of Science in Medical Physics 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

About this Taught Masters
Code F50
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits or 190 for IPEM pathway

Get a prospectus

Download or