Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a magnetic resonance imaging technique that is increasingly being used for the non-invasive evaluation of brain white matter abnormalities. In this review, we discuss the basic principles of DTI, its roots and the contribution of European centres in its development, and we review the findings from DTI studies in schizophrenia. We searched EMBASE, PubMed, PsychInfo, and Medline from February 1998 to December 2006 using as keywords ‘schizophrenia’, ‘diffusion’, ‘tensor’, and ‘DTI’. Forty studies fulfilling the inclusion criteria of this review were included and systematically reviewed. White matter abnormalities in many diverse brain regions were identified in schizophrenia. Although the findings are not completely consistent, frontal and temporal white matter seems to be more commonly affected. Limitations and future directions of this method are discussed.