Course Description and Objectives

Medical physics is a profession where practical experience must supplement theory and where textbook knowledge alone is not sufficient. The clinical rotation and laboratory course of the MSMP Program is designed to familiarize students with the relevant hospital/clinical environment. The rotation is not meant to replace the more rigorous "residency training" which is recommended by the AAPM for all new graduates of MSMP.

The clinical rotation and laboratory course will be offered during the summer semester. The course is divided into three parts: clinical rotation (two days/week), laboratory (two days/week), and academic day (one day/week).

The clinical rotation is designed to expose students to the daily activities of the clinical physicist as well as possible special procedures involving patients. Each student will spend two full days per week on rotation with an assigned clinical physicist or dosimetrist. During this time, students are expected to participate in 50% of the tasks on the task list. The student will rotate through the Emory facilities, which include Emory University Hospital, Atlanta VA Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital and Grady Hospital. Students will have evaluation forms to be signed by the supervising physicist for each rotation.

The laboratories are designed to provide clinical and practical exposure in radiation therapy, diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine. Students will become familiar with the operation of various therapy units and dose measuring devices, with the techniques for measurement of different physical parameters which characterize radiation beams used in radiation therapy, and with the calibration of various types of imaging equipment in diagnostic imaging. Each student will have two laboratory sessions per week. Laboratories will be performed during and after clinical hours. Written reports or worksheets will be required for each session. A laboratory manual will be distributed at the beginning of the semester.

The academic day is designed for the class to come together as a whole to discuss AAPM reports and other issues with the course coordinator. The time may also be reserved for guest speakers, demonstrations and/or student presentations.

Distance Learning

Since the MSMP Program is designed to be available to the distance-learning (DL) students, it is possible for the DL students to fulfill the clinical rotations and laboratories at his/her own (or nearby) facilities. The distance learning facility and supervisor must be approved prior to the student being admitted into the program. This information should include the completion of the Distance Learning Facility Information Form (Form C), Distance Learning Facility Authorization Form (Form E), Task List Approval Form (Form H), and Distance Learning Supervisor Agreement Form (Form F) including a two-page curriculum vita of the supervising physicist.  The following are approved facilities/supervisors used by current and past Medical Physics students.




Athens Regional Medical Center

Athens, GA

Jame Lunceford

Cancer Care NW

Spokane, WA

Nigel Paul Orton

Columbia St. Mary’s Inc.

Milwaukee, WI


Cooper University Hospital

Camden, NJ

Inhwan Yeo

Flagstaff Medical Center

Flagstaff, AR

Ralph LaCama

Florida Cancer Center

New Hope, FL

Brian Waugh

Intermountain Radiation Therapy

Murray, UT

Dennis Leavitt

Maryland Regional Cancer Center

Bowie, MD and Lanham, MD

Arnold Able

Richmond Radiation Oncology Center

Richmond, VA

Van McComas

Medical College of Georgia

Augusta, GA

Jerry Allison

Medical Physics Consultants

Arlington, TX

George Janik

Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Gainesville, GA

Randall Miller

Radiation Oncology, University of Miami

Miami, FL

Xiadong Wu

Samaritan Health Services

Corvallis, Oregon

Elizabeth Shiner

Satilla Cancer Treatment Center

Waycross, GA

Elizabeth Christian

St. Elizabeth Medical Center

Utica, NY

Leo Jablonski

The Reading Hospital Medical Center

Reading, PA

Rene Smith

Tufts Medical Center

Boston, MA

Mark Rivard

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Pittsburgh, PA

T.S Kehwar

Vantage Oncology Physics, Inc.

Manhattan Beach, CA

Madjid Aissi

It is required that the Distance Learning physicists have a board certification in an appropriate subspecialty from any one of the following:

  • The American Board of Radiology
  • The American Board of Medical Physics
  • The American Board of Health Physics
  • The American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine
  • The Canadian College of Physics in Medicine

Due to the variability from facility to facility, it is understandable that some substitutions will have to be made for laboratory topics and tasks. Once a facility and DL supervising physicist are approved, the DL supervising physicist and course coordinator will determine the appropriate substitutions. A Laboratory/Task Substitution Form (Form B) must be signed by both the supervising physicist and course coordinator for proper credit. The grading policy will remain the same.

It is expected that the DL student may take more than one semester to complete the requirements for the clinical rotation course. The DL student will submit the Distance Learning Form of Intent (Form D) to the course coordinator at least two months before the start of the rotation and will register for the course the semester in which the final exam is to be conducted. Signed rotation evaluations, task completion forms and written laboratory reports will be mailed to the course coordinator. DL students will be expected to come to the main campus for the final oral exam. DL supervisors are invited and encouraged to participate on the panel for the final exam. Oral exams will only be scheduled on weekdays. The DL student supervisors are expected to pay their own expenses to attend the final oral exam.

