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HL2013 Radiation Therapy 7.5 credits

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus HL2013 (Autumn 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Basic interaction processes of ionising radiation with matter. Basic concepts of dosimetry, dosimetric quantities and units. Accelerators for radiation therapy, principles of linear and circular accelerators. Optimal design of the therapy beam. Introduction to basic biological and chemical reactions in the irradiated cells. Lesions produced by radiation in DNA molecules. Cell survival models. Radiation effects on normal tissues and tumours. The biological basis of radiotherapy, oxygen effect, dose rate dependence, dose fractionation. Dose calculation in electron and photon beams. Algorithms for calculations of dose distribution in the patient.  Principles of optimal treatment planning. Dose planning exercises. Special treatment modalities. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therap

Intended learning outcomes

The course gives a fundamental knowledge of physical, biological and clinical aspects of radiation therapy. A special focus is given to mathematical methods applied in dose planning systems and to treatment optimisation methods to get the best therapy outcome. The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the basic physical and biological effects of ionising radiation in order to learn the principles of radiation therapy and to provide an overview of different mathematical tools for dose plan calculations.

After the course you should be able to:

  • describe the effects in tissue from different types of ionising  radiation such as photons, electrons, neutrons, protons or light ions
  • give an overview of different accelerator designs and  irradiation techniques to treat tumours
  • explain the main differences in radiobiological response of the low- and high let radiation
  • describe the mathematical methods used in the dose calculations
  • present and compare different radiation treatment strategies to obtain the best cancer cure and to spare healthy surrounding tissues under exposure to radiation
  • describe imaging tools used during treatment planning and daily treatment sessions to target the cancer and for better control of the irradiated volume

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or equivalent. Basic knowledge of anatomy.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


Lecture material available at the department

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • ÖVN1 - Exercises, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Mats Nilsson

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web HL2013

Offered by

CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems

Main field of study


Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Iuliana Toma-Dasu,

Supplementary information

Notice that the final schedule is not yet decided and the dates can be changed.

Lectures are given at the department of Medical Radiation Physics, Karolinska hospital.