MDPH 613 - Health Physics
for Medical Physicists
This graduate-level course provides
students in the McGill Medical Physics M.Sc
program with an introduction to radiation
protection. It incorporates a study of the
physics and biology of radiation interactions
with matter and tissue and examines the
application of our scientific knowledge to the
formulation of public health policy. The course
covers a broad range of subjects from pure
science to law and management and draws upon
publications by national and international
Class Notes for MDPH 316 prepared by John
Kildea (available upon request)
The application of radiation protection to the
medical environment is studied in detail and
students participate in a laboratory exercise to
design and optimize radiation shielding for a
radiotherapy clinic in order to comply with
national regulations and following international
Conceptual Overview of Health Physics for
Unless otherwise arranged, classes for this
course are held on Friday mornings during the
Fall semester from 10 am to 12 pm in the
Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cedars
Several laboratory sessions and field trips
outside of scheduled classes are anticipated.
Several guest lectures in the second half of the
semester will be presented by William Parker.
A shielding lab will be held during one
weekend of the semester, after the shielding
material has been covered in the lectures.
Students will be advised of the date and time in
advance. Part of the
laboratory exercise will be led by Michael
Evans, MUHC Class II Radiation Safety Officer.
Materials and Handouts
Slides, notes, announcements, and the results of
quizzes and exams will be available via the
A comprehensive set of notes is provided.
However, please be aware that the exams and
assessments may require that you apply what you
have learned beyond the material in the notes.
No specific textbook is recommended for this
course. Class materials and the notes provided
should be sufficient.
However, the following books were used in the
preparation of class material:
Students may find the following (free via the
McGill library website) publications useful
during the course:
Pass mark is 65%
10 quizzes worth 2% each
Radiation safety scenarios
Presentations and continuous assessment
Closed book, including material from before midterm exam
The main purpose of the assessments is to ensure
that students achieve competency in introductory
Since the class is held just once a week there
is often a tendency to neglect the material
between classes with the result being a panic
before the midterm and final exams. With 30% of
the overall mark dependent on continuous
assessment (quizzes and radiation safety
scenarios), each student has an opportunity to
improve her/his exam grade by studying during
the semester. This should also relieve the study
stress at the time of the midterms and finals.
A multiple-choice quiz will be held at the
beginning of each class.
The quiz will last at most 15 minutes (including
the time spent handling the paperwork) and will
incorporate any or all of the material covered
in the course until that point.
Students are encouraged to discuss among
themselves the quiz topics and the course
material in advance of each class.
Each student will be randomly assigned a
radiation safety scenario during the first
lecture. During the week between lectures
students should review the material of the most
recent lecture and place it in the context of
the radiation safety scenario they were
Each student should prepare a brief summary
(letter to an imaginary replacement radiation
safety officer) of how the material they have
reviewed relates to their assigned scenario.
Students are encouraged to use Google forms
(each student is provided with their own form)
to prepare their summaries online for continuous
instructor feedback. The details will be
discussed during the first lecture.
Due to my clinical responsibilities, I cannot
list regular office hours in advance. However,
if you need to talk to me about any aspect of
the course please email me and we can arrange a
meeting time. You may also approach me at my
office or in the clinic at any time.
Questions and student interaction during the
classes are encouraged!
If you are getting low marks in the quizzes
please seek help. It has been noticed that quiz
grades and final grades are tightly correlated.
Please seek help
immediately if you feel you are falling
behind in this or any other class
Maintained by John Kildea
Last updated: 12 December 2015