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Radiation Therapy: New Master’s Degree for Medical Physicists

Press Release No. 190/2010
19 August 2010
Universität Heidelberg to offer online degree courses for working professionals starting winter semester 2010/2011

Modern methods of radiation therapy are the focus of a new master’s degree programme designed for working medical physicists. Heidelberg University will begin the course of study in the winter semester of 2010/2011. The target group includes physicists and graduates in related fields who partner with physicians to plan patient radiation therapy and are responsible for calculating the correct dose. The “Advanced Physical Methods in Radiotherapy” programme targets a European audience and is receiving support within the framework of the “Master Online” programme from the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg.

The course of study includes the latest research and developments, including high-precision treatment of various tumour regions such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), as well as proton and heavy-ion therapy. The new degree programme is based on a curriculum that few institutions in Europe are in a position to offer. It takes advantage, for instance, of the wealth of knowledge and experience gained at the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Centre of the university hospital, which was dedicated in November 2009.

The four-semester programme explores anatomy, physiology and medical imaging in depth. It covers the theoretical and practical fundamentals of IMRT, IGRT, and particle therapy as well as the application of radiation technologies in patient treatment. Graduates will be qualified to independently perform scientific and clinical work at modern radiation treatment facilities. Much of the programme is offered online to appeal to participants throughout Europe. Enrolees are also required to attend eight phases of classroom teaching in Heidelberg and complete practical training.

The “Advanced Physical Methods in Radiotherapy” master’s degree programme was developed by scientists at the Clinic of Radiooncology and Radiation Therapy at Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Debus (Clinic for Radiooncology and Radiation Therapy) and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schlegel (DKFZ), experts from both institutions were recruited to join the teaching staff. The team is also being supported by lecturers from international cooperations, such as the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

You can find more information on the degree programme on the Internet under Interested parties can also contact Dr. Ina Niedermaier of the Department of Continuing Education of Heidelberg University by phone (06221) 54-7813 or e-mail

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