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"Radiology is the branch of medicine in which radiologic images are interpreted for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Technological advances in medical imaging - and its growing role in the diagnosis and management of disease - have transformed radiology into one of the premier fields of modern medicine. Many of the greatest achievements in health care have come from radiologists."

— Freeman, B. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty. 3rd Ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill: New York. p.453.

M1 and M2 Students

 What advice would you offer first- and second-year students who are interested in pursuing your specialty?

Students interested in radiology can contact Dr. Wood by email. Find out more about the specialty by informally shadowing a resident, fellow or attending. Getting involved in a research project can really help expose you to the specialty as well.

 How important is a research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?

We strongly recommend research. Research in radiology is desirable, as it shows the student’s ongoing interest in the field, but it is not mandated. Research in radiology addresses a few important objectives: It can help you decide whether radiology is an interesting, engaging specialty for you; you can gain valuable research experience; and it demonstrates commitment to the specialty.

M3 and M4 Students

 What M4 electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?

We recommend Essentials of Diagnostic Radiology and one of the radiology subspecialty rotations. The diagnostic radiology electives are an excellent opportunity to develop firsthand experience in a busy, academic environment.  Radiology subspecialty rotations provide a more in depth clinical experience for those who already have identified a particular area they are interested in.

 Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?

We recommend that a student do an elective at an institution where they will be applying. Doing an external rotation at a program that you are very interested in matching is a very good idea. 

 If your specialty recommends doing away rotations, how many "aways" do you recommend?

There isn’t a set number.

 If away rotations are necessary, when should they be completed?

They should try to do the rotation in time for the grade to be included in the Dean’s letter. The best time for away rotations is between July and November.

 Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?

December and January are probably the most popular, followed by November.

 Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?

No, we prefer letters come from someone who they have worked with directly and who can give an honest recommendation based on personal knowledge. One good letter from a radiologist is sufficient. A second letter from a radiology research experience is fine, too. But no more than two.

 If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?

No. What is really important is that the person knows you very well and can provide meaningful insights that aren’t in other parts of your application.

 Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?


 Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?


 Radiology Specialty Session - Winter / Residency Application Information

During the winter of the M3 year, students should attend specialty sessions sponsored by the Department of Radiology to learn more about the specialty and meet attendings and residents in the field.

Request a Radiology Adviser

Senta M. Berggruen, MD
Radiology Career Advising Co-Coordinator
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Jonathan Samet, MD
Radiology Career Advising Co-Coordinator
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Cecil Wood, MD
Radiology Career Advising Co-Coordinator
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For More Information

Department of Radiology
Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine
676 N. St. Clair St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2923
Phone: 312-695-5753
Fax: 312-695-5645