Radiotherapy Physics

Course description:

This course covers practical and theoretical aspects of medical physics in the field of radiotherapy.

First basic radiation physics will be discussed: e.g. production of radiation, radioactive decay, characteristics of ionizing radiation, interaction with matter and measurement of absorbed dose.

The next part covers the essentials of dose calculation using various algorithms and dose optimization such as intensity modulated therapy (IMRT) and volumetric arc therapy (VMAT).

The third topic is image guided radiotherapy (IGRT): e.g. inter- and intrafraction motion, position verification devices (electronic portal imaging device, cone-beam CT and MRI), real time imaging and various methods to deal with motion.

Finally, MRI guided treatment is discussed: e.g. dose delivery in magnetic fields, MRI linac design, workflow and plan adaptation.

Learning goals: upon completion of the course the student understands

  • the basic concepts of the linear accelerator and the generation of X-ray’s
  • the photon and electron interactions with matter important for radiotherapy
  • physical aspects of photon beams
  • principles of dosimetry
  • the concepts of clinically applied dose calculation algorithms and optimization algorihtms
  • the concepts of IMRT and VMAT
  • the origin of geometrical uncertainties on various time scales
  • the various types of adaptive radiotherapy (offline, online and real time)
  • the effect of the magnetic field on the dose distribution
  • the effect of the magnetic field on the measurement
  • the need for MRI-only planning and fast dose calculation
  • the workflow needed for online MRI guided radiotherapy

Literature/study material: Khan’s the physics of radiation therapy, Khan, Faiz M, ISBN 9781451182453 (an electronic version of the book is available at the UU library), handouts and articles on specific topics.


  • Written exam: 80% attendance to the practical work is obligatory to qualify for examination
  • Oral presentation and discussion: 20%

The weights indicated above are applied to calculate the final mark. To pass the course the grade for each component must be a 5.0 or higher and the final mark must be an unrounded 5.5 or higher. (Anglo-Saxon grade mark D)

Date: every Wednesday from 10 February – 14 April 2021; lectures in the morning and practical/tutorial sessions in the afternoon.


Please check the registration procedure for the enrollment deadlines.

Other UU and TU/e partnership students can register for this course via Osiris Student.

Students from outside the UU or TU/E partnership can register for this course by sending an email to Please include your name, student number, Master’s programme and the course code.