Sep 28, 2023  
Undergraduate Calendar 2017-2018 
Undergraduate Calendar 2017-2018 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Undergraduate Medical (M.D.) Program

The three-year program in Medicine uses a problem-based approach to learning that should apply throughout the physician’s career. The components have been organized in sequential blocks with early exposure to patients and case management.

Undergraduate MD Program Goals

The Undergraduate MD Program at McMaster University fosters a cooperative, supportive and respectful environment. The curriculum evolves continuously, responsive to the changing needs of Ontario society, nurturing the development of the following competencies at the time of graduation:

  1. Medical Expert: Students will be able to apply scientific principles from human biology, behaviour and population health to the solution of health problems; they will have the ability to seek out new information and evaluate this information critically.
  2. Communicator/Collaborator: Students will demonstrate effective communication skills, sensitive to the needs of patients and cognizant of the roles of other members of the health care team in delivering patient care.
  3. Advocate/Resource Manager: Graduating students will be knowledgeable about the determinants of health and be proactive advocates for their individual patients and for healthy public policy within the context of the health care system.
  4. Scholar/Learner: Students will be self-directed lifelong learners, whose exposure at McMaster to role models in research and clinical care will encourage them to apply innovative approaches to solving health care problems.
  5. Self-Reflective Practitioner: Graduating students will be expected to have developed an awareness of the influence of their attitudes, values and assumptions, how these affect their practice of medicine and the impact of the practice of medicine on themselves as individuals.

The COMPASS Curriculum

The COMPASS curriculum focuses on the mastery of fundamental concepts in medicine. It continues the McMaster tradition of problem-based learning but incorporates research findings from cognitive psychology. The curriculum is structured on the integration of critical concepts and each step of the curriculum is based on the growth of important concepts learned previously. Tutorial problems are selected to illustrate these concepts in a clinical setting and when students are exploring tutorial problems, which remain the focus of learning, they will be directed towards asking questions of what and why and how as much as what is the diagnosis.

The pre-clerkship curriculum is divided into five Medical Foundations as shown in the curriculum outline. A novel feature of the curriculum is a horizontal Professional Competencies curriculum which runs throughout the three years of the program. The Clerkship program consists of rotations in medicine, medical subspecialties, and its subspecialties, orthopedic surgery, surgery, family medicine, anesthesia, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and emergency medicine.  There is also elective time. The program concludes with a short unit dedicated to review and consolidation of concepts.

Learning Methods

To achieve the objectives of the Undergraduate Medical Program, students are introduced to patients within the first Foundation of the curriculum. In this way, students understand the relevance of what they are learning, maintain a high degree of motivation and begin to understand the importance of responsible professional attitudes.

In the Pre-Clerkship Foundations, the students are presented with a series of tutorial problems, requiring for their solution the understanding of underlying biological, population and behavioural principles, the appropriate collection of data and the critical appraisal of evidence. The faculty function as learning resources or guides. Learning by a process of inquiry is stressed.

The central focus of the pre-clerkship program is the tutorial. The class is divided into small groups of approximately 6-8 students, each with a tutor. In the tutorial session students develop a series of learning objectives from each tutorial case and negotiate how they will approach their learning tasks. They then acquire the knowledge and skills to meet the objectives of the Foundation in which they are working. They also learn to work as a team, helping and learning from peers. The study habits and sense of responsibility to self and others provide a basis for lifelong working and learning habits. Attendance is mandatory.

In the Professional Competencies curriculum, students work in groups of 8 to 10, with two facilitators, one an MD, the other a non-MD, clinician from an allied health care field. Learning formats include Large Group Sessions, small group tutorials, work with Standardized patients, role-plays, written projects and reflections which are collected as the student’s Reflective Physician Portfolio.

Students admitted to the Undergraduate Medical Program have the responsibility and privilege of taking an active role in the planning and evaluation of the education program. Through representation on most policy-making and implementing committees, students can influence decisions in such areas as education, philosophy, faculty recruitment and curriculum design. It is expected that all students will participate in the continuing reappraisal and improvement of the program. Such participation is a hallmark of the Program.

