Studying Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at UCL
We are very pleased you are interested in studying Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at UCL. We believe that we provide students with an excellent education in a thriving field of science and engineering, which provides a basis for a very broad variety of careers, including those in scientific research, industry, and clinical physics. On this website we can tell you about the department and what it's like to study Medical Physics or Biomedical Engineering at UCL. We also have information on how to apply for our degree programmes:
- Postgraduate research (PhD) degrees
- Doctoral Training Programme in Medical Physics and Bioengineering
- Doctoral Training Programme in Physics of Cancer Therapy
Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
Medical physicists and biomedical engineers use physics and engineering to solve medical problems. In addition to medically qualified staff such as doctors and nurses, modern medicine relies increasingly heavily on specialists in other professions such as medical physicists and biomedical engineers.
A large part of medical physics concerns the use of radiation to examine and treat the body, including x-ray imaging, computed tomography (CT), and radiotherapy. Other areas include medical ultrasound for diagnosis and therapy, endoscopy, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Biomedical Engineering includes designing medical devices such as pacemakers and prosthetic devices. For example, in our department, biomedical engineers develop products which help to minimise the impact of incontinence, and use implanted devices to restore function to paralysed muscle. We often find, however, that in practise there is little difference between medical physicists and biomedical engineers, and their training and expertise often strongly overlap.
In hospitals, medical physicists and biomedical engineers ensure that high-tech equipment is working effectively so patients can be diagnosed accurately and treated safely. This requires flexibility, the willingness to take responsibility, the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, and excellent physics skills, both as an experimentalist and a theoretician.
Many medical physicists and biomedical engineers also work in research, improving existing techniques and developing completely new ones. British medical physicists such as Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Sir Peter Mansfield have won Nobel prizes for their work on CT and MRI, respectively.
Roughly equal numbers of men and women work as medical physicists or biomedical engineers. If you are considering a career in medicine, physics or engineering, then our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in medical physics and biomedical engineering are likely to appeal to you.