Radiology and its many technologies play a vital role in almost all fields of medicine. Tools like ultrasound and mammogram technology help doctors diagnose injuries and detect disease.
Fluoroscopy can allow trained radiologists to determine otherwise undetectable tumors or issues in a patient’s gastrointestinal system using radiocontrast elements to see via x-ray technology and without invasive surgery.
Computed tomography, or CT scans, allow medical professionals to study three-dimensional patient images for signs of heart damage, blood clots, kidney stones, or cerebral hemorrhage.
Beyond diagnostic uses, surgeries can be performed using imaging guidance to reduce the size of the incision and speed recovery. From angioplasty to stent placement, interventional radiology makes many surgeries safer and more efficient.
Nuclear medicine offers a way to capture fine details of anatomy previously unavailable. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans can give doctors information about heart function or detect cancers sooner and more accurately.
Becoming a radiologist first requires an undergraduate degree and a completed medical degree.
After completing a post-degree medical internship, usually another four or five years, students must then enroll in a specialty program in Radiology. Once the candidate finishes a residency period in Radiology, they take board exams to become certified in Radiology.
Each of these programs offers diagnostic radiology residencies, the most common form of radiology residency.
Some of the top programs offer subspecialties or residencies in nuclear medicine, especially at high-level research facilities.
These ten excellent radiology programs are ranked by each school’s placement on the US News Radiology Schools list. From every region of the country, each has its own advantages and focus areas.
Here are the 10 best radiology schools in the US.
10. UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (Los Angeles, CA)
The Department of Radiological Sciences of the David Geffen School of Health at the University of California Los Angeles offers a four-year diagnostic radiology training program and an integrated, interventional radiology program that takes an additional year of study.
At present, the program maintains 48 residency positions throughout its teaching hospital network.
Candidates complete residency training by cycling through the five teaching hospitals associated with the program.
Twelve subspecialty sections provide training in a broad spectrum of diagnostic radiology fields. Spending from 4 to 24 weeks in each area, residents encounter topics including thoracic imaging, abdominal imaging, neuroradiology, ultrasonography, and other areas.
From the first year of the program, students learn the basics of image reading and analysis. Residents participate in weekly lectures and conferences, including didactic lectures on alternating Thursdays covering all aspects of radiological science.
Through each year of the program, candidates acquire more autonomy, becoming more self-directed.
A state-of-the-art imaging center offers candidates hands-on experience with the latest medical device innovations.
Candidates interested in a clinical research career can elect to follow the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Training Program in Translational Science.
This two-year program offers three levels of academic commitment, providing a way for researchers to acquire necessary radiology skills for their work without completing a full radiology degree program.
9. University of Michigan Medical School (Ann Arbor, MI)
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor offers a four-year radiology curriculum in which residents rotate through the major fields of radiology, including abdominal, thoracic, and musculoskeletal imaging.
Rotations start at the esteemed Michigan Medical Campus, expanding in the second and third years to the Ann Arbor VA Hospital.
A tiered on-call program involves students in a supervised clinical experience that escalates during the four years of the program.
Candidates also can expect opportunities to conduct their own research with guidance from the faculty.
The Michigan Radiology Quality Collaborative, located at Michigan Medicine, allows residents to participate in groundbreaking projects and connect with other radiology professionals.
The Vascular and Interventional Radiology division provides the specialized radiology training necessary for performing surgery involving radiology, including vascular, thoracic, and minimally-invasive surgery.
The six-year residency program prepares candidates through supervised clinical training with increasing autonomy as the program continues.
Three specialty areas at Michigan participate in the National Resident Matching Program: breast imaging, musculoskeletal radiology, and neuroradiology.
Other fellowships are administered through the department.
8. Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, CT)
Yale University’s Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging unites its resident education program with its biomedical imaging research program and its diagnosis and image-guided therapy program in one academic department.
Three residency programs in diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, and diagnostic medical physics offer candidates educational paths leading to clinical application and research careers.
