NUI Galway Celebrates 20 Years of Medical Physics Education

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Pictured are the MSc in Medical Physics class of 2019 with staff from NUI Galway and UHG.
Pictured are the MSc in Medical Physics class of 2019 with staff from NUI Galway and UHG.

The University’s MSc in Medical Physics has received re-accreditation until 2025 from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes

This year, NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics will celebrate 20 years of providing first-class education, with a large number of EU and non-EU applicants having accepted places to commence the course in September. This week the course also received re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP) until 2025.

Initially accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, UK, in 2015 NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics was the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation from CAMPEP, and the second programme worldwide outside North America.

The MSc in Medical Physics programme is designed to meet the demand for qualified medical physicists. It is primarily geared toward training for physicists in the application of radiation physics in medicine but maintains a reasonable exposure to key aspects of clinical engineering so that students receive a comprehensive knowledge of the application of physical sciences and engineering to medicine. Past graduates have also pursued roles in further academic research and in the medical technology industry.

The requirement for medical physicists to have appropriate training is increasingly recognised worldwide, with both the European Commission and professional bodies worldwide have issued guidelines on this training. One such body is CAMPEP, which is supported by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American College of Radiology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, Canadian Organisation of Medical Physics and the Radiological Society of North America. Being awarded a degree from a CAMPEP accredited MSc is a condition of entry into CAMPEP Residency training programmes in the USA and Canada and is also an indication of the quality of the programme.

Dr Christoph Kleefeld, Clinical Director of the MSc in Medical Physics, NUI Galway and University Hospital Galway, said: “The re-accreditation of the MSc in Medical Physics programme in North America underlines the high quality of the course and further enhances its international reputation attracting students not only from North America but worldwide.  At the same time, the accreditation creates opportunities for our graduates to pursue careers in the US and Canada.”

In the last five years, the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway has seen a 100% increase in the average student intake per year, compared to the first ten years. This growth opportunity materialised in part due to the demand for qualified Medical Physicists, and also the North American accreditation of the programme by CAMPEP. Sustaining this remarkable growth will be challenging as the programme has a very strong emphasis and input from clinical physicists. With increasing student numbers and more recently the global pandemic it has been very challenging to ensure clinical access, and the recent growth has been facilitated by national and international collaborations with hospitals and research institutions.

Dr Mark Foley, Academic Director of the MSc in Medical Physics, NUI Galway added: “This MSc programme is an excellent example of a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional effort. The success of the programme has been driven predominately by the tremendous efforts of the hospital physicists supplemented by University staff. I must acknowledge the vision of our colleague the late Professor Wil van der Putten, a former Adjunct Professor of Medical Physics who was a key figure in Medical Physics education and establishing the UHG and Galway links in the early 2000’s. It was a pleasure for me to establish and name one of our three scholarships after Wil.”

Information on CAMPEP can be found at www.campep.org, and further information on the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/medical-physics.html

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Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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