Doctoral Training Programme in Physics of Cancer Therapy


We are pleased to annouce a new Doctoral Training Programme in the Physics of Cancer Therapy. This is a growing field, especially here at UCL where we are to host the UK's first high energy proton cancer centre.

In the first year, you will study for an MRes in Physics of Cancer Therapy. This will include taught courses drawn from the Department's MSc modules, or from wider across UCL as appropriate, and a substantial research project. Following successful completion of the MRes, you will develop the research project into a full PhD project

You will join an interactive network of researchers across many disciplines and benefit from the strengths of UCL in the healthcare field.


Year 1 will consist of an MRes in Physics of Cancer Therapy. This will involve 5 taught masters level modules and a research project. The taught modules can be taken from a wide range of modules in the subject area. Three modules will be technical scientific modules and two will concentrate on generic research skills. Good performance in the MRes programme will lead to entry into Year 2 where you will continue the research project as an MPhil student. At the end of Year 2, you will be examined and, if successful, will transfer to full PhD status. If good progress is made, you will submit your PhD thesis towards the end of Year 4.

There will be additional assignments and other opportunities throughout to provide support and encourage good progression.

Course Units

The course covers all forms of ionising and non-ionising radiation commonly used in medicine and applies it to the areas of imaging and treatment. Recommended modules include the following.

Ionising Radiation Physics: Interactions and Dosimetry (MPHYGB28)

This module covers the interaction of different radiations with matter and provides the basic material about the detection and quantification of the energy deposited in materials.

Medical Imaging (MPHYGB10 and MPHYGB11)

These modules cover imaging using ionising and non-ionising radiation and provides the basic theory behind the imaging techniques. They also include a breakdown of the components of each imaging system, and describes the clinical applications of each method. The associated topics of image processing and assessment are also covered.

Treatment with ionising radiation (MPHYGB19)

This module broadly covers the application of radiation to the therapeutic treatment of patients. It ranges from the technical aspects of generating the radiation, to the biological effects of that radiation on the tissue and then considers, in detail, state-of-the-art radiotherapy techniques.

Image Processing (COMPGV12)

This module is provided by the Computer Science Department. It is delivered as a series of lectures with supporting practical sessions. Topics include: digital images: digital camera, data types, 2D representation of images, characteristics of grey-level digital images: discrete sampling, quantisation, noise.


You will carry out your research project in one of the Departments research groups. Topics include, but are not limited to, all aspects of radiotherapy physics (including proton therapy, adaptive therapies, dosimetry, treatment planning, image guided radiotherapy), high intensity focussed ultrasound, laser ablation and monitoring therapies using a range of methods, etc.

How to apply

Applications are welcome at any time. Please complete and submit an application form along with 2 references. Please also email the Programme Co-ordinator.  We will review applications at the end of March and invite successful candidates to join the programme at the start of the academic year, in October. Please include a personal statement in your application which describes your career goals, your commitment to cancer research, any specific projects which interest you, and your sources of funding.

This is a competitive scheme and you will be expected to demonstrate that you can perform at the equivalent of a good Masters level. Successful students are likely to have an undergraduate degree in physics or a similar subject at 2:1 or better and ideally a relevant Masters degree at the equivalent of 60% or better. Experience of research in physics of cancer therapy is an advantage.

The programme does NOT provide clinical or hospital training in radiotherapy. While all efforts will be made to secure time on experimental facilities such as linear accelerators or other beamlines, this scheme will NOT train students in the use of these systems.

Students must meet UCL's English language requirements at a "good" level.

Unfortunately, funding is not currently available on this programme. Students are expected to meet fees and stipend at UCL rates (for 2014/15, fees are £4500 per year for UK/EU students and £20,500 per year for overseas students). We also request an Additional Fee Element of £5000 per year to cover research expenses during the three years of the PhD.

Successful applicants will be offered a place on the MRes in Physics of Cancer Therapy. This is a one-year taught research Masters degree. Upon successful completion of the MRes at the end of Year 1, they will be offered a place on the PhD programme. They will be initially registered for an MPhil. At the end of Year 2, they will submit a report and sit an MPhil viva, after which they may transfer to the PhD.

Contact Us

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