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Postgraduate subject

Medical Physics

07 November 2023
‌Develop modern scientific knowledge and techniques for medical diagnosis and therapy.


Medical Physics


Medical Physics applies the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Modern medicine relies heavily on many physical tools, techniques, and principles which have been developed in the physical sciences. The complexity and precision required in the operation of modern-day diagnostic and therapeutic equipment, and the quest to constantly improve medical technology, has led to the subspecialty of Medical Physics.

A medical physicist applies scientific knowledge and technological skills to help prevent, diagnose, and treat many types of disease and health conditions. They are a mix of research and clinical scientists who play a pivotal role in providing physics support to various areas of the health sector to achieve better outcomes for patients. They also ensure the safety of staff and patients exposed to radiation.

A medical physicist is typically a member of multidisciplinary team and may be involved in several activities relating to diagnosis and/or treatment in radiology, nuclear medicine, or radiation therapy.

UC offers both a clinical and a non-clinical option for Medical Physics. The clinical option is only chosen by students who are currently employed at an Aotearoa New Zealand District Health Board. The two options have an identical course structure and lead equally to potential clinical employment.

Medical Physics Woman and Man with Lasers

Medical Physics

What will my study involve?


  • Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury has the only internationally accredited medical physics academic programme in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Study Medical Physics as a clinical or non-clinical degree, preparing for either a career as a clinical scientist implementing treatment programmes, or as a research scientist studying scientific theories on medical diagnosis and therapy.
  • Accessible experts: our teaching staff are actively involved in researching advanced radiotherapy techniques, x-ray detection and imaging, and neurological magnetic resonance imaging.

Medical Physics


You can choose to major in Medical Physics or in Medical Physics (Clinical).

UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Medical Physics:

The Medical Physics (Clinical) programme is offered in the Postgraduate Certificate in Science, the Master of Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Medical Physics

Career opportunities

Medical physics provides an intellectually stimulating, multidisciplinary environment; personally rewarding work that may have a direct effect on patient care; and excellent career prospects in a field with a recognised shortage of suitably qualified graduates.

Medical physics graduates are employed by hospitals in various department’s including radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, and nuclear medicine. They are involved in creating new devices and technology, both in industry and academic environments. They also help to regulate the safe use of medical technology, including radiation safety.

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