In the diagnostic program, currently expanding from 56 to 68 resident positions, residents complete a year of wide-ranging rotations before moving in the second year to one-on-one pairings with attending physicians for clinical training.
The third-year supports preparation for the CORE exam while continuing clinical rotations and on-call duty.
Like many programs, the fourth year offers time to pursue subspecialty electives. Many students take mini-fellowships during this period.
Yale’s hospital system includes psychiatric, pediatric, and cancer care institutions. Residents also may rotate through the VA Connecticut System. A new neuroscience facility opening in 2024 promises to enhance the school’s already excellent resources.
7. Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO)
The Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offers, along with its diagnostic radiology program, tracks in interventional radiology and a combined diagnostic and nuclear medicine track.
The four-year curriculum begins with the foundational rotations through the main branches of radiology. Once residents accrue sufficient working knowledge, usually by the second year, call duty becomes a part of their schedule until time to study for board exams. The program runs its own conference series designed to prepare residents for the exam.
Noon conferences take place daily, focusing on subspecialty areas in a rotating program. Daily departmental case conferences include residents at all stages, giving first-year students a chance to develop diagnostic skills before a case goes to a more senior colleague.
Seven research facilities make MIR a global center for up-to-date radiology collaboration and inquiry. The Precision Radio-Theranostics Translational Laboratories, for instance, provide a setting for interdisciplinary research in the use of molecular imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The program also offers fellowships in eight areas of subspecialty, including pediatric radiology and nuclear medicine. The program’s St. Louis location offers affordable living; the campus itself abuts a Forest Park, a large recreational area voted one of the top city parks in America.
6. Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC)
Durham, North Carolina’s Duke University follows a five-year model combining residency and fellowship.
Three years of thorough general diagnostic training precedes a fourth flexible year, leading to additional subspecialty training, research investigation, a dual path including nuclear medicine, or participation in projects with the Duke Global Health Institute.
With 94 subspecialty faculty and 19 care locations, Duke’s program offers residents a wide array of resources, support, and clinical opportunities.
Conferences provide the foundation for preclinical training, with weekday morning teaching conferences, noon “hot seat” case conferences and subspecialty talks, and afternoon “roll-out conferences where interesting cases are reviewed by the group.
Medical students at Duke complete a second-year rotation in radiology. Seeing the future of medicine increasingly relying on the techniques of radiology, Duke implemented this feature of its medical school in 2011.
Visiting observerships, technologist programs, and continuing medical education programs offered through Duke’s radiology department allows students at many levels with a variety of career needs the chance to benefit from the program’s resources and experience.
Duke’s world-renowned research hospital draws the highest level of faculty and researchers.
5. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)
A division of Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Radiology sustains a strong research focus, holding the top position in NIH research funding.
Facilities like the Positron Emission Tomography Center, where researchers study brain function, offer opportunities to participate in the highest levels of research in the field.
Residents at Penn choose from clinical and research tracks in the diagnostic radiology division.
A combination interventional and diagnostic radiology program and a 16-month nuclear radiology certification program offer students greater flexibility as they prepare for all kinds of radiology careers.
Penn encourages an interest in research among its residents, even in the clinical program, with elements like their first-year rotation How to be an Academic Radiologist; many residents publish their research in academic journals while completing the radiology program.
Rotations occur at Pennsylvania Hospital, the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, supervised by faculty.
Residents also rotate through Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and spend four weeks in a virtual rotation through the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology.
Penn offers residents various paths to leadership in the field, with programs like their Business and Innovation of Radiology and Health Equity Leadership tracks. These cross-disciplinary, collaborative tracks give Penn students the tools and knowledge to be the ones who will guide the future of radiological sciences.
4. Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)
The Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Radiology in Houston, Texas, offers a residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowships in several specialty areas, including several kinds of pediatric radiology.
The program rotates its residents through the renowned Texas Children’s Hospital, home to the Texas Children’s Department of Pediatric Radiology.
