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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Radiotherapy Planning

Gain the essential knowledge and skills necessary for successful radiotherapy planning. It’s a highly focused course that gives you a thorough understanding of the key practices surrounding simulating and evaluating radiation doses for radiotherapy.

Course description

If you are a therapeutic radiographer, dosimetrist or other healthcare professional working in radiotherapy and oncology, this course can help you develop your knowledge of radiotherapy planning. It’s a highly focused course that gives you a thorough understanding of the key practices surrounding simulating and evaluating radiation doses for radiotherapy.

You gain an in-depth understanding of current and future radiotherapy planning issues and, crucially, develop the ability to apply critical thinking skills to practice. You gain general critical thinking and literature skills as well as more specific planning theory and plan evaluation skills.

Your studies cover core modules involving fundamental planning theories, plan evaluation, advanced planning and image guided radiotherapy. We also introduce you to research skills, which you use to produce a final dissertation.

The course is delivered using our virtual learning environment, known as Blackboard. You don't need to attend the university and you can study via the web in your own time, which means you can fit the course around your clinical work. The web-based learning materials are designed to help improve your radiotherapy knowledge, as well as share experiences with other students through our e-based discussion forum. If you are not confident with computers, help and support is available.

For some modules there is a requirement to produce a plan for the course and you must have access to a clinical radiotherapy planning environment. This helps support the demands of your postgraduate work.

You may be eligible to apply for accreditation of work-based projects and prior certificated learning, which will count towards your final award.

Study individual modules

You can study individual modules from our courses and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for detailed information about the modules we offer.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the College of Radiographers.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

One of the following

• a degree in radiotherapy and oncology or therapy radiography or evidence of equivalent study

• a diploma of the College of Radiographers or evidence of equivalent study in therapy radiography

• a qualification of equivalent standard and relevance, such as a degree or professional qualification in a related healthcare or medical physics subject

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

If English is not your first language you need an IELTS score of 6.5 or above with a minimum 5.5 in all skills.

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Distance learning – typically three years
Starts September and January

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.
The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

Postgraduate certificate core modules

Fundamentals of radiotherapy planning (30 credits)
This module enhances your existing treatment planning knowledge and skills in order to evaluate the impact of 3D planning methods on the process of radiotherapy planning. It promotes critical analysis of the radiotherapy planning process in the context of professional practice. It also offers you the opportunity to enhance and deepen your knowledge and understanding of radiotherapy planning and associated technological developments, to develop a critical evidence-based approach to your practice.

Image guided radiotherapy (15 credits)
Imaging is now an integral part of the radiotherapy process and is essential in ensuring that radiotherapy is planned and delivered in the most accurate way possible. Imaging plays a vital role in helping us maximise the potential of radiotherapy, implement advanced techniques safely, and ensure the best clinical outcomes for cancer patients. Embracing the move towards 4D adaptive radiotherapy, you explore the use of imaging throughout the whole radiotherapy pathway (localisation, planning and delivery). You also explore the fundamental principles and best practice associated with a range of current and future imaging modalities. You develop a critical understanding of the evidence base underpinning these advances and how these may impact on the patient, the service and individual practitioners.

Plus a further 15 credits from the optional modules list below.

Postgraduate diploma core modules

Advanced radiotherapy planning (30 credits)
This module explores and evaluates technological innovations, new developments and future research avenues in all areas of radiotherapy planning. By the end of the module you are able to effectively use the evidence base to critically appraise the impact of technological innovations and improved planning methods on the treatment planning process, appraise the clinical impact on patient quality of life and critically evaluate the appropriateness and applicability of innovations and advanced planning techniques to clinical practice.

Research methods for practice (15 credits)
This module will allow you to develop a critical understanding of a range of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and apply their use to specific health care scenarios. You are encouraged to critically appraise the appropriateness of a range of study designs and data collection and analysis methods, in relation to a specific research question(s).

Plus a further 15 credits from optional module list below.

Masters

Dissertation (60 credits)
This module provides an opportunity to conduct a project that is of importance to your professional practice and of relevance to your own workplace or organisation, with the ultimate aim of influencing and impacting on the care provided to those using this service.

Optional modules

Personalised study module or work-based learning for service development (15 credits)
The work-based learning module provides you with the opportunity to apply your academic and developing professional skills in a real world environment. You propose and undertake a package of work which directly relates to your scope of practice and/or client group.

For the personalised study module, you propose and undertake a package of work that is reflective of a more personal and individual area of interest. It may still be of relevance to your professional role, but this need not be informed and guided by priorities specific to your workplace.

