Radiation Oncology Elective Rotation

MD Anderson Cancer Center offers clinical rotations in Radiation Oncology to medical students enrolled at accredited US medical schools. We encourage students interested in pursuing radiation oncology as a career to inquire. The rotation offers the opportunity to interact with faculty and trainees within the Division of Radiation Oncology at one of the largest comprehensive cancer centers in the world. 

Please note the following important points:

  • Only students enrolled in an accredited U.S. medical school are eligible. Students enrolled at an international medical school are not eligible.
  • Students must apply in order to be considered for the rotation. Students should apply for the elective in their third year, no later than April 30th.  Accepted students will complete a formal application process through both the MD Anderson and UT Houston systems
  • The clinical experience at MD Anderson will take place in the final year of medical school. 
  • Rotations are NOT available in January, June, July or December.

Students may choose to rotate at the main MD Anderson campus or one of our satellite facilities: 

How to Apply

Your application package must include the following: 

  • A completed application form
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Student transcript: an unofficial, student-issued transcript is acceptable for application
  • Written personal statement
  • USMLE Step I scores (if available)

Email the completed application package to: 

Letericia Smith
Program Coordinator
lsmith@mdanderson.org

Completed applications must be received no later than April 30. Applicant selection and notification is done by mid-May. If accepted, a minimum of 60 days is required to process the required documentation.

Track 1: University-based Hospital Elective

The majority of students who intend to pursue radiation oncology as a career will choose track 1. This rotation offers the most exposure to both the faculty and residents in radiation oncology at MD Anderson. The elective consists of four core weeks and is offered through our affiliate medical school, The University of Texas-Houston Medical School.

The four-week rotation is divided into two, 2-week periods during which the student will rotate on two clinical radiation oncology services at the main MD Anderson campus. Accepted students will be asked to submit their preferences for the following services within Radiation Oncology: Breast, Gastrointestinal, Central Nervous System, Genitourinary, Gynecology, Head and Neck, Lymphoma, Melanoma and Sarcoma or Thoracic.

The major objectives of this rotation are to acquaint the student with the basic concepts and practice of radiotherapy. The primary emphasis is on issues that will be useful to any physician who may provide services to cancer patients. The curriculum includes:

  • Basic principles of radiation physics, radiobiology, and radiation safety
  • Clinical evaluation and staging of the patient with cancer
  • The role of radiotherapy in the management of patients with cancer
  • The importance of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer management
  • The process by which treatment plans are generated from an understanding of tumor volume, normal tissue considerations and natural history of the disease
  • Implementation and verification of radiotherapy treatment plans

Goals & Objectives

The goals of the medical student elective are to assure that our students are competent in patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. The goals for each of these competencies are outlined for each clinical service rotation.

Student Responsibilities

  • New patient consults
  • Under treatment clinics
  • Follow-up clinics
  • Follow at least one new patient each week through simulation to start of treatment
  • Attend daily planning clinic conference
  • Attend pertinent multidisciplinary conferences throughout the rotation
  • Give a brief presentation on a relevant radiation oncology topic, including a paper presentation
  • Medical students are expected to work 40 to 50 hours a week and be available during standard working hours

Track 2: Community-based Elective

This track offers a unique opportunity for students who wish to experience a broad overview of clinical radiation oncology as practiced in the community setting. The entire elective will take place at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Katy, TX. The curriculum includes:

  • Basic principles of radiation physics, radiobiology, and radiation safety
  • Clinical evaluation and staging of the cancer patient
  • The role of radiotherapy in the management of cancer
  • The importance of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer management
  • The process by which treatment plans are generated from an understanding of tumor volume, normal tissue considerations and natural history of the disease
  • Implementation and verification of radiotherapy treatment plans

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the medical student elective is to provide a broad overview of clinical radiation oncology as it is practiced in the community. The emphasis will be on the clinical practice radiation oncology in regard to physical examination of the cancer patient, cross sectional anatomy as it pertains to radiation treatment planning, and general physician/patient interaction.

Student Responsibilities

  • Attend patient consults, follow-ups, simulations, and weekly management visits.
  • Attend weekly MD Anderson Interdisciplinary Rounds
  • Attend tumor boards at community hospitals
  • Perform selected assigned tasks independently
  • Work with Radiation Therapists and Dosimetrists in their respective disciplines
  • Follow at least one new patient from consultation, simulation, treatment planning, and treatment start per week

Contact Information

If you have questions or need more information about our programs please contact:

Director of Medical Student Electives
David Grosshans, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Email: dgrossha@mdanderson.org

Program Administrator
Denise De La Cruz, M.Ed., Program Manager
Phone: 713-792-2534
Email: ddlcruz@mdanderson.org

Program Assistant
Letericia Smith, Program Coordinator
Phone: 713-563-2315
Email: lsmith@mdanderson.org

Fax number: 713-563-8645

Resources