First-year rotations ground residents in the foundations of radiology. The second-year includes a three-month rotation in a level I trauma center, the Ben Taub Hospital Emergency Center. Over time, residents acquire increasing autonomy, moving through the second year performing a variety of procedures, including interpreting mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs.
Third-year studies include preparation for exams, as well as obstetrical imaging and cardiac imaging rotations, while the fourth year offers more individualized curriculum.
Daily noon conferences are for all residents, divided by year; candidates also participate in team-based learning sessions, practice-based learning conferences, and other lecture and conference series.
All residents are expected to produce at least one research publication while they study in the program.
The Department of Radiology works with the Baylor College of Medicine to provide radiology elective programs for its medical students.
3. University of California San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
The University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging offers residency programs in diagnostic radiology, integrated and independent interventional radiology, and in nuclear medicine.
Graduate and postgraduate programs, along with a program for current medical students, provide a wealth of options for medical professionals and students at any stage of education who are interested in acquiring more familiarity with imaging and radiology.
Research plays a central role in the department’s mission; residents may choose to spend up to 12 months of the four-year program working with faculty on the many projects at UCSF, a leader in radiological technologies.
First and second years of the program focus on rotations, lectures, and conferences, both lecture and case-based.
The program invites renowned radiologists as guest speakers, and senior residents participate by inviting a speaker of their choice for a visiting professorship each year.
Third-year students attend the UCSF Resident Review Course, the largest review course in the nation, held annually in San Francisco. Third and fourth-year residents participate in the resident on-call system at several large hospitals, including San Francisco General and the VA Medical Center.
Although the cost of living in San Francisco can seem daunting, the program provides residents with an additional housing stipend within its benefits package to defray housing costs.
2. Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
Harvard University’s Medical School offers radiology residencies through several hospitals, primarily Massachusetts General Hospital.
The school and the hospital collaborated on the creation of the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, a flagship research center for research and training in new biomedical imaging technology.
Years one through three of the program rotate residents through two to four-week blocks in the significant areas of radiology. Candidates can spend some rotations at Brigham and Women’s Hospital or at Mount Auburn’s Division of Interventional Radiology.
Daily instruction comes through clinical activities and through case discussion conferences. lectures, and subspecialty conferences.
Prominent radiologists from around the country come to Mass General to conduct Grand Rounds on Wednesdays, offering residents a way to learn from a wide range of professionals in the field.
Subspecialty areas hold conferences weekly. Open to all residents, these meetings can be in a lecture format or a review of interesting cases. Night on-call requirements are lower in this program, since the department is centered in one hospital.
Residents can participate in a number of professional opportunities through the program, including the groundbreaking MESH Incubator lab, the Management and Leadership Training Program, and projects through Global Health Programs.
1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD)
Johns Hopkins Medicine, always a leader in medical research and education, offers residency programs in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine radiology, molecular imaging radiology, and interventional radiology.
With a $1 billion dollar clinical building as part of its renowned hospital facility, John Hopkins provides an ideal setting for comprehensive training.
The diversity of case studies provided by a center like Johns Hopkins enhances the learning environment for residents in the program.
Morning conferences in lecture series and case study formats prepare students for clinical settings and for ABR CORE exams. Noon conferences include grand rounds and meetings with the department chair or program director.
Residents at Johns Hopkins participate in critiquing lectures and, in regular meetings with the department chair, can offer comments on the program’s organization and progress. Residents also have an equal vote in the resident selection process.
Though they are required to complete at least one scholarly project during their time at Johns Hopkins, residents typically make use of their proximity to some of the most renowned radiologists in the world by participating in multiple research projects.
An innovative project adjacent to Johns Hopkins, the Science and Technology Park, will offer living and working areas for medical professionals connected to Johns Hopkins.
The project demonstrates Johns Hopkins’ commitment to its researchers, their quality of life, and a sustained, dedicated community moving medical research into the future.