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Canada: Subject Guides

Best medical schools in Canada

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Medicine is a particularly desirable and competitive degree. Many students choose medicine because of a drive to work as a medical practitioner such as a GP, surgeon, or consultant. If you are interested in pursuing a medical degree you must have an interest in the sciences. But, why not gain a medical degree while experiencing a new country? This article looks at the top medical schools in Canada and why this might be the perfect study destination for aspiring medical students.


Why study medicine in Canada?

There are many reasons why Canada has become such a popular country for international students. Firstly, Canadian people are notoriously welcoming to newcomers which is appealing to international students who want to feel accepted in their study destination. Secondly, Canada is home to beautiful scenery, from bright blue lakes to snowy mountain peaks, Canada is a hotspot for lovers of the outdoors. Canada also has a global reputation for academic excellence. This means you can study in a beautiful country while also gaining a prestigious qualification. 


Another appealing factor is that the average salary of a physician in Canada is CAD 257,000 per year. This makes Canada the 5th highest paying country for doctors in the world (Medic Footprints 2020). This, combined with a society that values a work-life balance, makes Canada a top destination for medical graduates who wish to remain after graduation.


When it comes to medicine, Canada is home to some of the best medical schools in the world (QS World University Rankings 2021). There is a total of 17 medical schools in Canada but only seven of which are open to international students in a bid to keep medical graduates in the country. Three of these schools also only offer their programmes in French. So, to help you make sense of where is best to study medicine in Canada, we’ve looked specifically at the top schools accepting international applicants with English instruction.


University of Toronto 

Ranking 13th in the world and 1st in Canada, The University of Toronto comes out on top of the medical schools in Canada. The university offers a four-year MD program (doctor of medicine), with clinical exposure to medicine. What’s more, the university has been at the forefront of medical discoveries such as creating the first electronic pacemaker or the discovery of the existence of stem cells. 


Entry requirements:


GPA – 3.6

MCAT – 125 in each section, one section can be 124


Find out more about the city of Toronto.


McGill University


Another top medical school in Canada, based in Montreal, McGill University is renowned for the excellent quality of its medical degrees, clinical training, and research. Ranking 21st  in the world, medical degrees are offered in both English and French. McGill University offers a four-year medicine program known as the MDCM which is a doctor of medicine and master of surgery.


Entry requirements:


GPA – average GPA of successful candidates = 3.9


If you’re wondering about the grading system in Canada, take some time to read our guide.


McMaster University 

Enrolling 203 students per year, McMaster University medical school is open to international students. It ranks 45th in the world and 4th in Canada according to the QS World University Rankings 2021. The medical school is one of few in Canada offering three-year programmes. Students are allowed to work in clinical settings within the first month of the course, giving them the chance to apply theory in a practical setting.


Entry requirements:


MCAT – minimum score of 123 in each section.


Although there are only a handful of universities in Canada accepting international students for medicine in English, it means you can focus your attention on these schools, reducing the time spent on researching different schools. It does however reflect the high competition for this subject in Canada, so you will need to achieve high grades and perform well on the required entry exams to be considered.


Other entry requirements for medical schools in Canada

It’s important to note that all students are required to study for a bachelor’s degree before applying to medical school in Canada. It is advised that you study a science subject for your undergraduate degree as this will provide you with some of the foundational knowledge. Essentially, a medical degree in Canada is the equivalent of graduate school in the UK where you need a bachelor’s degree.


International students also have to meet certain entry requirements in addition to academic achievements or entrance exams. 


While universities will differ on this, here are some examples of commonly required documentation:



Cost of a medical degree in Canada

Medicine is one of the more expensive courses for international students in Canada with average tuition fees being CAD 32,450 per year (Statistics Canada 2019-2020). The price will vary according to each province and university, so make sure you check the university’s website for the exact figures.


Scholarships for medical school in Canada

If you are concerned about affording a medical degree in Canada, you can apply for a scholarship to reduce the cost if you are eligible. 


So now you know a bit more about the top medical schools in Canada, you might be ready to apply!  


Check out our guide on applying to a university in Canada for more advice or you can use our course matcher tool if you’re still unsure about your next steps.

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