Ultrasound Curriculum

Year 1

Semester 1 – Fall

Physics of Ultrasound

This in-class, lecture-based course investigates all aspects of the principles of ultrasound physics, instrumentation, image artefacts, quality assurance and Doppler. The basic content covered in this course is the foundation from which the students will build their image recognition and assessment skills. The basics of equipment function, set-up and manipulation will be taught using a variety of methods

Ultrasound of the Abdomen and Superficial Structures

This sonography-based course explores the normal ultrasound appearances of multiple human body systems, organs and vessels in gray scale and Doppler to include: abdominal organs/ systems (urinary system, liver, biliary system, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas and gastrointestinal system), peri and retroperitoneum as well as superficial structures (breast, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary glands & superficial tissues),the male reproductive system scrotum, testis, epididymis, prostate & seminal vesicles). Normal Doppler ultrasound findings of the abdominal vessels, extra cranial vessels and the upper and lower extremity venous system are also discussed using sonographic images. The students learn to critically assess sonographic image(s) using spatial and relational reasoning to recognize normal & normal variants and their sonographic appearances. The students also learn to recognise the lab data associated with each organ as well as the patient preparation for each ultrasound examination. Using appropriate medical and sonographic terminology the student learns to write a technical impression of the sonographic findings. This is a didactic course. The student must review human anatomy and physiology as per the required entrance prerequisite to be better prepared for this course.

Cross-Sectional Anatomy

This course introduces the students to the cross-sectional and relational anatomy of the head, central nervous system, neck, spine, thorax, abdomen, male pelvis, female pelvis, upper & lower extremities as well as muscles, vessels and the lymphatic system using anatomical diagrams, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) images. The ability to recognize anatomical structures as demonstrated on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) images is essential in all disciplines that utilize diagnostic medical imaging since it allows the student to learn from an extended field of view. This course offers weekly interactive lectures and provides the student with an interactive environment in which they can actively apply the knowledge learned by using digital diagnostic medical images and line drawings.

Ultrasound Scanning I

This hands-on simulation laboratory course will introduce sonographic scanning techniques of the liver, biliary system, kidneys and spleen. Labs will include patient identification, informed consent, patient safety, ergonomics, hand hygiene and professionalism.  You will have opportunities to practice the various imaging protocols in a simulated laboratory setting.  Competency in performing the procedures will be evaluated throughout the course. These topics and skills will be reinforced in USUS123, and SCUS131 and the clinical semesters CLUS130/240.

Professional Practice I

This is the first of two courses dealing with patient care and professionalism. This course will introduce students to principles and application of patient care and professionalism. The student will practice patient care skills and interact with standardized patients. These activities complement activities in concurrent with the USUS112 Ultrasound Scanning 1 course. Topics of professionalism, scope of practice, code of ethics, interprofessionalism, reflective practice, and team work, among others, will also be introduced.

Semester 2 – Winter


This course builds upon the content of ABUS 111. This Sonography-based pathology course explores the abnormal ultrasound appearances of multiple human body systems in gray scale and Doppler to include: organs, structures and spaces located in the abdomen including bowel, superficial structures (breast, thyroid, prostate, seminal vesicles, scrotum), musculoskeletal system, extra cranial vessels (including carotid and subclavian arteries), and the upper and lower extremity venous system using sonographic images. The students will critically assess sonographic image(s) using spatial and relational reasoning to recognize normal versus abnormal ultrasound appearances. The students will learn to correlate clinical history and lab data to the specific sonographic findings in order to create a technical impression and formulate a differential diagnosis using medical and sonographic terminology. The students will also conduct a literature search on a given pathology in order to review professional literature and assess relevance to practice. This is a didactic course that consists of 2 classes of 3 hours in duration weekly.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

This didactic course covers the anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system in both the gravid and non-gravid state, along with fetal development from implantation to birth. All of this information is used in distinguishing between normal and abnormal ultrasound appearances. The student will learn to critically assess the image to create the technical impression and the differential diagnosis that is provided to the physicians. They will do this by integrating the patients’ history with lab data, and the ultrasound appearances.

Ultrasound Scanning II

This hands-on ultrasound-scanning course is conducted in a simulated laboratory environment & on line utilizing high and low fidelity phantoms/simulators & scanning each other. This course builds on the skills the student has obtained in the USUS112 (Ultrasound Scanning I) course; by the end of this course the student should be proficient in scanning a normal adult abdomen (liver, hepatic vessels, biliary system, urinary system, abdominal aorta, inferior vena cava, spleen & pancreas) & a normal female transabdominal pelvis. The student will practice the thyroid, parathyroid, salivary glands & male pelvis ultrasounds & will have the opportunity to utilize phantoms to obtain scanning proficiency for obstetrics as well as female pelvis transvaginal examinations including dressing and undressing the transducer, positioning, patient care and scanning. The student will practice their professionalism and patient care skills learned in PPUS 130 & USUS112 to identify the patient, obtain informed consent, don & doff PPE and ensure that both the patient and they are safe at all times. Academic knowledge from ABUS111, ABUS121 & OBUS121 will be applicable to this course. Competency in the abdomen and gynecology ultrasound examinations are evaluated in this course. All scanning protocols utilize the Sonographic Canada’s NCP V.6- Appendix A, B and C as the foundational platform. Ultrasound examinations in this course will be reinforced in the SCUS131 as well as the clinical practicum courses (CLUS130/240).      

