Program Director P. H. McGinley, PhD
Medical Director L. W. Davis, MD
Professors L. W. Davis, MD; P. H. McGinley, PhD;
P. Sprawls, Jr., PhD
Assistant Professors A. H. Dhaba’an, PhD; E. S. Elder,
Instructor E. K. Butker, MS
Master of Medical Science Degree
The Radiation Oncology Physicist
The radiation oncology physicist is trained in the use of
radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The
training includes a strong clinical component and a
well-balanced collection of academic courses that cover
nuclear physics, radiation physics, radiation protection,
and the treatment planning methods. He or she also
should have a basic knowledge of human anatomy and
As a consultant to the radiation oncologist, the radi-
ation oncology physicist or medical physicist is responsi-
ble for treatment planning, dosimetry, health physics,
and all aspects of irradiation techniques. Medical physi-
cists also may be involved in training, research, and
developments related to radiation therapy. In addition,
they interact with other physicians developing and pro-
viding clinical care.
The Emory radiation oncology program is a five-
semester, post-baccalaureate program leading to a master
of medical science degree.
The first three semesters of the program consist of
lecture and laboratory courses. The second year of the
curriculum provides clinical training in radiation oncol-
ogy physics. During the second year, the student, work-
ing both alone and as a part of a team, gains experience
in managing the various physics problems encountered
in treating patients with radiation. As a result, the stu-
dent will acquire a high level of proficiency in dealing
with the medical physics needs of patients under the
care of a radiation oncologist.
Information on application procedures and applica-
tion forms may be obtained by writing to Dr. P. H.
McGinley, The Emory Clinic, Department of Radiation
Oncology, 1365 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.
1. Admission of students to the radiation oncology
physics program is based on an adequate training
in the physical sciences. Applicants must possess
a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, or
engineering or a degree in the biological sciences
with a strong background in physics and
mathematics. The mathematics background
should include competence with differential
equations and differentiation and integration of
functions of several variables. One year of general
college level physics and a course in nuclear physics
are required for admission. Knowledge of computer
programming and electronics is also recommended.
2. A combined score of at least 1800 on the verbal,
quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE
(institutional code 5196).
3. Three letters of recommendations, one of which
should be from an undergraduate adviser or an
instructor in the student’s major.
4. Personal interview, after an initial screening, with
two members of the admissions committee.
5. Approval of admission by the admissions
Students enrolled in the master of medical science pro-
gram in radiation oncology physics should have the
physical, mental, and emotional skills outlined below:
I. The student must develop the ability to deal with
patients and professional staff. The student must be
A. Communicate effectively with patients and
B. Effectively employ the instruments used to
obtain patient data for planning treatment.
C. Instruct and inform staff members, patients,
and family regarding radiation safety
II. Participate in physical activities in the radiation
treatment facility and in the patients hospital room.
These activities include:
A. Lift, move, and position dosimetry equipment
used to calibrate and perform quality control
measurements for external beam and
brachytherapy treatment units.
B. Recognize colors used to code various brachy-
therapy sources and instrument leads.
C. Move quickly and accurately when working
with brachytherapy sources.
D. Hear radiation treatment device alarms
III. Successfully participate in all aspects of the educa-
tional program, including lectures, laboratory exercises,
and clinical activities.
IV. Demonstrate good judgment, honesty, and reliability
in dealing with other students, the staff, and patients.
Radiation Oncology Physics
62 Radiation Oncology Physics
The director of the radiation oncology physics pro-
gram welcomes questions or inquiries from individuals
with disabilities regarding the standards and their appli-
cation to each individuals unique situation. In each case,
a determination will be made as to whether the individ-
ual is qualified for admission to the program and if rea-
sonable accommodations can be made. While the radia-
tion oncology physics program is prohibited by federal
law from making inquiries about specific disabilities prior
to admission, applicants who are selected for admission
must be prepared to meet the performance standards in
order to complete the program.