Technical advances in radiotherapy (15 credits)
This module provides you with an opportunity to extend and enhance your knowledge of key technical advances that are influencing and continually evolving the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer. This includes both current and future advances in topics such as • advanced immobilisation and breath hold techniques • proton therapy • stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) • intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) • image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) • functional and biological targeting. You develop a critical understanding of the key principles and evidence base underpinning these advances and how these may impact on the patient, the service and individual practitioners.

Breast cancer radiotherapy (15 credits)
The aim of this module is to provide you with specialist knowledge of the planning and delivery of adjuvant radiotherapy for early stage breast cancer. For those individuals working within or towards advanced or consultant practice roles, this module has been designed to help you develop the skills necessary for this level of practice. In particular, the module is designed to enhance entrepreneurial skills, which can be used by an individual to innovate within an organisation, developing and implementing novel solutions to organisational problems.

Prostate cancer (15 credits)
This module aims to enable an in-depth understanding of the current knowledge and evidence based findings on prostate cancer and its management. Content is patient-centred, with specific reference to the patient journey and the physical and psychological impact of the disease and its management. Contemporary issues and approaches related to patient management and care are discussed and critical reflection and evaluation of own and others clinical practice is encouraged.

Optional modules continued

Head and neck cancer (15 credits)

This module aims to develop an in-depth, critical understanding of the current knowledge and evidence based findings on head and neck cancer and its management. It has a clear emphasis on how the disease and its treatment impacts both physically and psychosocially on those affected. Areas covered include • diagnosis of head and neck cancer • treatment of head and neck cancer (all stages) • the physical and psychosocial impact of head and neck cancer and its treatment • the care of those affected.

Expert practice (30 credits)

With the support of your workplace this module aims to formalise and validate your development as an expert practitioner. The module encourages you to take ownership of your advancing professional practice and academic learning to support the development of your expert clinical practice. As part of this development you critically reflect on non-standard and difficult/challenging cases and the decisions you make. You also demonstrate an in-depth understanding of inter-patient differences and how these influence your decisions. You develop a critical understanding of the legal, ethical and professional frameworks underpinning your practice and the influence these have on your role and responsibilities as an expert practitioner.

Brachytherapy: principles to practice (15 credits)

The module aims to provide the theoretical underpinning for the principles and practice of brachytherapy, and enable individuals to develop a critical understanding of the rationale for its use and its benefits. Limitations and practical issues will be discussed and, with reference to relevant research, the impact of brachytherapy on the overall management of specific cancer sites. It covers • physical and theoretical principles of brachytherapy • rationale and benefits of brachytherapy • practical application and protocol considerations • impact on the service and practical implementation • role for specific cancer sites • influence on clinical outcomes and care of the brachytherapy patient.

Fundamentals of radiotherapy and oncology practice (15 credits)

This module enables you to develop an in-depth understanding of the core, fundamental principles underpinning current and future practice within the specific discipline of radiotherapy and the wider field of oncology. You learn about cancer cell biology and how cancer treatments affect the growth and development of cancer, individually and in combination with each other e.g. chemo-radiation regimes. In terms of radiotherapy, you develop a critical understanding of the impact and influence of radiobiological principles/issues on radiotherapy practice, and their wider role in the multi-modality management of cancer.

You also learn about future developments in the clinical and medical treatment of cancer and are encouraged to reflect upon contemporary issues and related policy and guidance impacting on and influencing the delivery of these cancer treatments and services. You are encouraged to critically reflect on the impact of these principles, practices and issues upon working practices, patient outcomes and service delivery.

Further information about all modules is available on our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) website.

Assessment We use various assessment methods, supporting the development of both your academic and professional skills.Short online activities are used to promote engagement with the distance learning materials, provide support for the final assignment and facilitate online discussion with fellow peers. Other methods of assessment include
  • essays
  • business cases or journal article
  • project and research work
  • poster and PowerPoint presentation
  • case studies
  • service improvement proposal and plans
  • critical evaluations
  • profiles of evidence
  • planning portfolio.

Employability

As a graduate of this course you gain a deeper understanding of current and future radiotherapy planning issues and gain the ability to apply critical thinking skills to practice. This can help you to advance to more senior radiotherapy roles.

Fees

Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Typically £6,300 for the course

£525 for a 15 credit module

£1,050 for a 30 credit module

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the MSc, 15 credits £535 or 30 credits £1,070

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically
• £640 per 15 credit module
• £1,275 per 30 credit module

2017/18 academic year

Typically
• £665 per 15 credit module
• £1,325 per 30 credit module

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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