How It Works

Course structure

Students are required to successfully complete seven taught modules (15 credits each), undertake and pass a research project (60 credits) and pass a 45 minute oral viva examination (15 credits), conducted via teleconference through two UCL academic examiners at the end of their studies. This comprises the 180 credits of the Radiation Physics stream of the campus-based MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine. The MSc is completed over 2-5 years, following the distance learning cycle:

MSc distance-learning cycle

Normally, students begin their first year or more of study by progressing through our core modules, upon which knowledge is built upon for future taught modules. These are MPHYG900, MPHYGB11 and MPHYGB30. In the first month of study in the first year, students begin with an induction module and meet the course team online to make an informed decision about module selection and timescales for completing the MSc by flexible study.

Academic credits can be built up over a period of up to 4 years, with a fifth year available as contingency. Modules can be studied at a pace that suits each student, and indeed some years can be deferred if this is necessary for career or personal reasons. Students who do not wish to complete a research project can register for a 120 point postgraduate diploma as an alternative.

Delivery Method

Study material includes downloadable lecture podcasts, interactive tools and quizzes and conventional lecture notes, made available to online students via Moodle, UCL’s virtual learning environment (VLE).

Students have a dedicated MSc student tutor with whom they will be in contact through bespoke structured tutorial activities during the course of the year and in the build up to examinations in late April/May.

Examinations are sat normally at local British Council centres, and must be held on the same day as the London –based MSc course examinations. Students need to be able to travel to their local British Council centre on the day of the exam (in the UK, there are regional centres as well as the UCL exams in London).

The dates for these examinations are published in late March each year. Students will have a period of up to 3-8 weeks to arrange their availability for exams.

Research Project

Students are required to complete a research project, normally involving a practical, theoretical or computational component, and submit a dissertation of up to 10,000 words. This accounts for a third of the overall MSc programme academic credit (60 points) and is normally completed by students in the final year of the programme. This stage formally begins with submission of a project proposal outline by early December.

Students may be asked to find a suitable local supervisor for their project near their home location, perhaps based at a local university, industry or hospital, who will work alongside a remote UCL supervisor over the duration of the research project. In some cases, as agreed in advance, projects can be completed as part of a UCL research group through either part attendance in one academic year, or remote supervision.  The process of choosing a project and creating a project proposal normally begins in the summer before the project is undertaken.


The lecture material will be assessed through a mixture of written examinations and coursework. Exams will be taken at UCL approved locations around the world on the same day as the UCL examination in London. Oral assessments, such as the viva, and MSc project presentation will take place via Skype or an alternative teleconference facility. Coursework will be submitted via the Virtual Learning Environment, with support provided from thee student tutor.

Technology requirements

You will need access to a computer and an internet connection with moderate broadband capability. A skype account, which is free to set-up, is the preferred method for contact with the programme director or the MSc student tutor at appropriate points in the year.

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