Student Assessment Methods

The assessment format has been designed to complement learning in the Undergraduate Medical Program. Assessment methods have been developed to measure how well the student achieves the stated educational objectives in the various components of the program. Continual assessment of the student occurs within the tutorial setting with input from their peers, faculty preceptors and the tutor.

Several short assessment exercises are required during each Foundation and at regular intervals during the Professional Competencies component of the program. At the completion of the Foundation or the Professional Competencies assessment period, the tutor or facilitator is responsible for the final summary statement of student learning progress. The tutor prepares a summary of the student’s performance in the tutorials and all associated activities during that Foundation. The summary is provided to the student and to the student advisor electronically while the original is kept in the student’s electronic file.

In addition to the tutorial-based assessment, the accumulation of medical knowledge is assessed at regular intervals by means of the Personal Progress Index. This is in a multiple-choice format. Results are given to the students for self-assessment and, in summary form, to the student advisor. The Personal Progress Index is in addition to, and does not replace, tutorial- and performance-based evaluation. The Program monitors student progress, and responds to students showing persistently low progress.

The acquisition of clinical and professional skills is assessed by clinical skills preceptors in each Foundation and in the Clerkship, and additionally by Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE’s) which are run on an annual basis.

Growth in the role of professional is documented in Professional Competencies.  Each student maintains a Reflective Physician Portfolio (RPP) consisting of reflections guided by questions and articles provided throughout the Professional Competencies program.  Feedback may be provided although there is no summative assessment of a student’s RPP.

The Student Assessment Committee has the responsibility of working with the Medical Program to assist with the development and implementation of valid and reliable assessment methods to provide timely and helpful information to assist students and faculty in assessing progress and performance. Continuation in the Program is subject to satisfactory performance.

Curriculum Plan - COMPASS Curriculum


Laptop Requirement

The MD Program delivers lectures and course materials online, and communications with students and faculty between the three campuses through the use of email as well as various software programs, including web conferencing capabilities.

Transportation Costs

Students are expected to travel outside their home campus area for mandatory teaching sessions, clinical placements and clerkship rotations. Students are responsible for their own transportation and associated costs in order to complete program requirements. It is anticipated that further rotations will be developed in rural, under-serviced and remote areas. In certain cases, there will be some external funding available.

For students who are accepted into the Waterloo Regional Campus and the Niagara Regional Campus, the first Medical Foundation will be spent in Hamilton and students will be expected to cover the cost of commuting and/or accommodations. Each Regional Campus is approximately a one-hour drive from Hamilton.

The elective experience can be spent in various activities utilizing local, regional or distant resources. Students are expected to cover all transportation and associated costs for electives. Funding may be available for elective travel expenses through a number of funding programs.

Medical Foundation 1:

The first conceptual theme addressed in the curriculum is that of oxygen supply and exchange. In addressing problems that arise from inspired air right through to oxygen at the cellular level, students will learn much related to the respiratory, hematologic and cardiovascular systems.

Medical Foundation 2:

This is the first of the two Foundations that addresses aspects of homeostasis, particularly that of energy balance, including issues related to the GI tract, endocrine system and nutrition.

Medical Foundation 3:

This Foundation covers the second part of homeostasis, including the balance of acid and base, blood pressure and renal function and then goes on to address reproduction and pregnancy and a number of issues in genetics related to reproduction.

Medical Foundation 4:

This Foundation addresses host defence, which includes immunology and infectious disease, and then moves on to look at neoplasia and the genetics of neoplasia.

Medical Foundation 5:

This covers the concepts of movement control and interacting and communicating, which includes the locomotor system, the nervous system and behaviour. Aspects of human development will run through all of the five Medical Foundations.

Professional Competencies

The Professional Competencies curriculum is longitudinal across the entire program.  The learning domains of this component of the curriculum include effective communication, population health, medical decision-making, professionalism and self awareness, moral reasoning and ethical judgment, inter-professional, and social, and cultural and humanistic dimensions of health.

