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Physics Residency Curriculum

The Physics residency program at IU School of Medicine is designed to educate and train physicists to a competency level sufficient to practice radiation oncology physics independently. Appropriate facilities, staff, patient resources and educational environment are provided to achieve this goal. The primary focus of the resident’s experience in this program centers on clinical training and educational activities.

Training in clinical and technical subjects pertinent to the various areas of radiation oncology physics include rotations in orientation and safety training; dosimetric systems and detector equipment; treatment simulation; external beam megavoltage irradiation; beam commissioning and annual linear accelerator QA; special procedures (IMRT, SRS/SBRT, TBI and TSE); brachytherapy; radiation safety and protection; research/education/professional development; and advanced treatment planning.

The curriculum of the Medical Physics Residency program at IU School of Medicine is consistent with AAPM report #90, Essentials and Guidelines for Hospital-Based Medical Physics Residency Training Programs. The Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology Residency Program Handbook provides more details.

Competency Areas

Expected areas of competence for a clinical medical physicist in radiation oncology include but are not limited to:

  • Calibration of therapy equipment for photons and electrons
  • Measurement and calculation of dose for photons and electrons
  • Computer-based treatment planning for photons and electrons
  • Quality assurance, including acceptance testing and commissioning of hardware and software used in planning and treating patients
  • Brachytherapy procedures
  • Training of medical residents, graduate students, dosimetrists
  • Education of health professionals and the general public in radiation oncology physics and radiation effects
  • Clinical Observation, Participation, Supervised Practice
    The resident performs clinical competency tests for procedures associated in each area of clinical competence listed above. The resident is expected to be clinically competent in 50 percent of the procedures before matriculating as a PGY2 resident. Clinical competence is measured by successful completion of the clinical competency exam.
  • Conference Observation and Participation
    Participation in clinical conferences include peer review conference, medical resident conference, physics journal club and oral exam practice.
  • Research
    The resident is expected to participate in a research project either of his/ her own design or under the supervision of a research project designed by a faculty member. The participation in any research project must be approved by approved by the Director, Clinical Coordinator and Vice Chair of the department. The resident is expected to submit an abstract for presentation at a professional conference. The resident must write a manuscript for publication in a professional journal related to research performed during his/her residency training.


Residents in this program are evaluated based on clinical performance. The components of clinical performance include professionalism, interpersonal communication skills, expected progress, successful execution of tasks, knowledge, areas requiring improvement.

The resident also evaluates components of the program, including learning opportunities, faculty availability, effectiveness of educational experience, adherence to program objectives and areas requiring improvement.

The resident is evaluated at the end of each clinical rotation by rotation mentors and every six months by individual faculty members directly interacting with the residents. Evaluation forms are provided to all faculty members in the department and results are summarized by the Director and Clinical Coordinator of the program. The resident meets with the Director or the Clinical Coordinator to review evaluations. The resident also has the opportunity to present his/her evaluation of the program, and areas requiring improvement can be addressed. Modifications to the program may be made in order to enhance resident learning.