Course Title: Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Radiotherapy Treatment Planning

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Radiotherapy Treatment Planning

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Course guide info and changes due to COVID-19: As a consequence of courses being delivered remotely in Semester 2 2020, course guides may not reflect all courses assessments and activities. This is because some information in the course guide is fixed, such as learning outcomes, and some may change according to the semester of delivery. Please refer to Canvas for details regarding your assessment and activities for each of your Semester 2 courses and talk to your course coordinator if you have any questions.


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: John Ryan

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7909

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.08.016

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Enforced Pre-requisites: PHYS2092 Radiotherapy Physics and Modelling or equivalent course and BIOL2201 Human Structure and Function or equivalent course

Enforced Co-requisites:  None

Course Description

In this course, students will begin learning the theories and practices relevant to modern clinical Radiation Therapy.

Students will participate in:

  • Radiotherapy lectures where they will begin to explore the techniques and methodologies that are used in radiation oncology
  • Practical laboratories and tutorials where they can develop an understanding of department workflow and the fundamental skills required for radiation therapy
  • Practical exercises where they will be required to plan clinical treatment plans
  • Virtual simulation activities using a virtual Linear Accelerator

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC215 Masters in Medical Physics;

  •  PLO 1. Advanced and integrated understanding of the applications of physical processes to the diagnosis and treatment of disease, including an understanding of contemporary developments in professional practice.
  • PLO 4. Skills to investigate, analyse and interrogate scientific data to ensure quality control of complex technological systems and to diagnose causes of discrepancies.
  • PLO 5. Skills to identify problems, generate novel solutions and evaluate their effectiveness.
  • PLO 6. Communication and research skills to interpret Medical Physics issues and justify decisions for specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • PLO 8. Demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice in fields related to Medical and Health Physics.
  • PLO 9. Demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills with a high level of personal autonomy and accountability.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Develop and critically apply the knowledge that underpins Medical Physics in Radiation Therapy e.g. Radiotherapy planning, dose calculation algorithms, linear accelerator commissioning, brachytherapy and quality assurance. 
  2. Utilise 3D planning software to design and optimise radiation dose distributions for oncology applications.
  3. Critically apply knowledge of radiation dosimetry principles and critical appraisal of literature to complete radiotherapy plan evaluations.
  4. Critically apply knowledge of quality assurance to range of procedures.
Students will be expected to demonstrate understanding of the theoretical basis of Radiation Therapy and the applications of this theory to the clinical case studies covered in the lectures. The laboratories and tutorials are designed to equip students with skills required for basic procedures and establish the safety practices.

Overview of Learning Activities

The student will be involved in learning activities that include face to face activities (including lectures, tutorials and computer laboratories), virtual linear accelerator activities and self-directed study.

You will be involved in teaching and learning activities that include:

  1. Active participation in laboratory activities in the VERT suite and in the treatment planning suite
  2. Attendance and participation in Lecture and Tutuorial Sessions
  3. Radiation Therapy Planning Practicals
  4. Self-directed learning activity at the level expected of a post-graduate student

This course aims to encourage you to read outside the prescribed texts and study independently. Attendance at tutorials and laboratory sessions are compulsory. Any reasons for non-attendance must be discussed with the course coordinator.

Throughout the semester you will receive FEEDBACK on your learning in various forms. Class and individual discussion on performance in tests, practicals and tutorials etc is one form of feedback that you should use to guide your learning. Self-assessment tests and questions provided with practical exercises are designed to assist your learning and provide you with the opportunity to gauge your own learning of the course material.

Teacher Guided Hours: 50-60 per semester

Learner Directed Hours: 100 per semester

Overview of Learning Resources

The course will be supported by prescribed and recommended text books and online library-based resources. Students are encouraged to explore the course syllabus independently, and read widely in the area.


Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Mid-semester Test

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 2: Written Assignment

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLO 4

Assessment Task 3: Planning

Part A - Planning Portfolio

Weighting 15%

Part B - Planning Exam

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 3

Assessment Task 4: Final Exam

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4