During the Pre-Clerkship, students are assigned to a small group of 8-10 students at the beginning of MF1 and they remain with this group until the end of MF5.  Each group is facilitated by a pair of co-facilitators, one a physician and the other a professional from an allied health profession.  The facilitators bring complementary skills sets to the group and they model inter-professionalism.

During the Clerkship, the curricular content relating to the Professional Competencies domains becomes integrated into the core teaching in each clerkship rotation and is developed by the clerkships in their own formats.


The Clerkship

While the Clerkship will be firmly linked to the pre-clerkship concept-based curriculum and will include continuing delivery of the Professional Competencies curriculum, this is now the time for students to participate in the direct care of patients as they learn about the management of health and illness. The tutorial cases are now real patients or populations. Students become self-sufficient in contemporary medicine, able to sense when today’s medicine becomes out-of-date by adopting good habits of learning and assessment. The Clerkship program consists of rotations in medicine, medical subspecialties, orthopedic surgery, surgery, family medicine, anesthesia, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and emergency medicine. There is also elective time, one half of which must be spent in clinical activity. The compulsory components of the Clerkship are carried out in teaching practices and in all the teaching hospitals in the Hamilton region; in community hospitals, including those in the Niagara, Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Waterloo, and Halton Regions.


Elective studies form an integral part of the Curriculum Plan. They may be considered the epitome of self-directed learning, since students must define goals for electives which are appropriate for their own learning objectives. These objectives represent specific areas of educational need or interest. The responsibility for planning electives rests with each student in collaboration with the student advisor.

The two types of electives in the Undergraduate Medical Program are:

  1. Block Electives: These are blocks of curriculum time dedicated to full-time elective activities. Their satisfactory completion is a mandatory component of the Undergraduate Medical Program. Block Electives occur after Medical Foundation 4 and during the Clerkship, for a total of 24 weeks. Clinical electives in the MD Program must be organized so that each student has an elective experience in a minimum of three different disciplines, each of which will take place for a minimum of two weeks.
  2. Horizontal Electives: These are undertaken concurrently with other parts of the curriculum. Horizontal electives are entirely voluntary, not being required for completion of the program, but are used to explore or review a specific area of knowledge or practice in more detail.

It is particularly important that the student’s advisor be involved in all decisions concerning the selection and carrying out of horizontal electives.

Concept Integration and Review (CIR)

This unit is the final 6 week block of the program, after Clerkship and before graduation.  The aims of the blocks are:  to help students review and synthesize important concepts; to provide an opportunity for them to practice answering multiple choice and key-features questions before the MCCQE Part 1 exam; to review some presentations that might challenge new residents.  A series of sessions focussing on important key topics is presented, each prepared and led by an expert.  Students are provided with scenarios and problems to work through to assist them in consolidating their knowledge in core areas of medicine.

Enrichment Program

The purpose of the Enrichment Program is to stimulate an interest in research and scholarly activity among medical students and to attract some to careers in academic medicine and medical research. There are arrangements in place for a small number of students from each class to devote longer periods of time to the pursuit of special academic experiences. These experiences will not normally begin until the pre-clerkship is completed. Applications will not be considered for the post-clerkship period.

MD/Ph.D. Program

The McMaster MD/PhD Program has been training future clinicians since 2007. The rapid pace of healthcare related research and discovery requires exceptional people who are trained to bridge the gap between basic sciences and clinical application. The McMaster MD/PhD program combines the strength of a unique, patient oriented medical education with a strong, internationally renowned healthcare research environment.

At the present time, students enrolled in the MD/PhD program may carry out the PhD component of their program in one of the following graduate programs affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. Medical Sciences, Biochemistry, Health Research Methodology, Neurosciences, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Biology and Health Policy.

