FYS3710 – Biophysics and medical physics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The main subject is cell biology, atomic and bond theory, electron and molecular structure of proteins and nucleic acids, molecular genetics, physical analysis methods (optical spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, sedimentation, enzyme kinetics), EPR / NMR / MRI / PET technology and applications, immunology, gene technology, radiation physics, radioactivity and radiation biology, medical physics and diagnostics, modern radiation therapy.

Learning outcome

The course will give you insight into and experience with issues and methods in the field of biophysics, with particular emphasis on the areas of the field (radiation biophysics, medical physics and magnetic resonance) relevant to further master's studies in the field of Biophysics and Medical Physics at the Department of Physics. The course will also train you in independent work, scientific report writing and oral presentation techniques.

After the course, the student should be able to:

  • describe the structure of an eukaryotic cell, the function of the different organelles, and the cell cycle.
  • describe simple atomic and bond theory, sp, sp2, sp3 hybridization, and discuss the electron configuration of simple molecules.
  • describe the electron and molecular structure of proteins and nucleic acids.
  • describe the role of the RNA molecules in the translation and transcription of DNA, and understand the basic principles of genetic engineering and immunology.
  • describe the basic principle of X-ray diffraction and explain the diffraction image of DNA.
  • understand the basics of sedimentation and enzyme kinetics.
  • explain the basic principles of optical spectroscopy.
  • describe radioactivity, radiation doses, RBE, radiation quality, radiation weight factors, organ weight factors, the oxygen effect, Bq, Gy, Sv, interaction mechanisms like, photoelectric effect, compton effect, pair production.
  • make simple calculations of radiation doses.
  • understand basic radiation biology, radiation chemistry, radiation physics, and medical physics in therapy and diagnostics.
  • describe the principles of EPR (electron paramagnetic resonance) spectroscopy, construct expected EPR spectra for randomly selected radicals, and describe in detail the EPR spectra of the H and D atoms.
  • describe the principles of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy and construct expected NMR spectra of randomly selected molecules. You will also have knowledge about MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography).
  • Write a short scientific reports and present them orally in a plenary session.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

The following courses must be taken earlier than the first mandatory laboratory in FYS3710:

For further information see website for transitional arrangements between old and new HSE courses

Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge corresponding to the following courses at the University of Oslo: FYS-MEK1110 – Mechanics, FYS1120 – Electromagnetism, FYS2140 – Quantum Physics and KJEM1010.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap against FYS290.


The course is given in the fall term and contains 6 hours of teaching (lectures, exercises) per week. There will be five compulsory assignments, normally based on group work with oral and written presentations, and with plenary student self evaluation.  In addition there are two compulsory laboratory exercises with individual laboratory reports.

To attend mandatory laboratory classes it is required that the following courses must be taken earlier than the first compulsory laboratory in FYS3710:

You will need to provide documentation that you have passed HMS0503 and HMS0505 when you attend the first mandatory lab.

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.


To be eligible for the final exam, the following conditions must be met:

  • Three of five compulsory assignments must be approved.
  • Two laboratory reports must be approved.

Written final exam, four hours. Letter grade

Detailed information about examinations at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences can be found here

Examination support material

Allowed aids:

  • Angell og Lian "Fysiske størrelser og enheter"
  • Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling"
  • Approved electronical calculator

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Facts about this course

Every autumn

This course is taught for the last time 2017. It will be replaced by FYS3600 from the autumn of 2018.

Every autumn
Teaching language