Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

MEDIMAGE 716 – Fundamentals of Clinical Ultrasound

15 Points

Semesters 1 and 2, 2019



This course provides a fundamental understanding of ultrasound technology and applications. Students will examine components of the clinical environment including transducer technology, quality assurance, bio-effects and safety. In addition, students will analyse standard imaging techniques and normal and abnormal imaging appearances of the renal tract, pelvis and first trimester of pregnancy.

Objectives and learning outcomes

This course aims to provide students with specialised theoretical knowledge and an understanding of the fundamental physical principles of ultrasound. The student will develop the ability to apply this knowledge in the safe use of ultrasound equipment for clinical and/or research purposes. In particular, this course will investigate common pathologies and the use of standard sonography imaging techniques in relation to a selection of common ultrasound applications.

By the end of this coruse, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical concepts relating to ultrasound technology. 
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical and clinical concepts relating to human embryology.
  3. Critically discuss specific issues relating to bio-effects and safety within the ultrasound environment. 
  4. Differentiate and explain normal and altered ultrasound imaging appearances of the renal tract, pelvis and first trimester of pregnancy.
  5. Make informed clinical judgements with regard to the selection of appropriate scanning techniques and technical parameters for ultrasound imaging of the renal tract, pelvis and first trimester of pregnancy.
  6. Apply an evidence-based approach to clinical decision-making and problem solving.

Programme and course advice

This course is the first compulsory course within the PGDipHSc(Ultrasound) and is a pre-requisite for all of the other ultrasound-specific courses. Students from the PGDipHSc(MRI), PGDipHSc or PGCertHSc (Medical Imaging) and PGCertHSc (Mammography) programmes may choose this course as an elective.

All Medical Imaging Technologists and students admitted to any one of the above programmes are eligible for direct entry to this course. For all other students, departmental approval is required and a concession request must be submitted when applying to enrol in this course.

Access to a clinical ultrasound department is highly recommended.

Course delivery and workload

This course is offered in both semesters (subject to sufficient enrolments), enabling students the flexibility of enrolling in either semester 1 or semester 2.

The course is delivered fully online by distance via the University of Auckland’s learning management system Canvas. It will incorporate a range of learning approaches including videos, webpages, links to the library databases and resources, and utilising online technologies to promote shared learning opportunities.

The total expected workload for this course is approximately 150 hours. This may be broken down as follows:

  • Set readings relevant to ultrasound theory and clinical practice (40 hours) 
  • Other resources provided on Canvas e.g. videos, websites (10 hours) 
  • Assignments and self-directed learning (100 hours)


The required textbooks for this course are:

The physics and technology of diagnostic ultrasound: a practitioner's guide, Robert Gill Abbotsford, N.S.W .: High Frequency Publishing c2012

Sonography: introduction to normal structure and function (4th ed.), Reva Curry and Betty Bates Tempkin St Louis: Elsevier Saunders c2016

The above books are available in hardcopy from the Philson Library. In addition, a large selection of other resources will be able to be accessed online via the course website and the Philson Library databases.

It is highly recommended that students access the following online textbook via the Philson Library and read ‘Chapter 2: Abdomen’ and ‘Chapter 3: Pelvis and Perineum’ as preparatory pre-reading for this course. This should be revision and will be assumed prior knowledge when you begin the course:

Clinically oriented anatomy (7th ed.) Keith L Moore Arthur F Dalley; A. M. R Agur Philadelphia : Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins c2014 


An aggregated mark of 50% or more is required to successfully pass this course. Resubmission of failed assessments is not permitted.

Penalties for excessive word count and/or late submission (without prior written approval for an extension) will be applied in accordance with the 'Medical Imaging Assessment Requirements and Presentation Criteria' document.

The following is indicative of the type of assessments to be completed for this course:

  • Short Answer Questions 20% 
  • Clinical Decision-Making Portfolio 50% 
  • MCQ, Short Answer and Image Evaluation Test 30%

Course Coordinator