Minimum criteria for admission to the PhD component is a 4 year Honours BSc or BHSc with aminimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.8 on a 4 point scale in the final two years of the Bachelor’s degree study and a score of 127 or higher on the Critical Analysis and Reasoning (CARS) section of the MCAT 2015 or a Verbal Reasoning (VR) score of 10 or greater on the pre-2015 MCAT. Please note that McMaster will use the most recent MCAT score for those who write the MCAT more than once.

As some PhD programs may have additional requirements specific to their program, applicants are recommended to review the relevant sections of Graduate Calendar.

Eligible students will have a proven record of research involvement at the undergraduate or graduate level. Existing in-program Master’s students or students in their first year of PhD training in an eligible Health Sciences Affiliated Graduate program at McMaster University are welcome to apply to the MD/PhD Program with the written consent of his or her research supervisor. MSc students from other McMaster University programs or other Universities are welcome to apply if they will finish their degree requirement before enrolling in the McMaster MD/PhD program. Existing MD students with a strong research background are also welcome to apply in their first year of medical school. 
To apply to the MD/PhD Program, applicants must submit a separate application in addition to the OMSAS application. To gain admission, applicants must be accepted to both the MD Program at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and one of the PhD programs listed above. Application to the PhD component of the program is due on November 1st of the application year. Further information, and the PhD application can be found at:

Regulations for Licence to Practise

A degree in medicine does not in itself confer the right to practise medicine in any part of Canada. To acquire this right, university graduates in medicine must hold a certificate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the province in which they elect to engage in practice. Students in Ontario medical schools will be required to register with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). Students intending to practise outside Ontario are urged to consult the licensing body of that province regarding registration.

Licensing requirements vary somewhat among the provinces. The current Ontario requirements for issuance of a Certificate of Registration Authorizing Independent Practice are:

  1. Certification by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada;
  2. Parts I and II of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination;
  3. Canadian Citizenship or Landed Immigrant Status.
  4. In general, students are expected to obtain a certificate from either the College of Family Physicians of Canada or from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in order to be licensed in the province of Ontario.

Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS)

The Matching Service is a clearing-house designed to help final year medical students obtain the post-MD program of their choice, and to help program directors obtain the students of their choice. It provides an orderly method for students to decide where to train and for program directors to decide which applicants they wish to enrol. For both students and directors, it removes the factors that generate unfair pressures and premature decisions.

Basic Life Support Training

All students are required to provide evidence of a current Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers (C) certificate (i.e. Red Cross CPR/AED Level HCP; St. John Ambulance Level C HCP; Heart and Stroke BLS for Healthcare Provider C) prior to registration in the medical program. Information is sent to successful applicants prior to registration. The cost of this course is the responsibility of the student. Courses are readily available in most communities.


The Ontario Public Hospitals Act requires that all persons working in a hospital setting meet certain criteria regarding surveillance for infectious diseases. In order for the requirement of the legislation to be met, students are required to complete the immunization screening process prior to registration in the medical program and annual recertification before starting each academic year. Failure to do so will result in suspension of clinical work. Information will be sent to successful applicants prior to registration.

Police Records Check

Through the course of their medical school program, all medical students will serve vulnerable populations. In an effort to protect these vulnerable people against potential risk of harm, the Ontario Faculties of Medicine and many clinical agencies require that all medical students provide confirmation of the absence of a criminal conviction or outstanding criminal charges. An offer of admission is contingent upon provision of a Police Records Check, at the applicant’s expense, by early August of the year of admission and at the beginning of each academic year they are registered in.

The Police Records Check includes a Vulnerable Sector Screening and check of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), National Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database for the following:

  • All records of Criminal Code (Canada) convictions
  • All pardoned sexual offences
  • All records of convictions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • All records of convictions under the Narcotic Control Act
  • All records of convictions under the Food and Drug Act
  • Any undertakings to enter into a Surety to Keep the Peace
  • Any Restraining Orders issued under the Criminal Code (Canada) or the Family Act
  • All outstanding warrants and charges

The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine will review the files of any applicants who have presented a Not Clear Police Records Check to determine what action, if any, will be taken.

