Medical Dosimetry

Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry

Learn more about this degree

Degree Requirements: 14-18 courses with corresponding laboratories, 39-55 credits

Candidates for the master’s degree must complete a course of study consisting of 39-55 credits. Applicants possessing a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy can typically complete their master's degree with 39 credits of graduate study.

Leveling Courses

Candidates who have not completed an undergraduate program of study in Radiation Therapy are required to complete up to 16 credits of leveling courses. The graduate program director evaluates the unique background of each student at the time of acceptance into the graduate program to determine the number and type of leveling courses that are required. An additional 39 credits of graduate-level coursework are then required to earn the MSMD degree.

Medical Dosimetry Leveling Courses (4 courses with corresponding laboratories, 16 credits)

Students complete or waive the following courses:

Prerequisites:

Radiation Therapy (Major or Certificate) or Medical Dosimetry Students Only

Credits:

4

Description:

Offers an introduction to the role of the radiation therapist and medical dosimetrist in a Radiation Oncology department. Through a combination of detailed lectures, discussions, role-playing, case studies, and hands-on laboratory exercises, students will be introduced to the professional and clinical aspects of their respective professions. Additional topics included radiation safety, patients rights, infection control, communication for the clinic, patient assessment, and psychosocial aspects of cancer including death and dying.

Prerequisites:

RAD L315 concurrently; Radiation Biology, Radiation Science, Radiation Therapy (Major or Certificate), or Medical Dosimetry Students Only

Credits:

3

Description:

Content is designed to establish a thorough knowledge of the radiation physics used in radiation therapy treatments. Topics to be covered in this course include a review of basic physics (energy, mass, matter, SI units), structure of matter, types of radiations, nuclear transformations, radioactive decay, the fundamentals of x-ray generators and x-ray production, interactions of x and gamma rays with matter, absorbed dose, measurements of dose, principles of and practical use of ionization chambers and electrometers, Geiger counters and other survey meters, principles and practical use of TLDs, film, calorimetry, scintillation detectors, radiation protection and quality assurance.

Prerequisites:

RAD/PHYS L315 concurrently; Radiation Biology, Radiation Science, Radiation Therapy (Major or Certificate), or Medical Dosimetry Students Only

Credits:

1

Description:

Explores topics including quality assurance measurements for radiation therapy, calibration of radiation teletherapy unit using ionization chambers, measurements of dose distribution via film, measurements of dose in a phantom via TLDs, radiation protection survey of therapy installation and brachytherapy sources, and radiation biology.

Prerequisites:

Radiation Therapy (Major or Certificate) or Medical Dosimetry Students Only

Credits:

4

Description:

Students will review cancer epidemiology, etiology, detection, diagnosis and prevention, lymphatic drainage, and treatment. The pathology(s) of each cancer will be presented in detail including the rationale for each preferred modality of treatment.

Prerequisites:

Radiation Therapy (Major or Certificate) or Medical Dosimetry Students Only

Credits:

4

Description:

This course will begin Beginning with an introduction to radiology, students reviewing x-ray production and discussing basic radiation physics, image formation (Kv, mA) and distortion (blur, magnification), conventional processing and digital imaging. The above-mentioned radiographic imaging concepts will be presented with conventional lectures as well as with several imaging laboratories. In addition, the basic principles of each imaging modality, including mammography, CT, MRI, Nuc Med, and Ultra Sound, will be presented. With the use of departmental tours and guest lecturers, the use, benefits and limitations of each will be discussed. Building upon the information previously presented, radiographic anatomy will also be covered with an emphasis on cross sectional anatomy. Students will review basic anatomy viewed in sectional planes (axial/transverse) of the body. Using CT and MRI images, the topographic relationship between internal organs and surface anatomy will be interpreted and discussed.

Medical Dosimetry Core Requirements (14 courses with corresponding laboratories, 39 credits)

Prerequisites:

MDO-L615 concurrently

Credits:

3

Description:

Discusses the factors that influence treatment planning and govern the clinical aspects of patient treatment. Topics include SAD and SSD dose calculation techniques, ICRU volume definitions, application of multimodality fusion in target definition, and 3D conformal treatment planning for major anatomic sites. Incorporates use of isodose curves, beam modifiers, volumetric dose evaluation, and correlation of critical organ dose limits to side effects. Introduces principles of specialized techniques including SRT, SRS, IMRT, VMAT, IGRT, and respiratory gating.

Prerequisites:

MDO-615 to be taken concurrently

Credits:

1

Description:

Provides the student with the opportunity to apply clinical dosimetry principles and theories learned in the classroom to treatment planning situations in a simulated setting. Students perform manual dose calculations for SAD and SSD setups and complete all steps to design 3D conformal treatment plans for various anatomic sites. Focuses on optimal design of beam geometry to avoid critical organs while accounting for patient setup considerations.

Credits:

3

Description:

Introduces the student to the clinical practice setting with a focus on workflows, policies, and procedures. Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete planning competencies through design and implementation of simple 3D plans for palliative and pelvic patients. Surveys roles and responsibilities of different personnel in the radiation oncology department.

