Seeing broken bones, ulcers and tumors might make some people squeamish, but to radiologists, it’s just another day at work. These health-care professionals use X-rays to capture pictures of patients to determine if problems exist. Some radiologists are generalists, while others concentrate on areas such as mammography or CT scans. This is a highly specialized field, and a Bachelor of Science in radiology or medical imaging prepares students for the responsibilities.

Getting In

To major in radiology, you must be accepted to the college or university first. Then, after taking basic and prerequisite courses, you apply to the program. Students often start the major during their junior year. Some schools offer the B.S. program only to professionals who are already registered radiological technologists with an associate degree. Potential students who have felony or misdemeanor convictions may not be eligible for national certification once they’ve finished the program. Before applying, these individuals should contact a certification agency, such as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Finish These First

Several science courses are common prerequisites for a radiology major. Biology classes with labs are needed, such as Introduction to Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology. Other laboratory science classes may be required, including General Chemistry, Biochemistry or General Physics. Some schools have more unusual science prerequisites. For example, at Long Island University, students who want to enter the Radiologic Technology major must take Gross Primate Anatomy as well as Primate Sectional Anatomy.


A radiology major has many required classes, and some programs mandate summer work. Courses begin with an introduction to radiology, which covers medical terminology, equipment, safety, patient interaction and health-care teamwork. Classes in imaging or radiology procedures cover specific body parts as well as particular patient groups, such as children and seniors. Students have several opportunities for clinical work so they can apply classroom learning. Students might take specialized courses, such as MRI, mammography and pharmacology. Interpersonal relations classes cover topics like leadership and professional communications.

For Technicians

For students who already have an associate degree in radiology, the required courses are different. Although advanced radiology classes are needed, most of the time will be spend studying related topics, such as health-care law, policy, economics and management. Classes on human relations may be needed, such as human-resource management and organization behavior. In addition, students may be introduced to research methods in the field.

What the College Wants

Colleges require bachelor’s students to take basic general education courses. These core courses often include language, literature, history, philosophy, political science, fine arts, social sciences, mathematics, fitness or composition. Although each institution mandates classes in specific fields, students often have options. For example, if social and behavioral sciences are needed, students may choose classes in sociology, psychology, economics or anthropology.