Admission Policy for the Medical Program

The official admission policy and deadlines for the Undergraduate Medical Program shall be as published in the Ontario Medical School Information Booklet. This booklet is available through:

Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS)
170 Research Lane
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5E2
(519) 823-1063

Please note that the admission policy is reviewed annually, and the admission requirements from the previous year may not apply. Because of the nature of the selection procedures, deadlines are strictly enforced. All relevant documentation must be provided by the specified deadlines. Applicants must follow the instructions precisely. All applicants should be aware that the Admissions Office is committed to the protection of personal information. Use of personal information is strictly limited to the appropriate handling of applications, record-keeping for those admitted to the program, and research intended to further the efficacy of Medical Education Program procedures. The University reserves the right to change the admission requirements at any time without notice.

Admission and Registration

Registration in the Undergraduate Medical Program implies acceptance by the student of the objectives of the program, and the methods which evaluate progress toward the achievement of those objectives. The following describes the regulations governing admission and registration in the Undergraduate Medical Program. Candidates applying for entry must register their intention to apply with the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) by September 15th of the year prior to entry. The final application deadline is October 1st. The deadline is strictly enforced.

Admission Policy and Procedure

The intention of the McMaster Undergraduate Medical Program is to prepare students to become physicians who have the capacity and flexibility to select any area in the broad field of medicine. The applicant is selected with this goal in mind. Faculty, medical students and members of the community are involved in the admissions process.

Application to the medical program implies acceptance by the applicant of the admission policies and procedures, and the methods by which candidates are chosen for the program. Applicants who will not be ready or able to begin studies as expected may withdraw their applications without prejudice. Application fees cannot be refunded.

Registration on the OMSAS web site must be completed by September 15th, at 4:30 p.m. EDT. Final applications must be submitted by October 1st, 4:30 p.m. EDT. Several hundred applicants will be invited for interviews in Hamilton in March or April. From this group a class of 203 is selected.

All applicants are notified in writing, by McMaster University, of the results of their application. These letters will be sent electronically to applicants on he second Tuesday in May.

Falsification of Admission Information

Applicants should understand that where it is discovered that any application information is false or misleading, or has been concealed or withheld, the application will be deemed to be invalid. This will result in its immediate rejection. If the applicant has already been admitted and registered as a student, withdrawal from the University may be required. The MD Admissions Committee will normally not allow the applicant to reapply to the Medical Program for seven (7) years.

Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Medicine

The Ontario Faculties of Medicine are responsible to society to provide a program of study so that graduates have the knowledge, skills, professional behaviours and attitudes necessary to enter the supervised practice of medicine in Canada. Graduates must be able to diagnose and manage health problems and provide comprehensive, compassionate care to their patients. For this reason, students in the MD program must possess the cognitive, communication, sensory, motor, and social skills necessary to interview, examine, and counsel patients, and competently complete certain technical procedures in a reasonable time while ensuring patient safety.

In addition to obtaining an MD degree, and completing an accredited residency training program, an individual must pass the licensure examinations of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) in order to practice medicine. Prospective candidates should be aware that, cognitive, physical examination, management skills, communication skills, and professional behaviours are all evaluated in timed simulations of patient encounters.

All students must have the required skills and abilities described in the Section on Technical Standards. All individuals are expected to review this document to assess their ability to meet these standards. The document can be found at

Academic Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must report on the Post-Secondary Education Form of the OMSAS application all grades received in the degree credit courses in which they have ever registered. Failure to report courses, programs or grades on the Post-Secondary Education Form will result in the disqualification of the application. All grades are converted by the applicant on the Post-Secondary Education Form to a 4.0 scale according to the OMSAS Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table. (The Conversion Table is provided with the OMSAS Application.)

