MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine



The MSc in Physics & Engineering in Medicine (PEM) at UCL was established in 2010 and brings together the existing MSc degrees - Radiation Physics (RP), Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI), and Medical Image Computing (MIC) - into a new administrative structure. Starting in 2015, the RP and BEMI streams are accredited by IPEM.

Within the new programme, the two well-established streams (RP and BEMI) still exist, but a further degree of choice has been added allowing the candidate to choose other options if they so wish. In addition, students may now also study medical image computing by choosing the MIC stream within the PEM MSc 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 3-5 years. The MSc degree by distance-learning (DL) is an off-campus delivery of the Radiation Physics stream and involves completing the same examinations, coursework and project stages as the campus-based MSc students on the RP stream. Lectures are delivered by online content, normally through videos of the lectures coupled with support resources. There is 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 problem solving in health care, and in particular those seeking employment as medical physicists or as biomedical engineers in hospital, industry or university environments.

A graduate from the programme will have a detailed understanding of:

  • foundation knowledge of engineering, physics, and computing applied to medicine and medical science;
  • the physics, technology and clinical relevance of all currently used medical imaging techniques;
  • safety issues;
  • practical applications of biomedical engineering and computational methods in clinical and research environments;

and dependent upon the stream chosen:

  • research in a particular field of medical physics, medical image computing, or biomedical engineering and/or medical imaging;
  • detailed understanding of treatment using ionising radiation or the role of electronics and control in medicine;
  • detailed understanding of biomedical optics or medical devices or biomedical engineering or computing in medicine
  • detailed understanding of advanced image analysis and computational methods that are used to obtain information from medical images

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

General Structure of the Programme

The programme starts in late September and lasts for 12 or 24 months if taken as a full-time or part-time student respectively. The programme modules will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the first two terms: late September - December and January - April. Full-time students attend lectures on both days of the week and part-time students just the one.

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

Because MIC stream courses are taught by staff from the Departments of Medical Physics, 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.

Part-time students in work are typically employed in some area of clinical physics. Full-time students will devote any time not given to formal lectures either to carrying out practical work, attending work experience in clinical settings or performing research. Each full time student will also attend a series of tutorials to present results in order to develop communication skills.

Applications from students wishing to study for the Medical Image Computing track part-time will be considered, but the timetabling constraints mean that students on this track will be required to attend lectures and practical sessions on more than one day per week in order to complete the requisite modules. Therefore, part-time 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 imaging and treatment.

The following modules are compulsory for all three streams.

Click on the links for further details of the modules

MPHYGB30 Ionising Radiation Physics: Interactions & Dosimetry
MPHYGB17 Clinical Practice
MPHYGB11 Medical Imaging (Ionising)
MPHYG900 Ultrasound in Medicine
MPHYGB97 Research Project

Radiation Physics (RP) Stream

Compulsory Modules:

MPHYGB19 Treatment with Ionising Radiation
MPHYGB31 Viva on taught modules

Optional Modules (students choose 2 modules)

MPHYGB27 Computing in medicine
MPHYG910 Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Biomedical Optics
MPHYGB22 Applications of Biomedical Engineering
MPHYGB24 Programming Foundations for Medical Imaging Analsis*

Biomedical Engineering & Medical Imaging (BEMI) Stream

Compulsory Modules

MPHYGB20 Medical Electronics and Control
MPHYGB31 Viva on Taught Modules

Optional Modules (students choose 2 modules)

MPHYGB22 Applications of Biomedical Engineering
MPHYG910 Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Biomedical Optics
MPHYGB27 Computing in Medicine
MPHYGB24 Programming Foundations for Medical Imaging Analsis*
MPHYGB21 Bioengineering

Medical Imaging Computing (MIC) Stream

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

Optional Modules (students choose 1 module)

MPHYGB07 Image Directed Therapy & Analysis (subject to numbers)
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 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 65% 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.