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Residency Training

Where basic science and clinical practice meet

As a resident, you'll gain a solid grounding in the basic sciences of radiation biology, physics and oncology, along with ongoing clinical training in radiation oncology. You'll also have the opportunity to study medical physics at the graduate and postgraduate level through the Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science.

We are accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and give residents from other programs the opportunity to complete a four-week elective.

What’s residency like?

Your residency will be an intensive five-year program where you'll spend two months at a time working one-on-one with a faculty member. Each year consists of thirteen four-week blocks from July 1 to June 30 and an academic half day where you spend half a day each week learning about topics like physics and radiobiology.

Residency is primarily based in Halifax, with a smaller component of mandatory training in Saint John. The work hours are typically predictable (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), but residents often cover inpatient and outpatient services on call on evenings and weekends. Though residency can be challenging, a career in radiation oncology is conducive to family life and other interests outside of medicine.

Research requirement 

During the five-year training program, you'll complete one-to-two relevant research projects with a goal of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal or presenting at a national/international conference.

You'll be encouraged and supported to present your work at national meetings as well as at the annual Oncology Resident Research Day. Research submissions to and participation in funded conferences and educational courses are encouraged in PGY3, PGY4 and PGY5. Additional opportunities may be available as financial resources allow.

Resident training curriculum

PGY1

Your first year of residency will consist of:

  • a four-week block of radiation oncology in Halifax
  • two blocks of radiation oncology at the Saint John Regional Hospital
  • one block each in general and thoracic surgery
  • one block each in gynecologic oncology and emergency medicine
  • five blocks in internal medicine (one block each in neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology, infectious disease and palliative medicine)

PGY2

Your second year of residency will consist of:

  • three blocks (four weeks each) of radiation oncology
  • one block of otolaryngology
  • four blocks of core internal medicine, consisting of hematology and three blocks (12 weeks) of medical oncology
  • one block of diagnostic radiology
  • one block of research
  • one block of pathology
  • two blocks of selectives: a choice of four-week rotations in urology, respirology, family medicine, bone marrow transplant or another surgical or internal medicine subspecialty

PGY3

Your third year of residency will consist of:

  • twelve four-week blocks with a supervising radiation oncologist
  • one block of applied physics/dosimetry to be taken at the end of the academic year
  • one elective block (specific tumour sites, preceptor based rotation, external radiation oncology electives, research, medical education, global health, molecular genetics, other CanMEDS electives, supportive specialties)
  • outpatient clinics in the NSCC (approximately eight half-day clinics per week) for the bulk of your clinical experience. Clinics include new patient consults, planning/simulation of radiation therapy, follow-up patients and review of patients receiving radiotherapy. You'll provide inpatient care on the radiation oncology inpatient service.
  • the opportunity to attend the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists (CARO) annual meeting
  • a chance to complete the American College of Radiology Radiation Oncology In-Training Exam

PGY4

The fourth year of your residency consists of:

  • twelve four-week blocks with a supervising radiation oncologist in Halifax with two or three blocks spent in Saint John. 
  • one elective block (specific tumour sites, preceptor based rotation, external radiation oncology electives, research, medical education, global health, molecular genetics, other CanMEDS electives, supportive specialties)
  • outpatient clinics in the NSCC (approximately eight half-day clinics per week) for the bulk of your clinical experience. Clinics include new patient consults, planning/simulation of RT, follow-up patients and review of patients receiving radiotherapy. You'll provide inpatient care on the radiation oncology inpatient service. There's a graded level of responsibility to achieve independent treatment planning.
  • the opportunity to attend the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting
  • the Pacific Northwest Radiobiology course
  • a chance to complete the American College of Radiology Radiation Oncology In-Training exam

PGY5

Your final year of residency consists of:

  • twelve four-week blocks with a supervising radiation oncologist in Halifax (as per PGY4) with the resident having significant input into the site-specific experience they feel will most benefit them
  • an emphasis on independent treatment planning and consultations while physics tutorials and regular treatment planning exams are conducted throughout the year
  • participation in a resident longitudinal clinic that allows you to follow the same patients through various courses of treatment, leading to a greater responsibility in decision making
  • one elective block (specific tumour sites, preceptor based rotation, external radiation oncology electives, research, medical education, global health, molecular genetics, other CanMEDS electives, supportive specialties)
  • reduced on-call and inpatient duties during the final six months of training
  • the opportunity to attend the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists (CARO) annual meeting
  • the opportunity to take the National Canadian Preparatory course in Clinical and Radiation Oncology


Training sites

Our impact is felt across the Maritimes. Your real-world training will be split between, Halifax, Saint John and Charlottetown.

Halifax, NS

Saint John, NB

Charlottetown, PEI

Want more information about residency?
Phone: 902-473-6068
Email: karena.watts@cdha.nshealth.ca