All applicants must fulfill the requirements described below:

  1. By May of the year of entry, applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate work. To satisfy the minimum requirements, academic credentials obtained from a Canadian University must be from an institution with academic standards and performance consistent with those of member institutions of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). The applicant must be able to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement consistently throughout their undergraduate career.
  2. A minimum of 15 full-courses, or 30 half-courses (three years) of Undergraduate university work from a recognized university is required. There is no requirement that applicants carry a full course load. Marks from supplementary and summer courses will be included in the grade point average calculation. If requested, applicants must provide evidence that this requirement has been met by May 30th of the year of entry. Courses for which a Pass grade is assigned are counted for credit, but will not be included in the GPA calculation. In order for the GPA to be evaluated, independent grades from a minimum of five half-year or five full-year courses are required, without which the application will not be considered.
  3. An applicant who has completed a diploma at a CEGEP must have completed by May of the year of entry, at least two additional full academic years of degree credit work at an accredited university.
  4. Applicants who have completed the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in less than three years by the October 1st deadline, are also eligible.
  5. By October 1st, applicants must have achieved an overall simple average of at least a 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale. While an overall simple average of at least 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale meets the minimal criterion for consideration for admission, prospective applicants should be aware that given the rapidly rising level of competition for a limited number of positions, a significantly higher GPA would provide them with a more reasonable chance of admission. Due to changes from year to year in the level of competitiveness, an exact figure in this regard cannot be provided.
  6. Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) - The MCAT is required for application and must be written within five years of the final application deadline. The score from the Verbal Reasoning section for those who write the MCAT prior to February 2015 or the Critical Analysis and Reasoning section for those who write the MCAT after February 2015 will be used in both formulae (offer of interview and offer of admission). A minimum score of 6 on the Verbal Reasoning component or a minimum score of 123 on the Critical Analysis and Reasoning component is required. All other MCAT component scores will not be considered in the selection process. For those applicants who write the MCAT more than once, the score from the most recent MCAT will be used.
  7. Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal characteristics (CASPer): All applicants to the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University will be required to complete a 90 minute computer-based test, called CASPer, as part of the selection process. CASPer is a web-based assessment of interpersonal skills and decision-making, to be completed at a computer. Applicants must register for CASPer, which is offered in the Fall of each application year, at

No other aspects of the application will be considered if these requirements are not met.

Aboriginal Applicants

Applicants who wish to be considered under the Aboriginal (Indian, Inuit or Metis) application process will also be required to provide: 1) a letter declaring Aboriginal ancestry and giving specific information about First Nation, treaty, community or organizational affiliation. The letter should request consideration under the alternate process, and should expand on the candidate’s academic and personal background, and reasons and motivation for wishing to become a physician; 2) a letter of recommendation from their First Nation, Band Council, Tribal Council, Treaty, community or organizational affiliation; 3) proof of Aboriginal Ancestry. Acceptable proofs of ancestry include: Status or Treaty card, Métis Membership Card, Nunavut Trust Service Card or Inuit Roll Number. McMaster University will ONLY recognize Métis Membership Cards from the Provincial counterparts of the Métis National Council. Please see website: McMaster University reserves the right to contact the card issuer to verify its authenticity.

Aboriginal applicants are required to complete the Undergraduate MD Program application package as provided by the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS).

Applicants must meet the same minimum academic criteria for admission as set out for the general pool of candidates and have three or more years of undergraduate degree-level courses by May of the year of entry with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 as calculated on the OMSAS 4.0 scale and a minimum score of 6 on the Verbal Reasoning or a minimum score of 123 on the Critical Analysis and Reasoning component of the MCAT (*see notation below) and CASPer.

*In order to reduce barriers for Aboriginal applicants, provision of MCAT verbal reasoning or critical analysis and reasoning score may be deferred beyond October 1st. Those Aboriginal applicants wishing to delay taking the MCAT until after invitations to interview are sent out are free to do so, but should be aware that they MUST forward a minimum MCAT verbal reasoning score of 6 or a minimum critical analysis and reasoning score of 123 to the Admissions Office by the offer date (the second Tuesday in May), in order to maintain eligibility. Aboriginal applicants wishing to explore this option should book their MCAT in the Fall to be certain of a spot. A cancellation fee would be applied by MCAT if the applicant is not successful in obtaining an interview and subsequently cancels their MCAT test.

