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Program outcomes and effectiveness data

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 2023Three-year average
ARDMS Registry Pass RateAbdomen (AB)100%100%
 Adult Echocardiography (AE)100%100%
 Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN)100%100%
 Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI)91%97%
 Vascular Technology (VT)91%93%
Job PlacementGeneral/Vascular100%100%

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.


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 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.


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


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


Students are responsible for their own meals.


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 Services 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 five 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.

Holidays and vacations

  • No vacation time is given during the program. Students 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 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.

    Application process

    You will work closely with your academic advisor to submit your application to our program through your affiliated school.

    1. Prerequisite course requirements do not need to be completed all courses prior to application, but a plan to finish prior to starting the clinical program is required.
    2. All transcripts submitted with application; all attempts of coursework may be considered as an average on the application assessment form.
    3. GPA
      • Overall average of all required courses must be 3.0 or better
        • A minimum of a “C” or better is required for each individual course
      • 3.0 GPA or better in the following areas:
        • Science, specifically Anatomy & Physiology I and II, Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, Embryology and Pathophysiology
    4. Patient Care Experience (Nursing Assistant or equivalent, per university list) with 100 hours of patient care must be completed by Dec. 31 of application year
    5. Patient Care Hours Form completed with signatures
    6. Job shadowing
      a. Four hours of cardiac sonography (include vascular, if possible)
      b. Four hours of general sonography (include vascular and Obstetrics and Gynecology, if possible)
      c. See form for job shadow documentation
    7. 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.
    8. American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography prescreening acknowledgement
    9. Complete application with signature
    10. Submit application with $50 fee


    • January: Applications reviewed by UWHC School of DMS
    • Late January/Early February: Interview invitations extended via university emails
    • Late February/Early March: Interviews conducted
    • April 1 of application year: Students invited to start clinical education at UW Health
    • April 15: Students accept invitation to start clinical education and submit $100 fee
    • June: Students
      • Submit updated transcripts
      • Schedule physicals and drug tests with UW Health Employee Health
      • Register and pay for MyClinical Exchange
        • Follow-up instructions given after registration
      • Renew CPR prior to starting at the end of August
      • Respond to all emails for proper communication
    • Late August: UW Health New Employee Orientation and UW Hospitals and Clinics School of DMS Orientation
    • Around Labor Day: Fall semester starts

    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/academics/health-sciences/diagnostic-medical-sonography

    Select Academic, then Undergraduate Programs, then Diagnostic Medical Sonography

    * Admissions: (262) 524-7220
    Edgewood College (Madison)
    Go to www.edgewood.edu/academics/programs/details/health-sciences/undergraduate

    Select Pre-Medical Sonography.

    * Admissions: 1-800-444-4861
    Marian University (Fond du Lac)
    Go to https://www.marianuniversity.edu/campus-programs/bs-diagnostic-medical-sonography/

    * Admissions: 1-800-262-7426
    University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    Go to catalog.uwlax.edu/undergraduate/radiologicscience/diagnosticmedicalsonography-echocardiographyvascularbs/

    Sonography program information forthcoming

    * Admissions: (608) 785-8939
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Go to uwm.edu/healthsciences

    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.

    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 performed 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.

    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.

    Abdominal Sonography-Extended/Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonography/Vascular 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.

    Adult Cardiac Sonography/Vascular Sonography

    The echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, option provides didactic and clinical instruction in:

    • Ultrasound of the adult cardiovascular systems
    • Ultrasound of pediatric cardiovascular systems
    • 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.

    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 

    The U.S. Department of Labor stated that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers was expected to grow to more than 12,000 openings between 2020 and 2030, which is much more growth than the average for all occupations. Learn more