Medical Physics Residency

Left to Right: Marcus Sonier, Lisa Glass, Cindy Tam who all completed the Physics Residency program in 2015.

The Toronto Residency Program in Radiation Oncology Physics is a two-year clinical training program which will prepare you for a career as a medical physicist working in a radiation oncology program, typically at a Cancer Centre or hospital.

Medical Radiation Physics applies the knowledge and principles of physics to the practice of radiation treatment of cancer deals with the interaction of ionizing radiation with biological tissues, distribution of ionizing energy within tissues, and the resulting radiobiological and clinical effects.

The residency program consists of:

  • Rotations through clinical duties under the supervision of a staff medical physicist
  • A clinical development project in clinical physics under the direction of a staff medical physicist
  • Combination of instructional methods including self-directed learning, didactic teaching and clinical observation and participation

The first year of the program includes:

  • Clinical rotations in Instrumentation (Linacs, Imaging) and Dosimetry Instrumentation, Theories and Principles of Treatment Planning, Cancer Site-Based Treatment Planning
  • Rotations in Quality Management and Radiation Safety and Protection commence in year one and continues throughout the program longitudinally due to their importance in the day-to-day work of a medical physicist
  • Selection of major clinical development project

The second year includes:

  • Longitudinal components of rotations continue in Instrumentation (Linacs) and the Cancer Site Based Treatment Planning Rotations
  • Clinical rotation in Brachytherapy
  • Completion of major clinical development project
  • Inter-professional case-based Clinical Oncology/Applied Physics course
  • Continued clinical activities in commissioning, development and quality control

The program operates at the 5 clinical sites below; follow the links to learn about each site.

On the job

Medical Radiation Physicists are involved in all aspects of the complex process of radiation therapy, including but not limited to:

  • Design and maintenance of equipment for radiation generation and delivery
  • Selection of optimum treatment parameters
  • Calculation of physical and radiobiological dose distributions
  • Imaging verification of patient positioning dose delivery
  • Measurement of radiation dose
  • Safe clinical implementation of new technology or techniques in radiation therapy

Radiation Physicists are also involved in teaching and research. The latter may involve developmental work directly related to the daily practice of radiotherapy, or may be wider in scope to encompass other applications of physical sciences in medical oncology practice.

Inter-professional teaching

You will work and learn from all three professions directly involved in radiation oncology – radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and medical physicists. The goal of the program is to train future leaders in medical physics who will:

  • Have a fundamental knowledge of the disciplines of radiation oncology and radiation therapy
  • Recognize, understand and address scientific and technical problems relevant to the practice of radiation oncology physics

Support and Resources

The program draws upon the resources of the largest academic radiation oncology program in Canada. The residents will work in an environment where critical thinking is emphasized and where the results of research are communicated freely and incorporated rapidly into treatment protocols. Each resident has a medical physicist advisor to guide them and monitor their progress through the program.

Examination and Accreditation

The educational background of Medical Radiation Physicists varies, and typically includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics or engineering, followed by a two-year clinical residency training program. An oral examination is held after the first year and at the conclusion of the program. The program has full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP).

UTDRO Physics Residency Program Statistics

Year          

Number of Applicants

Number of Students Accepted

Number of graduates

Number of students certified

Clinical staff

Disposition (academic)

Disposition (Industry)

Other

2008

     59

3

4

3

4

0

0

0

2009

     42

6

4

4

4

0

0

0

2010

     26

2

3

3

3

0

0

0

2011

     59

6

7

5

5

2

0

0

2012

     41

3

2

0

2

0

0

1

2013

     39

5

7

4

7

0

0

0

2014

     53

5

3

2

3

0

0

0

2015

     54

5

6

3

6

0

0

0

2016

    40  

4

3

7

2

0

0

0

2017

    20

3

7

2

7

0

0

0

2018

   38

5

4

5

4

0

0

0

2019

   40

6

4

4

4

0

0

0

2020

   39

6

5

6

5

1

0

0

2021

   25

5

5

7

5

0

0

0

*Note: Number of former residents certified in a specific year is not expected to align with number of graduates, as residents are typically not eligible for certification until the calendar year after graduation.

More Links and Resources

Learn about the application process, requirements, deadlines, and eligibility criteria. 

The program operates at the 5 clinical sites within Southern Ontario.

The Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP) website provides support at every stage of a medical physicist's career and is a resource for students, residents and practicing medical physicists.

The Medical Physics Residency Program at Cancer Care Ontario trains medical physicists to perform duties competently, professionally and safely in a clinical oncology environment, and to help meet future staffing needs in medical physics departments at cancer centres across Ontario.