MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine



The MSc in Physics & Engineering in Medicine (PEM) at UCL was established in 2010 and is delivered as  three MSc degree streams - Radiation Physics (RP), Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI), and Medical Image Computing (MIC) - within a single new administrative structure. This MSc has its origins going back to 1958, where it was founded by two University of London Professors, John Eric Roberts and the Nobel laureate Sir Joseph Rotblat. Students who apply to the MSc programme can select their module choice and stream during the induction stage at the start of the programme.

The MSc by Distance Learning was launched in the Autumn term of 2011, and produced its first graduates in 2014. It is normally completed over 3-4 years, with a fifth year available as contingency. The MSc degree by distance-learning (DL) involves completing the same examinations, coursework and project stages that the campus-based MSc students study on the RP stream. Lectures are delivered by online content, normally through videos of the lectures coupled with additional support and learning resources. There is also a bespoke tutorial system for distance learning students led by a dedicated MSc student tutor. For more information, please click on the link above.

The aim of our MSc programme is to provide a theoretical and practical knowledge base for those with an interest in developing an inter-disciplinary approach to science and engineering applied to health care, with particular emphasis on those seeking employment as medical physicists or biomedical engineers in hospital, industry or university employment sectors.

A graduate from the programme will have:

  • a comprehensive foundation of knowledge in engineering, physics, and computing as applied to medicine and medical science;
  • a background to physics principles and technological advances of relevance to the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients;
  • legislation and safety issues relating to the use of ionising or non-ionising radiation, medical equipment or software on patients;
  • practical applications of biomedical engineering and computational methods in clinical and research environments;
  • problem solving and workplace skills of relevance to subsequent employment as an engineer or scientist in a field related to medicine.

and dependent upon the stream chosen:

  • research experience in a particular field of medical physics, medical image computing, or biomedical engineering;
  • detailed understanding of patient treatment or diagnosis using ionising or non-ionising radiation, or the role of electronics and control in medicine, or practical knowledge of image analysis and computational methods used to obtain information from medical images;
  • familiarity with practical and theoretical aspects of biomedical optics or medical devices or biomedical engineering or computing in medicine.

The MSc degree can be taken so that it is principally in either the physics or engineering or computing pathway.

General Structure of the Programme

The programme starts in late September and lasts for 12 months if taken as a full-time student. There is also an option to study the MSc flexibly over several years, for example over two years or more while also working. The programme modules are predominantly taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the first two terms: late September - December and January - April, although there are lectures or learning sessions occasionally on other week days.   The distance learning programme can offer the flexibility to access certain lectures and study materials off-campus where attendance is a problem for a certain student.  Please contact the course leader ( directly for more information.  

The programme modules are taught at UCL and lecturers are drawn from the UCL and from the hospitals of UCL, St. Bartholomew’s, Royal Free and other London teaching hospitals.

Because MIC stream courses are taught by a range of staff from the Departments of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, and the UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing, timetabling constraints mean that the lectures for this course occur on most days of the week.

Applicants for this track are strongly encouraged to contact the Medical Image Computing course organiser, Dr. Dean Barratt (, to discuss their situation.


All course tracks cover all forms of ionising and non-ionising radiation commonly used in medicine and its application to the areas of patient imaging, monitoring and treatment.

The following modules are compulsory for all three streams.

Click on the links for further details of the modules

MPHYGB17 Clinical Practice
MPHYGB11 Medical Imaging (Ionising)

MPHYG900 Ultrasound in Medicine

MPHYG910 Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Biomedical Optics

MPHYGB97 Research Project

Radiation Physics (RP) Stream

Compulsory Modules:

MPHYGB30 Ionising Radiation Physics: Interactions & Dosimetry

MPHYGB19 Treatment with Ionising Radiation

MPHYGB27 Computing in medicine

MPHYGB31 Viva on taught modules

Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI) Stream

Compulsory Modules

MPHYGB20 Medical Electronics and Control
MPHYGB27 Computing in medicine

MPHYGB31 Viva on Taught Modules

Optional Modules (students choose 1 module)

MPHYGB22 Applications of Biomedical Engineering
MPHYGB21 Bioengineering

Medical Imaging Computing (MIC) Stream

Compulsory Modules
MPHYGB24 Programming Foundations for Medical Imaging Analysis
MPHYGB06 Information Processing for Medical Imaging
COMPCV12 Image Processing

Optional Modules (students choose 1 module)

MPHYGB07 Image Directed Therapy & Analysis
COMPCV17 Computational Modelling for Biomedical Imaging



The MSc course consists of 7 taught modules and a viva, each worth 15 credits plus a research project worth 60 credits. This forms a total of 180 credit units. The Diploma does not include the research project. The pass mark for all elements (taught modules or research project) is 50%. For any element only two attempts are allowed.

The degree can be obtained at three award levels:

Pass: The overall average must be equal to or greater than 50%. Up to 30 credits of taught material can be a 'condoned pass', i.e., a mark between 40% and 50%. The research project must be passed at 50% or more.

Pass with Merit: The overall average must be equal to or greater than 60%. The research project must passed at 60% or more. No condoned passes or  second attempts are allowed.

Pass with Distinction: The overall average must be equal to or greater than 70%. The research project must be passed at 70% or more. No condoned passes or second attempts are allowed.

Resits: All resits must be taken the following year.


For more information, please email us.