Students must complete required courses and the clinical
internship (sixty-seven semester hours) with a grade of C
or better and have an overall average of B or better. The
required courses include a two-semester clinical residen-
cy. Permission to begin the internship and residency will
be based on an evaluation of the student by the progress
committee. A comprehensive examination (oral and
written) must be completed during the last semester of
BASIC ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCES
Fall. Credit, four hours. Basic developmental micro-
scopic and gross anatomy of the human body systems.
Anatomical terms, structures, and relationships,
emphasizing functional significance in problem-solving
RADIATION ONCOLOGY PHYSICS
505. Nuclear Physics
Fall. Credit, three hours. Atomic theory, X-rays, atomic
structure, basic properties of the nucleus, radioactivity,
nuclear disintegration, neutron physics, absorption of
radiation, and accelerators.
510. Radiation Dosimetry
Fall. Credit, three hours. A comprehensive survey of
fundamental principles of the dosimetry of ionizing radi-
ation is presented. In addition, the basic concepts of
microdosimetry, interface dosimetry, and LET measure-
ments are introduced.
515. Electronics and Radiation Detection Instruments
Fall. Credit, three hours. AC and DC circuits, semicon-
ductor devices, and digital electronics. Physical princi-
pals of various radiation detection and measurement
devices. Geiger Muller counter, proportional counter,
TLD systems, scintillation crystals, pulse height analyzer,
and solid state detectors.
525. Radiological Health Physics
Summer. Credit, three hours. Biological effects of radia-
tion, protection standards, dosimetry of internal and
external radiation, and health physics control programs.
530. Physics of Radiation Oncology
Spring. Credit, four hours. Introduction to the physics
of radiation therapy. Allows the student to gain medical
physics experience in a clinical or hospital setting. Basic
radiation-producing devices are described. This is fol-
lowed by a discussion of calibration protocols.
Techniques used for patient treatment planning are pre-
sented. Approximately 25 percent of the lecture time is
devoted to brachytherapy.
535. Diagnostic Imaging
Spring. Credit, four hours. Characteristics of imaging
systems, quality control, health physics, computer
tomography, MAI, and ultrasound.
540. Medical Terminology
Spring. Credit, one hour. Introduction to medical termi-
nology required for radiation therapy.
545. Radiation Oncology
Summer. Credit, three hours. Presentation of the
sequence of steps carried out for cancer patients from the
diagnosis of disease to patient treatment. The following
parts of the treatment chain are covered: patient work-
up, staging, overall treatment plan, isodose production,
dosimetry, patient set-up, and treatment. Extensive
hands-on use of the treatment- planning computer basic
dosimetry equipment and patient setup aids is required of
550. Medical Physics Internship
Summer. Credit, four hours. Each student is required to
spend eighteen hours per week in a clinical environment
at one of several hospitals in the Atlanta area. The pur-
pose of the internship is to gain practical experience in a
radiation therapy department. The students activities are
supervised by the medical physicist associated with each
hospital, and the overall responsibility for the course
rests with the medical physics program director.
555. Radiation Biology
Spring. Credit, three hours. The effects of ionizing radia-
tion on biological systems, including cells, organs, tis-
sues, and organisms; late effects including mutation and
carcinogenesis; methods of protection; and modification.
64 Radiation Oncology Physics
560. Radiation Shielding
Summer. Credit, two hours. Shielding techniques for
medical accelerators, cobalt units, high dose rate after-
loaders, diagnostic radiology X-ray units, nuclear medi-
cine, and brachytherapy.
665. Physics of Nuclear Medicine
Fall. Credit, three hours. Characteristics of nuclear
medicine imaging systems, assay, calibration, quality
assurance, patient dose estimation, and health physics.
670. Residency in Radiation Therapy I
Fall. Credit, fourteen hours. Practical experience in all
areas of radiation therapy. Each student will be assigned
to a physicist but will also interact with therapists and
675. Residency in Radiation Therapy II
Spring. Credit, fourteen hours. A continuation of 670.
697r. Independent Study
Each semester. Variable credit. Individualized study
designed by the student and his/her faculty adviser.
Specialized learning experience, related to student’s
program, not available through formal course offerings.