5 Must-Visit Radiology Schools Along the California Coast

California is known for its vibrant communities, bucket list must-dos and tourist must-sees -- not to mention a number of universities offering radiology programs. Put these features together and you get what might be a future radiology student's dream come true. Let's take a virtual tour of a few coastal radiology schools in California -- from the San Francisco Bay Area all the way to San Diego -- no gas money required.

5 Must-Visit Radiology Schools in California

University of California, San Francisco

UCSF calls itself a global leader in radiology and biomedical imaging with a department that emphasizes education, patient care and research. It is also part of the only medical school to rank among U.S. News & World Report's top-five schools for research and primary care in 2013. UCSF offers a number of radiology programs designed to accommodate a wide breadth of goals, including diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine residencies, in addition to a department fellowship program. It is also home to a master's in biomedical engineering program and a joint graduate program in bioengineering, a collaborative program for Ph.D. students offered in conjunction with the University of California, Berkeley. Depending on the program, UCSF gives students a chance to participate in cutting-edge research and/or gain first-hand clinical experience. Meanwhile, the Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Distinguished Lecture Series helps connect students with "eminent academic and scientific" leaders in the field. These speakers highlight the latest radiology news and research while exposing students to a diversity of specialties and perspectives. The department hosts a number of additional seminars and events throughout the year that help students keep tabs on key industry trends.

Stanford University

Stanford University is situated in Palo Alto, just south of San Francisco. Its radiology program -- part of the Stanford School of Medicine - prides itself on innovation and research expertise. According to the program's official website, training is divided into two paths -- research and clinical -- and is provided via classes, seminars and continuing education programs. As of 2013, students can participate in medical clerkships, clinical fellowships, or nuclear medicine or radiology residencies -- not to mention journal clubs providing valuable mentorship and networking opportunities. Perhaps what separates Stanford from many other California radiology schools is the depth and span of its pre- and post-doctoral research training, which not only ensure students are aware of cutting-edge research in the field, but helps them drive it. U.S. News & World Report even ranked Stanford School of Medicine the second-best research institution among all U.S. grad schools in its 2014 listing. Stanford's location at the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area puts students within a stone's throw of potential internships and residencies, and, upon graduation, potential jobs in either research or clinical settings.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California -- located near downtown Los Angeles -- is known for its achievements on and off the football field, and its radiology program is no exception. USC calls its Keck School of Medicine a center for "dynamic" patient care, scientific discovery and education. Offering a host of patient services, Keck gives radiology students a chance to master their craft in a real-world clinical setting. The Radiology Department's over 50 full-time faculty members include accomplished physicians and scientists. Students can participate in either a general radiology or neuroradiology clerkship. USC also supports an advanced radiology residency program and a number of fellowships in a diversity of specialties. The department is actively engaged in both clinical and pre-clinical research, and collaborates with many other departments and schools.

University of California, Irvine

The University of California in Irvine is located in Orange County, near the beach and within easy driving distance of L.A. or San Diego. The Department of Radiological Services is a robust branch of the institution's School of Medicine. Notable for its comprehensive training programs that focus on real-world career skills, the program advances education, patient care and research, including on-site clinical trials for innovative radiological diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. As of 2013, UCI students and staff perform 200,000 radiological exams in its medical center each year, giving students valuable hands-on, clinical training that cannot be honed in a classroom or lab. The program offers a four-year residency program covering all aspects of diagnostic medical imaging, and fellowships in eight separate radiological specialties, including musculoskeletal and breast imaging.

University of California, San Diego

UCSD's Department Radiology says it is internationally recognized as one of the "foremost leaders" in the field, and was ranked as the nation's 15th best medical school for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. As with many other radiology schools in California featured on this list, UCSD offers radiology and biomedical imaging training with clinical or research emphases, and fellowship and residency opportunities within a number of specialties. According to its official website, UCSD's radiology department has more than 120 radiologists, physicians and fellows across its various radiological disciplines, including abdominal imaging, interventional and vascular radiology, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. Students can stay up-to-date on important career and research trends through seminars and conferences held throughout the year. Some of these seminars are even held at area ski resorts, giving students a chance to get away from the business of campus life to focus on their studies (and their snowboarding skills).

Choosing a program

This virtual tour of the California coastline can give you a sense for some of your options should you choose to study radiology here, but it is no substitute for hitting the pavement and evaluating schools for yourself. We recommend contacting and visiting a number of radiology programs in California to ensure you find one that suits your goals and personality.

Sources:

"2014 Best Medical Schools: Primary Care," U.S. News & World Report, Ranked in 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools/primary-care-rankings?int=85a732

"2014 Best Medical Schools: Research," U.S. News & World Report, Ranked in 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools/research-rankings?int=85a732

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