Program Outcomes and Effectiveness Data

Program outcomes assessment is ongoing in an effort to assure that the program is meeting its prescribed level of quality and student success.

Results are reported to the JRCDMS and published annually. Outcomes from the past five years of program assessment are published in the tables below, by specialty track.

UW Hospitals and Clinics School of DMS Program Outcomes

 Class of 2019Three-year average
ARDMS Registry Pass RateAbdomen (AB)100%96.33%
 Adult Echocardiography (AE)100%100%
 Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN)100%96.33%
 Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI)100%100%
 Vascular Technology (VT)100%97.67%
Job Placement*Cardiac/Vascular100%100%
 General/Vascular100%100%
Retention^Cardiac/Vascular100%91.67%
 General/Vascular100%88.33%

* Employed full- or part-time in a related field
^ Within the program at UW Hospitals and Clinics

Financial Information

Application Fee

Applicants must submit a $50 processing fee with their application into the program.

Enrollment Fee

Applicants accepted to the UW Hospital and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography must submit a $100 enrollment fee to hold their place in the class for which they are accepted. The due date of this fee will be stipulated by the School in the letter of acceptance.

Applicants who do not submit the enrollment fee by the stated deadline will forfeit their enrollment and an alternate applicant will be offered their place in the coming class. The enrollment fee is non-refundable.

Tuition

The amount of tuition each student pays is determined by the respective university affiliate. Students make tuition payments directly to their college or university. Contact the bursar’s office at your university affiliate for the most current information regarding tuition charges.

All tuition and fees must be paid in full before a student will be granted a certificate of completion and ARDMS Certification Examination eligibility.

Textbooks

Textbooks are required and recommended by the UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. A textbook list will be sent to students with the information packets included with welcome letters when they enroll in the program. Students should plan to spend a total of up to $2,500 for required textbooks. All textbooks may be purchased online.

Refunds

Tuition paid in advance for more than the current semester will be refunded according to the guidelines of their respective college or university.

Housing

Students are responsible for providing their own room and board during the duration of the general/vascular sonography option and/or echocardiography/vascular sonography option. It is recommended that students locate in the Madison area.

The University of Wisconsin Campus Assistance Center can aid students in locating rental housing (houses, apartments, boarding houses and rooms in private residences).

UW Campus Assistance Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1308 W. Dayton St.
Union South
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 263-6400

Meals

Students are responsible for their own meals.

Attire

Students enrolled in the UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography are expected to be in compliance with the clinical dress code at all times. Students that do not adhere to the dress code are subject to disciplinary action that could result in expulsion.

Costs for professional attire can vary widely, but students can expect to pay $200-500 for professional attire during the two years of clinical study.

Dress Code Requirements

  1. Appropriate casual attire to attend didactic classes (no low cut tops or high cut shorts).
  2. Solid color navy blue uniforms (scrubs).
  3. Closed-toed shoes should be worn to all clinical sites.
  4. Students must wear their ID badges at all times (clinical and class days).
  5. Dress worn to clinical rotations shall be clean and without extensive wrinkling.
  6. Students will maintain an acceptable level of personal hygiene and grooming standards that are conducive to healthcare professionals.
  7. Students will limit jewelry to rings, necklaces and earrings. Other types of facial jewelry are prohibited as they may be offensive to patients.
  8. Students will appropriately cover all visible body art (i.e. tattoos) as they may be offensive to patients.

Dress Code Violations

  1. Students who persist in wearing facial jewelry after being counseled to remove it during clinical rotations.
  2. Students who exhibit offensive body odor or other unacceptable levels of personal hygiene.
  3. Students who wear dirty or damaged clothing.
  4. Students who persist in failing to cover visible body art (i.e. tattoos) during clinical rotations after being counseled.

Health Requirements and Health Insurance

  1. Applicants must have a physical completed by UW Hospitals and Clinics, at no cost to the student, prior to start date. They must be screened by Employee Health Services and be able to meet the physical requirements of the training.
  2. The UW Hospitals and Clinics School of DMS provides students with access to basic health care services via the University of Wisconsin University Student Health Services (UHS). Rates and services available through UHS may be viewed on its website. UW Hospitals and Clinics School of DMS contracts with UHS so that program students pay UW-Madison student rates for UHS health services.
  3. Students may purchase supplemental health insurance coverage on their own if they wish.
  4. Students must make an appointment prior to seeing medical professionals at UHS. University of Wisconsin University Health Service is located on the 5th – 8th floor of 333 East Campus Mall, Madison, Wis.
  5. UW Hospitals and Clinics Employee Health Services will treat students free of charge who become ill or injured while on clinical duty at a UW Hospitals and Clinics hospital or clinical site.
  6. Students using UW Health Emergency Services for medical treatment will be billed for those services.