Credits:

1

Description:

Describes the effects of radiation at the molecular, cellular, and organized tissue levels and subsequent response and repair mechanisms. Reviews the effects of dose rate, radiation quality, fractionation, radioprotectors and radiosensitizers on the therapeutic ratio. Focuses on practical applications in radiotherapy including time-dose relationships, alpha-beta ratios, isoeffect curves, biologically equivalent dose (BED), equivalent uniform dose (EUD) and 2Gy dose equivalent.

Credits:

1

Description:

Provides a general overview of computer systems and networking in the field of radiation oncology. Reviews the history of computers and the intricate uses in the medical field today. Surveys the use of oncology information systems such as MOSAIQ and ARIA, and radiation therapy software used for imaging, contouring, treatment planning, and patient charting applications. Discusses communication and interoperability standards including HL7 and DICOM and considerations for data and system.

Credits:

3

Description:

Reviews clinical trial protocols in relation to standard of care and discusses in detail the role of the medical dosimetrist. Surveys operational concerns including AAMD scope of practice, practice standards, and code of ethics, accreditation standards (e.g. JCAHO), billing and coding, continuous quality improvement (CQI), culture of safety, incident reporting, & legal considerations. Reinforces strategies for individual professional development and service.

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students design and implement increasingly complex 3D plans for various anatomic sites. Introduces treatment-planning principles for IMRT and VMAT with a focus on prostate competencies. Surveys considerations for professionalism in the clinical practice setting and the role of chart rounds for peer review.

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete planning competencies for increasingly complex 3D and IMRT plans for various anatomic sites. Introduces advanced treatment planning techniques available at the clinical practice setting such as SBRT, SRS, and proton planning.

Credits:

3

Description:

A continuation of Treatment Planning I that focuses on advanced treatment planning techniques including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), arc therapy, stereotactic treatment planning, and proton therapy. Discusses the advantages of each technique/modality over conventional 3D-treatment planning and contrasts against the challenges presented by each technique such as need for better immobilization, 4D CT scanning and daily IGRT.

Credits:

3

Description:

Introduces the basic principles of research methodology including terminology, the literature review process, and ethical principles surrounding human subjects research. Reviews statistical methods of research with a focus on data comparison and presentation of data including p-values and error bars. Students complete required training for research compliance, select a research topic, develop a research plan, and start data collection.

Credits:

3

Description:

Surveys brachytherapy principles including radioactive sources, calibration, instrumentation, factors affecting dose calculations, definitions of LDR, MDR and HDR, treatment planning and clinical dose calculation, implantation techniques, implant localization/verification, regulations, radiation safety, storage and QA. Emphasizes detailed coverage of prostate brachytherapy including LDR and HDR

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete all remaining planning competencies for any technique including 3D, IMRT, protons, and/or SBRT. Introduces the student to the complex variables required for treatment planning in the head and neck region.

Credits:

3

Description:

Reviews quality assurance requirements for various radiotherapy equipment including linear accelerators, CT scanners and treatment planning systems. Discusses operation of specific measurement devices and best practices for frequency and tolerances according to task groups of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Credits:

3

Description:

A continuation of MDO 722 that surveys best practices for writing effectively in the style and format of scientific journals. Students complete data analysis from the preceding course and prepare a manuscript for submission to the writing competition of the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD). Research projects culminate with an oral research presentation to peers, faculty and clinical instructors from our hospital affiliates.

Credits:

3

Description:

A seminar style course that prepare students for the MDCB certification board exam through lectures, online teaching tools, weekly quizzes, mini mock-exams, and a full-length mock exam. Provides professional development through assistance with resume preparation, mock-interviews and discussion of skills necessary to make job interviews successful. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

Practicum & Internship

It is during Medical Dosimetry Practicum I, II & III and Medical Dosimetry Internship that a student demonstrates the ability to apply didactic knowledge in the clinical setting. Students receive hands-on instruction in creation of treatment plans under supervision of board-certified clinical preceptors and complete treatment planning competencies according to the guidelines of the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD). At the end of Medical Dosimetry Internship, students deliver an oral presentation of a case study for a patient they planned to program faculty, clinical instructors, and peers.

Medical Dosimetry Learning Goals and Objectives

Learning Goals Learning Objectives
Students will... Students will be able to…
Know critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Explain an adequate rationale for treatment plan design
  • Explore different beam arrangements to suit specific patient geometries
  • Analyze and correct discrepancies accurately
Know principles that demonstrate clinical competence
  • Apply standard treatment techniques
  • Produce treatable plans
  • Respect patient privacy and confidentiality
Understand how to communicate in a clinical setting
  • Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Utilize information acquired to problem solve
Understand the importance of professionalism, growth, and development
  • Demonstrate professional behavior by appearance and punctuality
  • Present at a professional conference or submit for publication
  • Exhibit personal growth by continuously demonstrating interest to learn

Medical Dosimetry Graduate Courses

Prerequisites:

MDO-L615 concurrently

Credits:

3

Description:

Discusses the factors that influence treatment planning and govern the clinical aspects of patient treatment. Topics include SAD and SSD dose calculation techniques, ICRU volume definitions, application of multimodality fusion in target definition, and 3D conformal treatment planning for major anatomic sites. Incorporates use of isodose curves, beam modifiers, volumetric dose evaluation, and correlation of critical organ dose limits to side effects. Introduces principles of specialized techniques including SRT, SRS, IMRT, VMAT, IGRT, and respiratory gating.

