Skip to main content

Health Physics and Radiation Science

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Health Physics and Radiation Science program provides an advanced science curriculum that strongly emphasizes the safety aspects of ionizing radiations.

In this age of advanced technological development, it is difficult to find an aspect of our modern life that does not involve the use of ionizing radiation. Energy supply, medicine, agriculture, national security, manufacturing and resource-based industries are all examples of where the uses of radioactive materials or radiation-generating machines are an essential part of their operations. Radiation is also a unique tool for studying materials and matter on an atomic scale. Radiation science recently has seen huge advances in techniques for material science using advanced radiation sources such as synchrotrons, neutron spallation sources and reactor neutron beams.

Such a widespread and general application of radiation leads to a constant and growing demand for trained scientists who understand radiation, its applications and hazards and can work towards improving society through its safe and innovative use.

The curriculum is designed to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of advanced science for radiation protection of humans and the environment, as well as the application of radiation technologies in health care and industry.

The number of university programs in Health Physics and Radiation Science in Canada is limited. As an undergraduate in our program, you will become a member of a very specialized and select group, increasing your competitive advantage and enhancing your appeal to major employers. Learning occurs in various settings, including lectures, tutorials, field visits, and laboratories. These programs include mandatory liberal arts electives and business courses designed to develop students’ interpersonal, problem-solving, and holistic thinking skills.

The curriculum combines fundamental radiation science, technological methods and applications, allowing graduates to confidently seek rewarding careers in the above-mentioned sectors, along with many other fields of work.


You will receive specialized education in health physics. Health physics is a well-recognized branch of radiation science with a wide range of applications in many industries, such as:

  • Agriculture;
  • Education;
  • Enforcement of government regulations;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Health care;
  • Non-destructive examinations;
  • Nuclear power; and
  • Research.




Graduates provided with comprehensive knowledge of advanced science for radiation protection of humans and the environment


Learn how to apply radiation technologies in health care and industry


Recieve a specialized education in health physics

The first two years establish fundamentals in:

  • Mathematics;
  • Physical and biological sciences; and
  • Technology.

During your third year, you will the fundamentals of:

  • Radiation detection and measurement;
  • Imaging
  • Radiation biophysics; and
  • How radiation is produced and used in a wide range of applications.
The fourth year allows for specialization and includes two thesis projects.

Sample Courses:

  • Industrial Applications of Radiation Techniques
    An introduction to application of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to industrial probing, gauging, imaging and monitoring. Topics include: monitors (smoke detectors, radon monitors), density gauging using alpha, beta and gamma radiation; thickness gauging using charged particles, photons and neutrons; fluid flow and void fraction measurements, element and content analysis using neutron activation analysis and fluoroscopic excitation, Mossbauer spectroscopy, industrial radiography and computed tomography using photons and neutrons; emission tomography, ultrasound and eddy current flaw detection.
  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Technology
    This course is designed to provide the radiation science student with a working background in nuclear reactor technology, so that they may be prepared to work in and around nuclear fission (or fusion) reactors. The emphasis of the course is on health physics and radiation protection aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle. Elementary reactor operation will be covered in sufficient detail to allow the student to have a working knowledge of where radiation hazards are produced, and what controls can be used to minimize the hazards. Nuclear reactor safety and control systems will be covered, and the inherent safety of the CANDU design will be described and compared with other common light water reactor designs such as PWR, BWR, RBMK etc.
  • Medical Imaging
    The physical principles of imaging techniques with medical applications will be covered. It will be shown how the different physical phenomena can be manipulated to generate clinically relevant images. The following imaging modalities will be presented: Ultrasound, Planar X-ray, Computed Tomography, Single-Photon Emission Tomography, Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. General image characteristics and basic image processing techniques will also be covered. Topics in wave physics, interaction of radiation with matter and medical radioisotope production will be covered as needed.
  • Radiation Biophysics and Dosimetry
    This course will concentrate on providing the biophysical basis for radiation effects and health risks and the implications for ionizing radiation dosimetry and radiation protection. The course will cover the following topics: the physics of the interaction of radiation with matter; radiation damage at the molecular, sub-cellular and cellular level; tissue damage and health effects in humans; radiation quality; regulatory requirements and radiation protection dosimetry. The primary goals are to teach students the fundamental mechanisms of radiation interactions at the molecular and cellular levels and the various biological endpoints that can result. Current concerns and controversy concerning the effects of low-dose exposures will also be covered in this course.
  • Radiation Detection and Measurement
    In this course students learn how to measure radiation. They study the meaning and significance of the units for measuring radiation, the equipment that can be used to detect radiation, and the mathematical techniques used to interpret various detector readings. Topics covered include the nature and safe handling of radiation sources; measurement of source strength; the statistics of radiation counting; characteristics and utilization of various radiation detectors; radiation spectroscopy with scintillation detectors; semiconductor detectors; in-core and out-of-core neutron detectors; spectroscopy of fast neutrons; the application of radiation detectors and instrumentation; use of dosimeters; characteristics and utilization of radiation detectors devices needed for various radiation measurements; principles of nuclear instrument operation; factors considered to set nuclear instruments.
  • Therapeutic Applications of Radiation Techniques
    A study of the uses of various types of radiation for therapeutic applications, including Xrays, gamma radiation, electrons, neutrons, lasers, UV, visible, infrared, radio-frequency, and microwaves. Topics include: production of radiation for therapeutic purposes; external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, electron beam therapy, boron neutron capture therapy, heavy ion therapy and photodynamic therapy; therapeutic dose calculation and measurement; dose calculation algorithms, treatment planning, optimization and verification; equipment calibration; dose impact on patients and workers.
Undergraduate Labs

Undergraduate Labs

Explore some of our Undergraduate Teaching Labs