Financial Aid

UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography does not sponsor or award financial aid. Students may apply for financial aid programs available at their respective college or university.

Graduation Requirements

Upon successful completion of the program, graduating students receive a certificate from UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Students receive a diploma from their affiliate college/university and are also eligible to walk in the graduation ceremony on their respective campus.

In addition, graduates are granted eligibility to write the certification examinations given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

Requirements for graduation are as follows: 

  1. Complete all didactic courses with a letter grade of “C” or better.
  2. Complete all clinical competencies with a letter grade of “C” or better.
  3. Complete all clinical rotations with a grade of “C” or better.
  4. Complete all clinical courses with a letter grade of “C” or better.
  5. All tuition and fees are paid in full.
  6. All library materials are returned.
  7. All missed time must be made up.

Curriculum and Prerequisites

Prerequisite curriculum is managed by each university affiliate. Specific coursework may vary from one affiliate to another. If you would like to learn more about the coursework required before beginning clinical training, please contact the admissions department at whichever institution(s) you may be interested in attending.

The curriculum during clinical training at UW Hospitals and Clinics is six semesters long, consisting of four traditional semesters and two summer sessions. Students participate in the didactic and clinical portions of the program simultaneously. Combined didactic and clinical hours total 40 hour per week.

We do not offer part-time or evening education. Students should expect to be in class or clinical rotations from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Detailed descriptions of junior and senior year courses for each specialty are available in our Program Handbook (pdf) on pages 15-17 (Echocardiography) and 21-24 (General).

Academic Calendar

Our academic calendar mirrors that of UW-Madison very closely, with a few variations.

We will go over the calendar in detail with incoming students during orientation into the program. You can view the UW-Madison academic calendar to see information for a specific semester.

Holidays and Vacations

  • No vacation time is given during the program. Students follow the academic calendar of UW-Madison and are encouraged to schedule vacations during the semester breaks as outlined in the academic calendar.
  • The following days are official school holidays:
    • January 1 (LH)
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (LH)
    • Memorial Day (LH)
    • July 4 (LH)
    • Labor Day (LH)
    • Thanksgiving (LH) and Friday after
    • December 24 (LH)
    • December 25 (LH)
    • December 31 (LH)

(LH) – legal holiday

Applying for Professional Curriculum

Please note that you must be currently enrolled at one of our Academic Affiliates and seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in order to be eligible for application into our program.

Eligibility Requirements

Admission to UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography is highly competitive and granted to a limited number of applicants each year. A diagnostic medical sonography student must be a mature, dependable person who is “people oriented” and genuinely interested in caring for individuals who are ill, injured or disabled. All applicants are evaluated on the same basis regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, religion, age, national origin or veteran’s status.

The following information offers a general description outlining the attributes of a successful candidate.

  • Students must be in good health and physical condition in order to be capable of performing the duties required of a sonographer.
    • Immunizations must be current.
  • Applicants to the program must have attained the level, scope, and breadth of educational preparedness necessary to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving, highly technical, and diverse professional curriculum taught at UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
  • Priority consideration will be afforded to those applicants who have completed all prerequisite courses with an earned grade of “C” or higher in each course.
    • Applicants who are actively enrolled in and making satisfactory progress in a prerequisite course will be given consideration.
    • Applications will be scored accordingly.
    • Applicants who have outstanding prerequisite course work who are not actively enrolled in and/or are not making satisfactory progress in will be deemed ineligible for the current enrollment period.
  • The applicant’s cumulative GPA for pre-professional course work must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Practical experience caring for the ill and injured is required as it prepares the student for clinical practice.
    • Such experience is obtained through CNA certification and a minimum of 100 hours of patient care experience performed in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, urgent care or trauma centers.
    • CNA waiver: Applicants who feel they exceed the patient care requirement because of extensive direct patient care work experience may request a waiver of the CNA prerequisites. To do this, the applicant must send a letter to the School of DMS formally requesting a waiver. The request must include a description of the work done that the applicant believes satisfies the prerequisites and documentation of the applicant’s job duties and dates of employment. The Admissions Committee will vote and will notify the applicant of their decision. The Admissions Committee’s decision is final.
  • The admission process is highly competitive due to the limited number of student positions available.
    • Only the most qualified candidates will be invited to proceed through each step of the selection process.
    • Interviews are not guaranteed.
  • Applicants must provide proof of current CPR certification from either the AMA or the American Red Cross, by the application deadline. CPR certification needs to include BLS (Basic Life Support) for Adults, Children and Infants. Students will be required to maintain current CPR certification throughout their clinical education at the UW Hospitals and Clinics School of DMS.
    • Note: CPR certification courses administered online will not be accepted.
  • Applications that are complete and received by the deadline are reviewed, evaluated and given a number score. Applications are scored based on past academic performance, accomplishments, references, work-related experience and aptitude.
    • The highest scoring applicants are invited to interview.
    • Those applicants whose qualifications and combined application/interview scores indicate the greatest potential for professional and personal development are selected for enrollment.
    • Applicants who are not accepted into the program may re-apply the following year.

