Medical Physics - Physics and Astronomy - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Medical Physics

Medical Physics is concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and therapy of human disease. Modern medicine relies heavily on physical tools, techniques and principles developed in the physical sciences. The complexity and precision required in the operation of the related diagnostic and therapeutic equipment as well as the quest to improve these tools has led to the subspecialty of Medical Physics. A medical physicist applies scientific knowledge and technological skills to help prevent, diagnose and treat many kinds of diseases and health conditions. They are most often clinical scientists who play a pivotal role in planning and implementing patient treatment programmes. A medical physicist is typically a member of a multi-disciplinary team and may be involved in several activities relating to diagnosis and/or treatment in Radiology, Nuclear Medicine or Radiation Therapy.

The medical physics education programme at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch stems from the concerns of the New Zealand Branch of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) to recruit and train medical physicists in New Zealand. The programme was accredited in 2003 by the ACPSEM as part of the Training, Education and Accreditation Programme (TEAP) for clinical medical physics registrars. It is the only programme of its kind in New Zealand. Typically half of the students enrolled for an MSc in Medical Physics are registrars. The registrar training takes 5 years and is comprised of a 2 year MSc in Medical Physics [Clinical] and 3 years of clinical on-the-job training in a hospital. A limited number of such registrar positions, funded by the Clinical Training Agency (CTA) of the Ministry of Health, are available at accredited radiation therapy departments in New Zealand.

For general information regarding the medical physics programme please browse the web pages. For further information contact the coordinatorof the programme.

Dr Steven Marsh
Director of Medical Physics


  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University of Canterbury,
    Private Bag 4800,
    Christchurch 8140,
    New Zealand.
    Phone: +64 3 364 2523
    Fax: +64 3 364 2469
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