Grading Policy

The course scores are divided as follows:

Clinical Rotation Evaluations 20%
Laboratory Reports and Worksheets 45%
Final Oral Exam 35%

Clinical Rotation Evaluations

The Clinical Rotation Evaluation score is based on the Student Evaluation Form (Form A) that is attached. Evaluation forms will be distributed to the students at the beginning of the course. It is the student's responsibility to give the form to the assigned supervisor at the beginning of the rotation day. It is also the student's responsibility to obtain the filled out and signed form from the supervisor at the end of the rotation day. At the end of the week all forms will be submitted to the course coordinator. Failure to attend an assigned rotation will result in an evaluation score of 0 pts. The lowest evaluation score will be discarded at the end of the semester.

In addition to the evaluation form for the clinical rotation, signed Task Completion Forms (Form G) must be submitted each week to the course coordinator. Each student is required to complete 50% of the tasks on the task list by the end of the semester. The task will not be considered complete unless a signed form is submitted. Failure to complete 50% of the tasks from the task list will result in a Clinical Rotation Evaluation score of 0%.

Laboratory Reports and Worksheets

Laboratory sessions will be assigned either a written report or worksheet. Each assignment will have a class due date. Late assignments will have a penalty of 3n points where n equals the number of days late. The lowest laboratory score will be discarded at the end of the semester.

Final Oral Exam

The final exam will be oral covering the clinical rotation and all required MP courses. Each student will be questioned by a panel of physicists.  Distance Learning students are required to travel to Georgia Tech for the exam.  The supervisor of a distance learning student is invited and encouraged to participate on the panel for the final exam.

List of Laboratory Topics

1. Clinical Electron Beam Dosimetry (AAPM Report 32)
2. Reference Dosimetry (AAPM Report 67)
3. Basic Principles of Quality Assurance for Radiation Oncology (AAPM Report 46)
4. Computerized Treatment Planning
5. Beta-Cath Devices
6. High-Dose Rate Procedures
7. Low-Dose Rate Procedures
8. Total Body Irradiation and Total Skin Electron Irradiation (TG-29 & TG-30)
9. Stereotactic Radiosurgery (AAPM Report 54)
10. Patient Quality Assurance
11. Flouroscopic Units (AAPM Report 58)
12. CT scanner (AAPM Reports 1 & 39)
13. Ultrasound Quality Control (AAPM Report 65)
14. Mammography Quality Control (AAPM Report 29)
15. MRI Quality Control (AAPM Report 28 & 34)
16. SPECT Performance (AAPM Report 52)

Task List

Each student must participate in 50% of the below tasks. To receive credit for the task, the Task Completion Form (attached) must be signed and dated by the task supervisor.

1. Chart Second Check
2. Weekly Chart Check
3. Chart Close-out
4. Monthly Clinac QA
5. Annual Clinac QA
6. Intravascular Brachytherapy Procedure
7. Tandem & Ovoid Procedure
8. Prostate Implant Procedure
9. Eye Plaque Procedure
10. Gliasite Implant Procedure
11. Lung HDR Procedure
12. GYN HDR Procedure
13. Mammosite HDR Procedure
14. Cervix LDR Procedure
15. Sarcoma LDR Procedure
16. IMRT Patient QA
17. Conventional Simulation of Breast
18. Conventional Simulation of H&N
19. Conventional Simulation (General)
20. CT Simulation
21. Electron Block Cutout
22. Conventional Lung Treatment Plan
23. Conventional Breast Treatment Plan
24. Conventional Whole Brain Treatment Plan
25. Conventional 3-Field Brain Treatment Plan
26. Conventional Prostate Treatment Plan
27. CNS Treatment Plan
28. Total Body Irradiation Procedure
29. Total Skin Irradiation Procedure
30. Electron Hand Calculation
31. IMRT Prostate Treatment Plan
32. IMRT Brain Treatment Plan
33. IMRT H&N Treatment Plan
34. IMRT Abdomen Treatment Plan
35. Stereotactic Radiosurgery Procedure
36. Portal Imager QC
37. 4-D CT Simulation
38. 4-D Treatment Plan
39. 4-D Treatment Delivery
40. CT-PET Simulation
41. CT QC
42. Ultrasound QC
43. Mammography QC
44. Film Processor QC
45. Flouroscopy QC
46. Dose Calibrator QC
47. Thyroid Uptake Probe QC
48. Well Counter QC
49. Gamma Camera QC
50. PET Scanner QC
51. Radiopharmaceutical QC
52. Weekly Chart Round Conference