Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences


Dr Brad Cassels and Dr Caroline Wright



  • Second semester 2016 (Online)


This unit focuses on the action of ionising radiation on living things at the cellular level and the resulting effects on organs, tissues and the whole body. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge on the biological effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation, and the mechanisms of repair to biological damage. Students will be able to describe the systemic and total body responses to early/late effects of radiation. Students will undertake a critical review on how the effects of radiation on biological tissue can be utilised in the practice of radiation therapy. Students will acquire an appreciation of the potential hazards present in different radiation therapy procedures, and focus on the principles of dose reduction, while maximising the information produced from a particular dose of ionising or non-ionising radiation. Whilst studying these topics, students will be encouraged to critically reflect, analyse and synthesise relevant information from the literature.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the major bio-effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation and explain the severity and risks associated with these bio-effects;
  2. Discuss the known biological effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation on cells and tissues;
  3. Calculate the radiation dose, and appraise the current scientific theories relating to the risk associated with radiation dose;
  4. Explain the rationale used to determine the most appropriate procedure with regard to biological effects;
  5. Describe the modifications to procedural technique, required to maximise the benefit from a particular dose of ionising or non-ionising radiation;
  6. Outline the principles of radiation safety, protection and ALARA, and justify the medical use of ionising and non-ionising radiations.


Two assignments (2,000 words each) (40%)
Presentation and critical reflection (10%)
Written invigilated examination (2 hours) (50%)

Hurdle: To pass this unit, students must:
Achieve a combined mark of 50% or more of the available marks for the assignments and presentation/critical review combined,
Achieve 50% or more of the available marks for the written examination and
Achieve a total aggregate mark for this unit of 50% or more.

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Medical radiations and radiation therapy


RTS4101, RTS4102. Must be enrolled in Master of Medical Radiations or the Radiation Sciences stream of the Bachelor of Health Sciences.