Geographical Consideration

The geographical status of the applicant is determined from the Autobiographic Sketch. Applicants may be asked to provide evidence of geographical status. In selecting applicants for interview, the bona fide place of residence will be based upon: 1) the province of Ontario; or 2) the rest of Canada and other countries. To qualify for Ontario status, an applicant must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada by October 1st, and have resided for at least three years in the province of Ontario since the age of 14 by the date of possible entry into the program.

Transcript Requirements and Transcript Request Forms (TRF)

All transcripts from Ontario universities must be ordered by OMSAS via the Transcript Request Form (TRF). It is required that applicants will request all other transcript materials prior to September 15th, to allow adequate time for processing requests and for receipt at OMSAS by the prescribed deadline. If an applicant is registered at a post-secondary institution at the time of the application deadline and that registration is not reported on the transcript, the applicant must arrange to have the Registrar of the institution send a Statement of Registration to OMSAS by October 1st. This statement must indicate the in-progress course name(s) and number(s). Evidence to show that applicants requested transcripts and Registrar statements in a timely fashion may be requested by McMaster University. Applicants should retain all receipts and correspondence related to their transcript request.

It is entirely the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all of the above are received at OMSAS by October 1st. Failure by the applicant to meet these requirements will result in the disqualification of the application.

All transcripts must be submitted directly to OMSAS by the post-secondary institutions attended. McMaster requires that applicants provide transcripts of all courses/programs attended at any post-secondary institution. This includes community colleges, CEGEPs, junior colleges, pre-university programs, etc.

Failure by the applicant to comply with the instructions or to meet the deadlines will result in disqualification of the application.

Graduate Students

Those applicants with a completed and conferred Master’s or Ph.D. at the time of application will receive a small amount of extra weighting in the formula used to determine the likelihood of invitation to an interview. Individual grades for course work taken as part of a graduate degree will not be included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Graduate students enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application must arrange for their Supervisor, a member of their Supervisory Committee, or the Chair of the Department to provide a letter indicating they are aware the applicant is intending to apply to medical school. Applicants should arrange for this letter to be received at OMSAS by October 1st. If the applicant’s graduate degree supervisor is acting as one of their references, a second letter is not required.

Credentialing of Non-Canadian Grades

Applicants, Canadian or non-Canadian, who have not met the minimum course number criterion utilizing their Canadian data and require inclusion of their international education data to meet the minimum course number criterion are required to have their foreign transcript assessed by World Education Services (WES). Credentialing assessment means converting foreign academic credentials into their Ontario educational equivalents. A course-by-course evaluation along with the calculation of an overall GPA is required. Applicants must have their transcripts sent directly from their university to WES and OMSAS and be able to prove (with dated letter and dated post office receipt) that an attempt was made to have the transcript issued by their university and sent to OMSAS by October 1st. Those requiring WES assessment must also ensure that transcripts are received by WES in time for their assessment to reach OMSAS by October 1st. A WES Assessment is not required for foreign exchanges.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must satisfy by October 1st, at least one of the following conditions:

  1. Provide evidence of a combined score on the TOEFL iBT test with an overall score of at least 86 with minimum scores of 20 in each of the four components, or the equivalent on other recognized tests has been achieved (McMaster University code for TOEFL test score submissions is #0936); or
  2. Have attended an educational institution, where instruction was in English, for at least three years; or
  3. Have resided for at least four years in an English-speaking country.


Several hundred applicants will be invited to Hamilton for an interview. Because the interviews involve many other people, applicants must attend on the date and time specified. Attendance at an in-person interview is mandatory in order to be considered for admission. Applicants are responsible for their own travel expenses.

The interview process entitled the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), is primarily composed of a series of ten-minute encounters over a two-hour period. Due to the nature of the MMI, videoconference or telephone interviews are not possible.


