Course Title: Radiation Physics and Radiation Protection

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Radiation Physics and Radiation Protection

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Coordinator: Professor Rick Franich

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3390

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: City Campus 14.6.07

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment or E-mail

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students undertaking this course are assumed to have a thorough grounding in the following areas of undergraduate Physics such as provided by the recommended course in each case (or equivalents. A Bachelor’s degree majoring in Physics or another related discipline with appropriate experience would normally be sufficient):

  • Scientific mathematics, calculus, uncertainties (MATH1142 Calculus and Analysis 1, MATH1144 Calculus and Analysis 2, and MATH1129 Mathematics for Physicists)
  • Origins of radiation, radiation interactions with matter (PHYS2137 Optics and Radiation Physics)
  • Kinematics, energy, momentum, forces (PHYS2122 Mechanics)
  • Basic quantum mechanics and relativity (PHYS2123 Modern Physics and PHYS2140 Electromagnetics and Quantum Physics)
  • Electromagnetism, optics and waves (PHYS2127 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism, PHYS2137 Optics and Radiation Physics)

Course Description

This course is a core component of the Master of Medical Physics and Master of Applied Science in Medical and Health Physics. It will provide students with an opportunity to study a variety of issues and develop a range of skills relevant to Medical and Health Physics. The course is also relevant to the conduct of a successful research project within the context of the RMIT higher degrees program.

It specifically provides students with a knowledge and appreciation of a range of phenomena involving interactions between high energy photons, electrons and atomic matter, and develops familiarity with the ways in which these phenomena are used in modern devices and instrumentation, particularly in hospitals and medical use.

It introduces the student to radioactivity and instrumentation for radiation detection and dosimetry, giving the student an appreciation of how these can be used in modern radiation and health sciences.

It will also introduce to the student the physical basis, philosophy and practice of radiation protection and radiation health as well as how to apply the techniques in practical situations.

Radiation Protection will be considered for occupationally and medically exposed individuals as well as the general public. Contexts will include specific radiation exposure environments such as diagnostic imaging facilities, mining and industry, radiotherapy and natural radiation exposure. A range of radiation sources and exposure pathways will be studied.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Undertake complex calculations involving processes in radioactive decay and radiation interaction with matter;
  2. Describe the operation of various radiation detectors and radiation dosimeters;
  3. Assess the appropriateness of the use of differing radiation detector types for specific radiation measurement tasks;
  4. Recognise and assess a range of radiation exposure situations, and perform dosimetric estimations for individuals and populations;
  5. Understand and apply the philosophy of radiation protection with regard to both risks and benefits;
  6. Recommend and implement procedures to safeguard people from radiation hazards, including the inhalation of airborne radioactivity;
  7. Design shielding requirements for a diagnostic imaging facility.

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC215 Master of 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-2 Advanced understanding of the origins of radiation and its interactions with matter pertaining to the production and use of ionising radiation, with particular regard to the protection of people and environments.
  • 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.


This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MR233 Master of Applied Science (Medical & Health Physics):

Graduates of a Master of Applied Science by research will have:

  • PLO-1 a body of knowledge that includes the understanding of recent development in one or more disciplines.
  • PLO-3 cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on theory and its application.
  • PLO-4 cognitive, technical and creative skills to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories and to apply established theories to different bodies of knowledge or practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • Participation in lectorials where material will be presented and discussed, and the subject matter will be illustrated and explored with demonstrations and examples;
  • Private study, working through the theory as discussed in lectorials, texts and notes, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems;
  • Completing tutorial questions designed to give you further practice in application of theory, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding;
  • Completing written and online assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter;

Higher Degree by Research students taking this course as part of the Master of Applied Science (Medical & Health Physics) program may be approved to take this course in Distance Learning mode and will be provided with access to online learning resources and lectorial class recordings.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access comprehensive course information, class notes, journal papers, learning materials and other useful resources through the Canvas website. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and internet-based resources will be provided in the notes and during the classes. Details of the recommended textbooks for this course are also provided in Part B of the course guide.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment in this course is via a combination of tests/quizzes, assignments, reports, and a skills & capabilities test.

There will be ongoing assessment during the semester to encourage you to engage with the material and to give feedback on your progress. This is done with in-class tests, online quizzes, and several short assignments, including both conceptual and numerical problems. Written assignment submissions and reports will be required. All assessment tasks will be administered and submitted through the Canvas online Learning Management System. A final skills and capabilities assessment will assess your overall achievement in the course.

Note that:

This course has no hurdle requirements. 

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1:  Topic Tests/Quizzes
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assessment Task 2:  Radionuclide Intake Assignment
Weighting: 10%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 4, 5, 6

Assessment Task 3: Radiation Shielding Design Assignment
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 4, 5, 6, 7

Assessment 4: Final Skills and Capabilities Assessment
Weighting: 50% 
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5