Application Deadlines

Applications are submitted through an Education Coordinator at each affiliate college/university. Each affiliate collects the application materials which it then forwards to UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Submit application materials to the appropriate contact at your university affiliate by the following deadlines:

  • Carroll University applicants: Dec. 1
  • Edgewood College applicants: Dec. 1
  • Marian University applicants: Dec. 15
  • UW-La Crosse applicants: Dec. 15
  • UW-Milwaukee applicants: Dec. 1
  • UW-Oshkosh applicants: Dec. 15

Application Checklist

The following steps must be followed before an application is considered complete:

  • Complete and submit the School’s application form to the appropriate Education Coordinator at your affiliate university. 
  • Submit the $50, non-refundable application fee via check or money order payable to the UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
  • Submit an Autobiographical Statement of 200 words or fewer describing why this field interests you. Include your qualifications for becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.
    • The essay must be typed, double-spaced, signed and dated by the applicant to verify authenticity.
  • Submit two (2) School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography reference forms.
    • It is preferred that references come from both educational and employment sources. Personal references from relatives, friends and social acquaintances are not acceptable.
    • Completed reference forms should be returned to the affiliate university by the application deadline so that it can be added to your entire application packet.
  • Submit official transcripts of all post-secondary course work.
    • Official transcripts must be mailed from the college or university that issued them.
    • Prerequisite coursework must be complete or in-progress prior to the application deadline and have an earned grade of C (2.0) or better.
    • The applicant’s overall GPA must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submit documentation of CPR and CNA certification, 100 hours of direct patient care and a minimum of 8 hours of job shadowing in ultrasound, or a detailed plan regarding when this will be completed before interviews take place.

Timetable

  • Applicants must submit all materials to their affiliate university by the application deadline.
  • Qualified applicants will be notified for an interview no later than March 1 of each year.
  • Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance no later than April 1 of each year.

Academic Affiliations

Applicants complete the first two or three years of their degree requirements at their affiliate college/university (either directly or via transfer credits), then apply to our program for the final two years of professional coursework. If accepted, students complete the junior and senior years of training with our clinical instructors, both in the classroom and at clinical sites in the Southern Wisconsin area. Graduates of the program receive a B.S. degree from their affiliate university.

Please note that you must be enrolled at one of our university affiliates and seeking a bachelor’s of science degree in order to be eligible to apply to complete the professional curriculum at our school. For more information about the Diagnostic Medical Sonography majors at these institutions, please visit their websites, listed below.

Most university affiliates accept some transfer credits. Please contact the admissions department at your chosen affiliate to learn more about transfer options and to have your previous coursework evaluated.

Carroll University (Waukesha)
Go to www.carrollu.edu

Select Academic, then Undergraduate Programs, then Diagnostic Medical Sonography

* Admissions: (262) 524-7220
Edgewood College (Madison)
Go to biology.edgewood.edu/Academics/Pre-Health-Pathways

Select Pre-Medical Sonography.

* Admissions: 1-800-444-4861
Marian University (Fond du Lac)
Go to www.marianuniversity.edu

Select Academic Programs, then Academic Structure, then School of Nursing and Health Professions, then Sonography

* Admissions: 1-800-262-7426
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Information to follow
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Go to www.uwm.edu/chs

Select a career description, then Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

* Admissions: (414) 229-2222
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Go to https://uwosh.edu/biology/undergraduate/majors/medical-imaging/

* Admissions: (920) 424-1234

Sonography Specialties

The diagnostic medical sonographer is a health care professional who performs diagnostic ultrasound examinations under a physician’s supervision.

Sonographers are required to integrate medical knowledge of cross-sectional and three-dimensional anatomy, physiology, pathology and ultrasound physics to imaging patients in the clinical setting. Sonographers work within the framework of an examination protocol where they must exercise judgment to tailor each examination to the individual patient’s needs and answer the clinical questions.

The interaction between ultrasound and a patient’s body tissues requires the constant adjustment of techniques and procedures during the course of the examination. Therefore, the sonographer must be able to understand the interaction between ultrasound physics, anatomy, pathology and equipment manipulation to produce diagnostic medical images that provide comprehensive information about the patient’s specific pathology.

