The University of Southampton

James Gray MPhys Physics, 2015

Trainee Medical Physicist NHS

I first fell in love with the University of Southampton when my parents took me to see the campus to get me thinking about what I wanted to do after sixth form.

I was very impressed with the facilities, especially the physics library and the astronomy domes.

We bumped into the Physics admissions tutor and he gave me an impromptu tour around the physics building! I was very impressed with the facilities, especially the physics library and the astronomy domes. The friendly atmosphere was very important to me and I got the same impression at the formal open day. I felt the department was welcoming and inclusive throughout my time at Southampton.

Engaging modules and excellent teaching

I really enjoyed studying physics at Southampton; the core modules were very engaging with excellent teaching – and some great characters – and the labs complemented the core learning well. There was always plenty of choice for optional modules; I took some modules from the maths, chemistry and engineering departments, which supplemented my core physics knowledge and I believe made me a better, more-rounded scientist.

Training to become a medical physicist

The University helped me find my current job as a trainee medical physicist on the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP). I had completed the medical physics optional module in my second year and then attended an open day for one of the participating NHS Scientist Training Programme hospitals.

One of things I am most enjoying about my job is working as part of larger clinical team, including doctors, radiographers and other healthcare professionals to provide diagnosis and cancer treatments. Another particular highlight was undertaking an elective placement; I worked on an international dosimetry project for molecular radiotherapy with the National Physical Laboratory and got to go to Toulouse as part of it.

The STP lasts three years and I am coming up to completion soon. I have secured a full time job as a medical physicist in the Nuclear Medicine department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. As my training is finishing I am slowly transitioning towards the 'proper' job, which is something I am really relishing – although I wish I could still be a student at Southampton sometimes!”