The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course discusses the principles and operation of equipment used in radiation therapy.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain the principles of treatment planning algorithms including limitations of each

2. Understand the radiobiological requirements in treatment planning

3. Discuss the concepts associated with imaging requirements for radiation therapy

4. Describe basic radiation dosimetry and common dose terminology

5. Understand the fundamental measurements required for linac commissioning

6. Describe the difference between a radiation beam with and without a flattening filter

7. Understand the differences between photon and electron treatments including modality choice, treatment planning, QA, pros and cons of each

8. Describe a brachytherapy treatment program (including LDR and HDR) and the differences in dosimetry between brachytherapy and external beam therapy

9. Explain the need for treatment verification (both pre-, during and post-treatment) and what techniques are available for this

10. Describe the limitations and benefits of each verification technique

11. Understand the future vision of radiation therapy with respect to new technology treatment


1. Treatment planning systems


Treatment planning algorithms

Inverse planning optimisation


Radiobiology in treatment planning

2. Linac Operation, Commissioning and QA

Linac design and operation

Linac bunker design and radiation safety

Linac Calibrartion and Commissioning

Quality Assurance Testing (Daily, monthly, annual)

Dosimetry basics

Flattening filter free radiation

3. Electrons

Scatter considerations

Surface dose, characteristics of depth dose, energy spectrum, field size dependence, dose across field, penumbra

Obliquity, junctioning (matching with photons/electrons)

4. Radiation therapy treatment verfication

Imaging techniques (EPI, CBCT, MVCT, ExacTrac)

Portal dosimetry

Gated treatment/motion detection during treatment

In vivo verification

Surface mapping

Radiofrequency transponders

5. Brachytherapy


Common sources

Interstitial/intracavitary/intraluminal and surface (permanent/temporary)

Common treatment sites/techniques

Imaging for brachytherapy (IGBT)

6. Other Treatment Techniques

Kilovoltage/Orthovoltage treatment

Charged particle therapies

Targeted therapies


This course is only available to students enrolled in either the B MRS (Radiation Therapy) (11018) or B MRS (Honours) (Radiation Therapy) ()40010) program and have successfully completed PHYS1250.

Assumed knowledge

MRSC2501: MRS Instrumentation IIA

Assessment items

In Term Test: Exam - In class

In Term Test: Exam - In class 2

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks starting in week 1

Lectures are scheduled Weeks 1-3 and 5-9.

Online Activity

Online 4 hour(s) per Week for 3 Weeks starting in week 1

Weeks 6-8


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks starting in week 2

Tutorials scheduled weeks 2-4 and 7-9. Tutorial is an optional attendance for students requiring additional support.