gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Physico-Technical Medicine (PTM) - a new Master-Online study course for physicians

Note medicine

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author Josef Guttmann - Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Anästhesiologische Universitätsklinik, Freiburg, Deutschland
  • author Susanne Dreier - Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Anästhesiologische Universitätsklinik, Freiburg, Deutschland
  • author Stefan Schumann - Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Anästhesiologische Universitätsklinik, Freiburg, Deutschland

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2011;28(1):Doc01

doi: 10.3205/zma000713, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0007135

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: January 10, 2011
Revised: January 10, 2011
Accepted: January 10, 2011
Published: February 4, 2011

© 2011 Guttmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


This winter-semester school year 2010-2011, a new Master-Online study course Physico-Technical Medicine (PTM) is offered for the first time. This is an extra-occupational study course offered by the University of Freiburg (medical faculty) in cooperation with the Furwangen University of Applied Sciences (HFU; department mechanical and process engineering), which is funded by the German state of Baden-Württemberg in support of the programme “Zukunftsoffensive“. This certified study course PTM addresses physicians exclusively. After a two and a half years in the course, they are offered an internationally accepted final academic degree Master of Science (M.Sc.), which is conferred by the University of Freiburg.

Motivation: The study course PTM is established to cater the significantly advanced level of technology in medicine. Enhanced potentials with respect to medical diagnostics and therapy and the still existing security risk for the patient led to the conclusion that a further practical and theoretical training in the fields of medical engineering and physics has become increasingly important for physicians. A first attempt to answer with respect to this gap in training was the institution of medical simulation centres for on-the-job training in the sense of Simulation-Based Training (SBT). However, beyond this, there is no offer for training especially available for physicians – and even less as an extra-occupational training.

Skills: The study course PTM imparts the basic skills for an enhanced understanding of the technical and physical interrelationships in biomedical technology and the methodological competence for application and best possible utilisation of medical-technical instrumentation. The research and development skills imparted by the study course in combination with the didactic competence enable the physician to occupy the important field of medical simulation technique. Management skills in combination with economic skills enable the physician to make well-founded decisions on capital investments in the field of medical-technical equipment.

Structural organisation of the study course: The study course PTM covers physical and technical basics with phases of practical training. With this as a foundation, two of various advanced courses in different fields of medical technology (technology in intensive care medicine, technology in surgery, cardiology, radiology, and others) can be selected. Including the master thesis, for which a working time of 6 months is considered, the curriculum covers 90 credit-points (according to ECTS). Targeting 12 to 16 credit points per semester, the work load for a typical student is about 10 hours per week. One feature of this study course is the concept of ”blended learning“, which consists of a high quota of self-directed online learning (90%) combined with a small quota of learning in presence (10%). Both parts are intensively guided by lecturers and educated tele-tutors. With respect to the student’s occupation, the master thesis is projected to be performed at the student’s workplace. Furthermore, the master thesis can be extended to a doctorate in the field of human medicine.

Studying online: There are two major advantages of online study courses. Students are free to manage their time and at the same time their place of living is independent from the place of study. Therefore, studying online is the optimal choice for an extra-occupational education. CampusOnline is the central online-learning platform of the University of Freiburg. The system is managed by the computer-centre of the University of Freiburg and supported by the HFU-academy. Modern forms of e-learning apply to the study-course PTM including e-lectures, online lectures in ”virtual presence” and self-assessments.

CME program: The study course PTM supports continuing medical education. The CME-points are provided by the Landesärztekammer Baden-Württemberg. This leads to a major discharge of CME obligations, and increases the freedom of choice for further CME programs.

Career: Physicians with informed competences in the field of physico-medical and techno-medical basics are expected to improve their possible fields of work in clinical practice but also in cooperative group practice and in the biomedical industry. In terms of leadership competences in the field of clinical medicine and medical science, additional technical skills are a clear advantage in the competitive field of professional career. It has to be noted that such advantages are not only beneficial for the qualified physician himself but also for the department that employs such experts.

Schedules and Applications: The study course PTM starts twice every year, with the summer term (application deadline March 15) and the winter term (application deadline October 15).

Tuition fees: Total tuition fees is 10.400 € (administration fees included) payable in four partial amounts of 2.600 €.

Further information is available at:

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.