Skip to main content

Study information

Science for Medical Imaging

Module titleScience for Medical Imaging
Module codePAM2011
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Beth McGill (Convenor)

Dr Clare Thorn (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module builds on PAM1020 to include the scientific principles behind the imaging modalities of ultrasound, nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging. This module underpins PAM2013 Medical Imaging Applications.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop a range of basic mathematical skills and knowledge of the essential science which underpins the various imaging modalities. The module also aims to provide you with sufficient knowledge of introductory radiation biology and physics to allow you an appreciation of safe and optimal use of radiation imaging techniques.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. acknowledge more complex mathematical operations, including plotting and manipulation of various functions;
  • 2. analyse simple oscillatory motion, relating this to electromagnetic and particulate phenomenon pertinent to medical imaging;
  • 3. construct schematic circuits and explain magnetic fields, beginning with charge distributions and motion;
  • 4. understand radiation dosimetry, the principles of dose calculation, and the significance of radiation dose;
  • 5. understand radiobiological principles at both whole body and cellular/molecular level, with an emphasis on radiation protection;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. display mathematical skills sufficient to support Stage-two work;
  • 7. use appropriate sources of information to develop own knowledge;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. manage time and, with some guidance, prioritise workloads;
  • 9. use problem-solving skills in practical situations.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

Mathematical skills

The number e and exponential functions, graphs of exponential functions.
Logarithmic functions, graphs of logarithmic functions.

Trigonometric functions, graphs of trigonometric functions.

Rates of change: graphs and gradients, concept of derivatives.

The area under a graph, concept of integrals.

Vibrations and waves

Simple harmonic motion and resonance.

Travelling waves: the wave equation, superposition and interference.

Doppler effect.

Electromagnetic waves: electric and magnetic fields; the speed of light.

Sound waves: acoustic pressure and particle displacement, the speed of sound.


Electricity and magnetism

Electric charge and the Coulomb force.

Electric field and electric potential.

Magnets and magnetic fields.

Magnetic force on a moving charge and on a current element.

AC circuits: impedance and phase angle.

Digital electronics: ADC

The effects of radiation on human tissue

Biological effects of radiation

Radiation-matter interaction

Molecular and cellular radiobiology.

Radiation dosimetry, dosimeters, and detectors

Radiation Protection



Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities233×3-hour practical sessions 14x1-hour seminars
Guided independent study17Online directed learning activities
Guided independent study110Reading, private study and revision

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical work (lab report)501500 words1-9Written and verbal.
Examination5090 minutes1-9iExeter and ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Lab report 50%Lab report (1500 words) (50%)1-9August/September assessment period
Written examination 50%Written examination (90 minutes) (50%)1-9August/September assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

  •  Graham D.T., Cloke P. and Vosper M. (2012), Principles and Applications of Radiological Physics (6th edition), Churchill Livingstone, ISBN 9780702052156 


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Bushong S.  (2017), Radiologic Science for Technologists (10th edition), Elsevier, ISBN 9780323353779
  • Dendy P.P. and Heaton B. (2011), Physics for Diagnostic Radiology (3rd edition), Taylor and Francis, ISBN 9781420083156
  • Young H.D., Freedman R.A. and Ford A.L. (2016), Sears and Zemansky’s University Physics with Modern Physics Technology Update (14th edition), Addison-Wesley, ISBN 9781292100326

Key words search

Medical Imaging; Radiations; Function; Graphs; Wave; Image; Fields; Effects; Charges; Electricity; Concepts.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date