All the information resulting from the process described above, as well as the Confidential Assessments from referees, may be reviewed and used in the final selection.

Applicants will be notified in writing by McMaster University of the results of their application. These letters are sent electronically to applicants on the second Tuesday in May.

Anyone accepting an offer of admission must provide, within two weeks of acceptance, a deposit in the amount of $1,000 (Canadian), non-refundable, which will subsequently be applied towards tuition.

Application for Deferred Registration

Deferred registration may be granted only under exceptional circumstances. The request for deferral must normally be submitted within two weeks of the offer of admission and will be considered by the UGME Deferral Board. Deferral for parental/family, illness or other personal/compassionate reasons may be considered if received after this deadline where circumstances did not allow the applicant to meet the deadline.

International Applicants

Interested International applicants may apply through the regular process. International (Visa) students should be aware that admission to the Undergraduate MD Program does not confer eligibility to apply subsequently through the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) for a residency training position in Canada. Applicants should check the CaRMS web site ( for further information.

Advanced Standing/Transfer

The structure of the McMaster Program requires that all students begin in Medical Foundation 1. There is no provision for advanced standing or transfer into the program.

Unsuccessful Applicants

Application files, including transcripts, from one year are not held over to another year. If an unsuccessful applicant wishes to reapply, a new application package, including supporting documentation must be submitted, using the OMSAS Application and the OMSAS Information Booklet, for the new admission selection cycle.

Retention of Documents

All documentation submitted in support of an application for admission becomes the property of the University and is not returnable. If an applicant is not accepted, or fails to enroll following acceptance, the identifiable documentation will be destroyed at the end of the admissions cycle in keeping with university policy.

Financial Information

Financial difficulties are among the most frequent problems experienced by students in undergraduate medical schools. At McMaster, these are intensified by the lack of opportunity for summer employment.

In this situation, it is incumbent on students admitted to the MD Program to clarify immediately their personal financial situation and to secure or identify sufficient support to meet their financial obligations over the subsequent three years. The Undergraduate MD Program cannot assume this responsibility.

In 2016-2017, the academic fees (tuition and student supplementary fees) for a student in the McMaster Undergraduate Medical Program were:

Canadian Citizens and Landed Immigrants

Year I $27,531.77
Year II $27,531.77
Year III $27,531.77

International (Visa) Students

Each Year $95,955.02

In addition, the cost of books and diagnostic equipment for a Year I student was approximately $3,000. It is strongly recommended that students purchase the full complement of medical equipment necessary for clinical skills. Equipment lists and special prices will be offered to medical students within the first few months of medical school. Students are also responsible for their transportation costs related to their training.

Financial assistance is available to Ontario residents from the federal and provincial governments through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). To be eligible a student must be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident of Canada and fulfill certain requirements for residency in Ontario. Students who are legal residents of other provinces need to check with their respective provincial financial aid programs about eligibility for support prior to acceptance. In addition, the following sources of funding are available to undergraduate medical students:


There is a bursary program which has been developed by the Faculty of Health Sciences and the central University campus. Bursaries are awarded to students who are Canadian citizens and demonstrate financial need. All bursaries are distributed during the late fall of each year. Bursaries are intended to offset provincial financial assistance and cannot supplement the full cost of medical education.

Elective Travel Awards

The Undergraduate Medical Program has in the past indicated its preparedness to recognize students who distinguish themselves and the University by virtue of their scholarship and their contribution to the university community. At the same time, the School has indicated that the terms of reference for such awards should neither compromise the spirit of cooperative scholarship which characterizes its MD Program nor replace its priority of concern for financial assistance awards.

A growing number of estates and agencies have donated funds to the University and the Undergraduate Medical Program for purposes of recognizing scholastic merit among medical students. In order to meet the requirements of these awards within the spirit of cooperative scholarship, these funds are available to support individual students in their pursuit of specific elective projects or activities.

Students are required to submit an application through the Undergraduate Medical Education Program Office, outlining the nature of their work and the need for funds.