Semester 3 – Summer

Ultrasound Simulated Clinical

This ultrasound simulated scanning course has been developed to prepare the student for entry into the clinical environment. The emphasis of this course is for students to become competent in scanning a normal abdomen & female pelvis (transabdominal). The students will also work on the development of sonographic scanning skills of obstetrics ,transvaginal scanning, superficial structures (breast, thyroid, and scrotum); all except the thyroid scanning is done utilizing high and low fidelity simulators. Vascular Doppler ultrasound of the abdominal including intra hepatic and renal vessels, extra cranial, iliac, upper, and lower extremity  vessels are also practiced. The students will be introduced to Musculoskeletal scanning of the shoulder. Incorporated within the simulated labs are the patient care criteria of: utilizing professional communication, obtaining informed consent and pertinent clinical history. Patient safety, universal precautions and ergonomics are also emphasized and evaluated throughout the course.  Weekly tutorial sessions are used to introduce the new topics, debrief the weekly scanning lab sessions and answer questions that arise from lab experiences.  Students will be scanning each other for the abdomen, male (transabdominal) and female pelvis (trans abdominal), thyroid, extra cranial vessels, and upper & lower extremities. Phantoms are utilized for all sensitive exams such as obstetrics, transvaginal ultrasound, scrotal ultrasound and breast ultrasound. Standardized patients may be utilized for evaluations.

Professional Practice II

This course reinforces the patient care and professionalism skills from the PPUS110 and prepares the student for the clinical semester. The course also focuses on the principles and application of patient care skills that will complement the SCUS130 simulated clinical scanning course. Accordingly, the student will build on history taking and patient care skills with challenging scenarios and interactions with standardized patients. The course will identify challenges when working with diverse patients. Students will learn about infection control, infectious patients, and patients who require oxygen therapy and how to monitor and assess patient’s vital signs. During the tutorial, students will visit a simulated intensive care unit to examine the ancillary equipment that supports the patient. Students will learn about the patient care, consent and setup for an interventional procedure. Furthermore, the students will analyze relevant literature in order to learn the need for evidence based practice. The learner will research, analyze and discuss the Health Care Privacy Acts in Ontario in order to be better informed for clinical practice. The course will provide an orientation and preparation for the clinical semester which begins in the fall.

Evidence Based Approach to Clinical Practice

This on-line course involves independent study in which the learner will conduct a literature review to gather evidence on  a chosen topic related to medical ultrasound or an approved health care topic. The student will employ effective search strategies and techniques to conduct a literature search and write a literature review on the topic. The learner will utilize the e citation management tool called Zotera to format their literature review in Vancouver style.Using the process of Evidence Based Practice the learner will apply the evidence from their literature review to reflect on the impact on their sonography practice and will present their literature review findings in an online presentation.

Year 2

Semesters 4 and 5 – Fall/Winter

CLUS130 and CLUS240
Clinical Practicum I and Clinical Practicum II

The clinical practicum consists of two clinical semesters.  The semesters are specified as either an “Abdomen/superficial structures/vascular”, “Obstetrics/gynecology” or “Blended” rotation. Each clinical semester is 15 weeks in length. An assessment timeline for each clinical semester has been developed so that evaluations can occur in a timely manner. The schedule is posted to the CLUS130/240 folder on Blackboard.

The time afforded to the clinical learning experience is such that it will provide you with ongoing and diverse experience in the clinical environment. The goal of clinical is not simply to complete the objectives, but to gain knowledge and skills from a wide variety of situations and experiences. This clinical practicum is designed to offer the student the opportunity to apply the acquired didactic knowledge learned during the theoretical portion of the Ultrasound program. The student will demonstrate and perform a variety of Ultrasound examination and procedures. The clinical semester is an opportunity to scan and to learn new techniques.  Take advantage of opportunities to observe and/or participate in interventional procedures, MSK scanning and teaching rounds. It is important to keep reading your textbook and review your lecture notes during the clinical semester.

Attendance during all clinical courses is mandatory. If you are sick, contact your Clinical Coordinator or designate. If you are unable to attend clinical because of an unexpected absence, such as an illness or a death, contact your Clinical Coordinator.

ring your clinical rotation, if you are not able to obtain all the competencies at your clinical site, arrangements will be made to obtain the competencies at another site. In some cases, the vascular competencies (Extracranial arteries and venous Doppler legs) may be completed and assessed at another site.

During the clinical semester, you will document ONLY the ultrasound examinations that you have completed independently in the LOGBOOK section in COMPTRACKER. The number of cases listed is a guideline. You will not fail the clinical semester if you have not completed the suggested number of cases. It is important to produce quality ultrasound examinations