Prerequisites:

MDO-615 to be taken concurrently

Credits:

1

Description:

Provides the student with the opportunity to apply clinical dosimetry principles and theories learned in the classroom to treatment planning situations in a simulated setting. Students perform manual dose calculations for SAD and SSD setups and complete all steps to design 3D conformal treatment plans for various anatomic sites. Focuses on optimal design of beam geometry to avoid critical organs while accounting for patient setup considerations.

Credits:

3

Description:

Introduces the student to the clinical practice setting with a focus on workflows, policies, and procedures. Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete planning competencies through design and implementation of simple 3D plans for palliative and pelvic patients. Surveys roles and responsibilities of different personnel in the radiation oncology department.

Credits:

1

Description:

Describes the effects of radiation at the molecular, cellular, and organized tissue levels and subsequent response and repair mechanisms. Reviews the effects of dose rate, radiation quality, fractionation, radioprotectors and radiosensitizers on the therapeutic ratio. Focuses on practical applications in radiotherapy including time-dose relationships, alpha-beta ratios, isoeffect curves, biologically equivalent dose (BED), equivalent uniform dose (EUD) and 2Gy dose equivalent.

Credits:

1

Description:

Provides a general overview of computer systems and networking in the field of radiation oncology. Reviews the history of computers and the intricate uses in the medical field today. Surveys the use of oncology information systems such as MOSAIQ and ARIA, and radiation therapy software used for imaging, contouring, treatment planning, and patient charting applications. Discusses communication and interoperability standards including HL7 and DICOM and considerations for data and system.

Credits:

3

Description:

Reviews clinical trial protocols in relation to standard of care and discusses in detail the role of the medical dosimetrist. Surveys operational concerns including AAMD scope of practice, practice standards, and code of ethics, accreditation standards (e.g. JCAHO), billing and coding, continuous quality improvement (CQI), culture of safety, incident reporting, & legal considerations. Reinforces strategies for individual professional development and service.

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students design and implement increasingly complex 3D plans for various anatomic sites. Introduces treatment-planning principles for IMRT and VMAT with a focus on prostate competencies. Surveys considerations for professionalism in the clinical practice setting and the role of chart rounds for peer review.

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete planning competencies for increasingly complex 3D and IMRT plans for various anatomic sites. Introduces advanced treatment planning techniques available at the clinical practice setting such as SBRT, SRS, and proton planning.

Credits:

3

Description:

A continuation of Treatment Planning I that focuses on advanced treatment planning techniques including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), arc therapy, stereotactic treatment planning, and proton therapy. Discusses the advantages of each technique/modality over conventional 3D-treatment planning and contrasts against the challenges presented by each technique such as need for better immobilization, 4D CT scanning and daily IGRT.

Credits:

3

Description:

Introduces the basic principles of research methodology including terminology, the literature review process, and ethical principles surrounding human subjects research. Reviews statistical methods of research with a focus on data comparison and presentation of data including p-values and error bars. Students complete required training for research compliance, select a research topic, develop a research plan, and start data collection.

Credits:

3

Description:

Surveys brachytherapy principles including radioactive sources, calibration, instrumentation, factors affecting dose calculations, definitions of LDR, MDR and HDR, treatment planning and clinical dose calculation, implantation techniques, implant localization/verification, regulations, radiation safety, storage and QA. Emphasizes detailed coverage of prostate brachytherapy including LDR and HDR

Credits:

3

Description:

Under supervision of clinical preceptors, students complete all remaining planning competencies for any technique including 3D, IMRT, protons, and/or SBRT. Introduces the student to the complex variables required for treatment planning in the head and neck region.

Credits:

3

Description:

Reviews quality assurance requirements for various radiotherapy equipment including linear accelerators, CT scanners and treatment planning systems. Discusses operation of specific measurement devices and best practices for frequency and tolerances according to task groups of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Credits:

3

Description:

A continuation of MDO 722 that surveys best practices for writing effectively in the style and format of scientific journals. Students complete data analysis from the preceding course and prepare a manuscript for submission to the writing competition of the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD). Research projects culminate with an oral research presentation to peers, faculty and clinical instructors from our hospital affiliates.

Credits:

3

Description:

A seminar style course that prepare students for the MDCB certification board exam through lectures, online teaching tools, weekly quizzes, mini mock-exams, and a full-length mock exam. Provides professional development through assistance with resume preparation, mock-interviews and discussion of skills necessary to make job interviews successful. This course is taught in a hybrid format.