Clinical training

During the Radiation Oncology Residency, your clinical training covers all areas of radiation oncology. The resident participates in all aspects of care for patients receiving radiation therapy.

Each year, residents gain added responsibility in a graduated fashion. While their work remains under staff supervision in accordance with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulations, the resident begins a transition toward greater responsibility as the residency progresses.

Rotation schedule

Rotation Length
On-campus clinical rotations 12 months
Rotation Length
On-campus clinical rotations 12 months
Rotation Length
Research Up to 6 months
Washington University in St. Louis (gynecologic oncology and brachytherapy) 1 month
University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute 3 months
Mayo Clinic, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, (elective option) 1 month
Rotation Length
On-campus clinical rotations 12 months

Rotation descriptions

On-campus clinical rotations

These are two- to three-month rotations with individual radiation oncologists on staff at Mayo Clinic. Rotations involve evaluating, treating and managing patients with all types of malignancies, though each staff member has several areas of expertise that are emphasized during the rotations.

Off-campus clinical rotations

  • Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri — one month (gynecologic oncology and brachytherapy)
  • University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, Florida — three months
  • Mayo Clinic, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona (elective) — one month (intraoperative radiation therapy, proton therapy with pencil beam, and pediatric radiation oncology)

Elective clinical rotations

The resident can apply through the residency director for additional clinical rotations that would enhance his or her education.

During the residency, according to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, at least 36 months must be spent in clinical radiation oncology rotations. No more than six months can be spent off campus.

Didactic training

Required courses:

  • Physics. First-year residents have a two-week, two-hour-a-day physics orientation. Residents receive a general overview of radiation oncology terminology and technology. All PGY-2, PGY-3 and PGY-4 residents complete a 40-week radiation oncology physics course. Each week, there is a two-hour lecture and one-hour problem session. Exams are given periodically, including the American College of Radiology In-Training and Raphex exam.
  • Radiobiology. The radiobiology course consists of weekly one-hour lectures. On alternating years, this consists of an eight-week course or a 16-week course. In addition, once every three years, there is an intensive two-week course that is given.
  • Practice management. A series of lectures are given covering radiation oncology practice management and life after residency.
  • Statistics. A series of lectures are given covering statistics in radiation oncology.

Research training

During their training, residents are required to complete an investigative project under faculty supervision. This may take the form of biological laboratory research, clinical research or medical physics research. The results of such projects should be suitable for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, presentation at scientific meetings or both.

Residents may have up to six months that can be scheduled for dedicated research. However, in order to utilize the entire six months, they must submit a written proposal to the residency director.

Residents should explore research opportunities during their first year of residency. There are many physicians and scientists at Mayo Clinic who are able to facilitate their research. By the second year, the resident should have identified at least one project to pursue. Most residents will work on these projects throughout the residency, with more intensive work during their research rotation.

An elective in the Department of Cancer Biology laboratories is also offered as a component of research training.


Clinical conferences, formal courses, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs and one-on-one instruction are all integral parts of the Radiation Oncology Residency. Regularly scheduled conferences include:

Oncology core curriculum

  • Weekly one-hour lectures covering all oncology topics

Tumor boards

  • Breast cancer (weekly)
  • Lung cancer (twice weekly)
  • Gynecologic oncology (every two weeks)
  • Head and neck (monthly)
  • General tumor (weekly)
  • Sarcoma (weekly)
  • Neurosurgery (weekly)
  • Thyroid (every two weeks)

Morning conference

  • New patient presentations (twice weekly)
  • Journal club or resident lectures (weekly)
  • Chart rounds, which review new patients under treatment (weekly)

Mayo Clinic offers a multitude of other educational lectures each week.

Practice board exams

Practice oral board exams are offered at least once a year to residents in an effort to prepare them for oral board examinations.

Career development

Residents meet periodically with various faculty members and the residency program director to discuss their professional goals. Mayo recruits many of its staff physicians from its own training programs, so when you successfully complete the Radiation Oncology Residency, job opportunities may be available at one of Mayo's group practices. Mayo's vast alumni network is an asset and resource, providing opportunities in both academic and private practice.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop your technical skills, your performance is monitored carefully during the course of the Radiation Oncology Residency. You are formally evaluated by your supervising faculty member after each clinical rotation and on a quarterly basis by the allied health staff. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty, rotations and program to ensure that your educational needs are being met.

Sept. 14, 2016