It is the goal of the UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program to produce highly qualified sonographers who function in a competent fashion in meeting the health care needs of the patient. Graduates of the program will be able to use the mechanical equipment used by ultrasound departments for the production of high quality diagnostic sonograms.

The School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers professional training in two specializations. Both programs include training in vascular ultrasound.

General Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The general diagnostic medical sonography option provides didactic and clinical instruction in: 

  • Abdomen
  • Obstetric
  • Gynecological
  • Vascular

The general sonography curriculum covers ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology, evaluation of the abdomen, thyroid, scrotum, prostate and neurosonography. The vascular section includes evaluation of the major blood vessels of the neck, brain, abdomen and extremities. In addition to attending formal classes, students often have an opportunity to attend physician lectures and conferences on ultrasound-related topics.

Most sonographers work in hospital based radiology departments performing abdominal, pelvic, and vascular examinations or in cardiology (i.e. echocardiography) departments performing cardiac and vascular examinations in emergency, operating room, inpatient and outpatient situations. However, vascular surgery departments and obstetric departments can also employ sonographers who perform specialized ultrasound examinations tailored to follow specific protocols needed in those specialties. Many sonographers prefer to work in outpatient clinics and mobile medical imaging services where ultrasound examinations are preformed on a non-emergency basis. Non-clinical positions are available with medical imaging equipment manufacturers who employ sonographers to test ultrasound equipment and function as application specialists to teach new technologies to clinical sonographers.

Echocardiography (Cardiac) Ultrasound

The echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, option provides didactic and clinical instruction in ultrasound of the adult and pediatric cardiovascular systems and vascular technology.

The echocardiography curriculum covers ultrasound imaging of the heart in a variety of different ways including transesophageal, transthoracic and introduction to stress echocardiograms on both adult and pediatric patient populations. Students are also exposed to the basic principles of fetal echocardiography as these patients tend to be followed by echocardiographers as neonates. In addition to attending formal classes, students often have an opportunity to attend physician lectures, cardiology conferences and interesting case readout sessions conducted by cardiologists.

Most echocardiographers work in echocardiography departments located within a hospital; however, others prefer to work in outpatient clinics, doctor’s offices and in mobile medical imaging services where ultrasound examinations are preformed on a strictly outpatient basis.

Program Overview

The UW Hospitals and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography has been dedicated to educating students in the art and science of diagnostic medical sonography since 1980.

For the most up-to-date information about our program and academic policies, please download our Program Handbook (pdf).

Diagnostic Medical Sonography School Mission

The mission of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography is to educate students in the art and science of diagnostic medical sonography.

Our graduates serve all of Wisconsin. Our mission complements the missions of UW Health, UW Center for Health Sciences and the UW Hospital and Clinics. These overall missions include caring for the ill and injured, serving community health needs, educating new health professionals and furthering the use for medical research through medical imaging. As an integral part of the UW Health community, students participate in the achievement of the schools and institution’s mission and goals.

Our school’s mission is achieved when the graduate has successfully completed the program as determined by the program standards. The program’s mission, goals, outcomes and standards are evaluated annually by the faculty, department and hospital administration and the school advisory committee.

About Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Diagnostic medical sonography uses ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, to identify and diagnose diseases in body organs and tissues.

The diagnostic medical sonographer is a health care professional who performs diagnostic ultrasound examinations under a physician’s supervision. To perform imaging on patients in the clinical setting, sonographers are required to integrate medical knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pathology and ultrasound physics. Among the parts of the body most commonly viewed through ultrasound are the heart and blood vessels, abdominal organs, pelvic organs and pregnant uterus.

Qualified diagnostic medical sonographers are needed in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, medical laboratories, industry and public health. Teachers, managers and researchers in diagnostic ultrasound are also in demand.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Profile

  1. Sonographers must have the ability to organize and accurately perform the individual steps of the ultrasound examination in proper sequence.
  2. The sonographer is expected to examine patients who may have communicable diseases and/or other health problems
  3. Sonographers must have the capability to be independently mobile.
  4. Sonographers must have the hearing and visual acuity sufficient to perform ultrasound examinations, observe patients, read monitors, and document and hear equipment alarms.
  5. Sonographers must have the ability to:
  • Transport patients from wheelchairs and patient carts to an examination table (to lift more than 50 pounds routinely)
  • Sit/stand for prolonged periods of time
  • Work with arms routinely
  • Push and pull routinely
  • Kneel and squat routinely
  • Work within a limited space
  • Transport mobile ultrasound equipment to patient rooms, operating rooms and research laboratories 

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Profile

The U.S. Department of Labor stated that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers was expected to grow by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Learn more