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Learn the fundamentals of radiation oncology

Your experience as an undergraduate student is comprised primarily of electives and summer research activities. Our electives are taught by faculty and preceptors who will expose you to many of the clinical and technical aspects of radiation oncology, and provide an overview of what you'll experience in the broader oncology program.

As an undergraduate student, you can attend many of the multidisciplinary oncology clinics, particularly in your senior years. Participation in clinics will improve your understanding of the complex issues involved in the management of patients with various malignancies.

Undergraduate electives

Our electives give you real-world experience as you work as part of a team, with medical physicists, nurses and radiation therapists--to name a few--in treatment delivery. Electives like radiotherapy can be used in curative and palliative management of most types of cancer and it’s estimated that over half of patients with a cancer diagnosis will receive radiotherapy.


Med 1 and Med 2 longitudinal elective

Duration: Half day per week, September to December or September to April

Electives for Med 1 and 2 students are typically longitudinal in nature. Depending on student availability, additional experiences are available during the summer months. You will gain:

  • comprehensive experience with cancer care, symptoms, diagnosis, combined modality treatment and follow-up care
  • expertise in high-tech, image-based radiation treatment planning processes and post-treatment care
  • mentors through interaction with healthcare professionals
  • an appreciation for the impact of cancer diagnoses on patients and family during this patient-oriented elective

Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology elective

The Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology (CARO) offers a six week elective experience to students in the summer between the Med 2 and Med 3 years. Halifax has hosted this experience for the last several years. More information on this studentship can be found on the CARO website.

Med 3 and Med 4 elective

Duration: Two-to-four weeks

Med 3 and 4 students are typically able to do dedicated electives in our department for two-to-four weeks at a time. This elective gives you the opportunity to work in outpatient clinics where patients with cancer are evaluated, management plans are generated and follow-up care is performed.

There's the opportunity to be involved in the technical side of treatment delivery and in observing operative procedures performed by radiation oncologists. There's also the opportunity to become involved in research, depending on the goals of the student. This elective would benefit you if you're pursuing in a career in radiation oncology or if you plan to practice in other areas but have an interest in cancer.

During this elective, you'll focus on surgical and medical oncology, pathology, radiology, physics, nursing and radiotherapy. You have the option of turning it into an interdisciplinary elective, with your time spent between Radiation Oncology and Medical Oncology. You will:

  • gain comprehensive experience with cancer care including symptoms, diagnosis, combined modality treatment and follow-up palliation
  • improve your clinical skills through patient assessment and consultation in an outpatient setting
  • benefit from excellent one-on-one teaching in clinics and tutorials. 
  • attend daily, tumor site-specific, multidisciplinary case conferences
  • participate in a high-tech, image-based radiation treatment planning process and post-treatment care
  • witness the impact of cancer diagnoses on patients and families


For electives in Halifax, contact:
Karen Watts
Phone: 902-473-6068
Email: karena.watts@cdha.nshealth.ca

For electives in Saint John, contact:
Dr. M. Mohiuddin, MD
Phone: 506-648-6885
Email: m.mohiuddin@horizonnb.ca