Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course opens up with an over-view of the physio-chemical principles of absorption of radiation energy at a molecular and cellular level. Special emphasis is then placed on the effect of radiation on DNA and the principles for repair and misrepair of DNA-damages including the connection with genetic injuries and cancer. Several mathematical models for cell inactivation and its dependency of the dose-rate are included. Central themes are also the variation in radiosensitivity with the cell-cycle stage, radiomodifying factors and the influence of radiation damage on cell-cycle regulation and cell death (apoptosis/necrosis). The last few lectures give an introduction to the radiobiological principles forming the basis for the mathematical modelling of time-dose relations within radiotherapy including dose-fractionation, calculation of iso-effect curves and brachytherapy.

Learning outcome

After having completed the course you will:

  • understand and be able to describe energy deposit by different types of ionizing radiation in solid substances as well as in aqueous solutions. This includes the target theory and the use of this theory to calculate the molecular weight of the radiosensitive target based on data from survival measurements.
  • be able to perform calculations and evaluations based on different models for cell survival after irradiation: The molecular model (often denoted the alpha-beta-model) as well as the mathematic model for repair-misrepair.
  • be able to describe the mechanisms for cell inactivation as based on the so-called cellular suicide experiments with incorporated radionuclides.
  • know the mechanistic relation between cell-cycle progression, DNA-repair and cell survival.
  • understand the tight correlation between cell-cycle regulation and the effect of ionizing radiation in general.
  • be able to use the alpha-beta-model as a basis for development of the BED-model used for planning of dose-fractionation in radiotherapy.
  • be able to describe several aspects regarding eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, their internal and external organization and function, regulation of cell proliferation and growth, a little concerning metabolism and macromolecular synthesis and some more regarding types of DNA damage, chromosomal aberrations and DNA repair.
  • have knowledge of the epidemiologic studies regarding induction of cancer by ionizing radiation (radiation carcinogenesis).


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FYS4720 – Cellular radio biology


Number of lectures: 40

In addition one week is reserved for the laboratory exercise. The students are divided into two groups. The number of hours for laboratory exercise per student (hours by the clock) is approximately 20.

The laboratory exercise is compulsory including a final report. The laboratory report is not given a separate mark, but is presented to the sensor during the final oral exam.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


The laboratory report has to be passed in order to take the final exam.

  • Final oral exam

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching.


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)