Harvard Medical School Core Clerkship in Radiology, RD500M.3

This clerkship is designed to teach fundamentals of diagnostic image interpretation and clinical indications for imaging examinations and special procedures and is required for third year Harvard Medical School students. This radiology clerkship is formally structured with didactic lectures, problem-based learning exercises, programmed audiovisual teaching seminars, tutorials, conferences, observation of film interpretation and observation of special procedures. Students are introduced to digital imaging, PACS and the management, storage and presentation of electronic radiologic images. Staff members from the Department of Radiation give lectures on basic principles of radiation therapy.

There are 12, four-week clerkship rotations each academic year. Student sessions run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Enrollment maximum is 10 students. Final grades are determined by observation of classroom performance, evaluation of presentations, written assignments and the final exam.


  • Review relevant anatomy, pathophysiology, technology and performance of examinations as it relates to the daily practice of radiology.
  • In a clinical scenario, recognize the radiological examinations available, know relative appropriateness criteria (cost, radiation, sedation, time, complication(s), consent, limitations, reimbursement where applicable and devise a logical course of action to solve clinical questions).
  • Recognize and communicate the relevant clinical presentation as it pertains to the request for and interpretation of radiological examinations.
  • Given a clinical scenario and radiological findings, generate an appropriate, ordered differential diagnosis and a plan for management of the patient. Management includes the next exam, treatment and consultation of a specialist.
  • Learn very basic plain film and CT interpretation and become familiar with sonography and MR and recognize limitations in knowledge and understanding of radiological interpretation.
  • Become familiar with and begin to manage the digital aspects of modern radiology such as PACS, PowerPoint, internet, CD-ROMs and more. Become accustomed to radiology terminology and radiology interpretation and use in digital presentation and consultation of case material.
  • Recognize aspects of patient autonomy in decision-making, communication, cultural differences and exhibit professionalism in dealing with radiological staff and patients.
  • Recognize and reduce areas of potential error.
  • Become familiar with what radiologists and radiological subspecialists do and how to interact with them as a clinical colleague. Consider a career in radiology in as much as it applies to your interests, strengths and weaknesses.

Harvard Medical School Elective Advanced Clerkship in Diagnostic Radiology, RD501.3

This clerkship is offered full-time for one month to a maximum of five students each month, excluding July and August, for students who have completed a core clerkship in radiology and would like to study radiology for another month. Programs are individually tailored according to students' interests and goals. Possibilities include intensive study in one or more radiology subspecialties and clinical or laboratory research. Evaluation is based on observation of performance by clinical preceptors.

How to Apply

Students who wish to enroll in either clerkship must contact the Harvard Medical School Registrar's Office.
If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen McDermott, Education Coordinator.