Faculty of Medicine

Faculty Regulations

Admission Requirements

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Applicants to the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine should ensure that they have also read the Office of Admissions' Information Brochure. The admissions requirements are currently under review. For current information, please visit the website at www.med.ucalgary.ca/admissions.


The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine does not require that a student undertake a formal premedical program. Rather, nine courses are recommended as they should provide adequate preparation for entry into medicine. While these might be viewed as "prerequisite," the Admissions Committee is prepared to waive certain courses for students who have pursued unusual educational programs. It is the intention of the faculty to permit entry of exceptional students from other disciplines into medicine without demanding that they spend undue time on traditional "premedical" courses.

Eligibility for Admission

The number of positions for students at the University of Calgary medical school is currently limited to 100. This number may increase slightly over the next several years in order to address a physician shortage. As a provincial university, the University of Calgary has a primary obligation to Canadian citizens residing in Alberta. Although priority will be given to Alberta residents, the faculty also invites applications from other provinces.

The Faculty of Medicine has a policy on the admission of candidates who are neither Canadian citizens nor landed immigrants. The faculty does not accept applications from individual international students. Seats for international students are currently limited to students from institutions or countries that have formal, contractual agreements with the Faculty of Medicine.

In selecting medical students, no consideration is given to the gender, race, religion, or socio-economic status of the applicant. Nor is the vocation of his or her parent, guardian, or spouse a consideration in the selection process.

Physical disabilities must not prevent the student, upon graduation, from communicating with patients, making observations, gathering and analyzing data necessary to arrive at medical judgments, and from performing the therapeutic interventions expected of a physician who has completed the educational program leading to an MD degree.

The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine will not normally accept applications from students who have withdrawn, who have been required to withdraw, or who have been expelled from any school or college of medicine.

Educational Background

Students must have completed a minimum of two full years of university-level courses at the time of admission. Most students will have completed a baccalaureate degree before admission to the Faculty of Medicine. Exceptional and academically well-qualified students who wish to be considered for acceptance with only two years of university education may apply between their first and second years of university.

Note: The Faculty of Medicine's definition of a full year is described in the Office of Admissions' Information Brochure. Refer to the brochure for the most accurate information on requirements. The brochure is available on the University of Calgary web page.

The Faculty of Medicine does not require that students undertake a formal premedical program. Rather, it recommends the following courses, which should provide students with the necessary background for medical studies. As completion of these courses does not guarantee admission, students should ensure that the courses they chose satisfy the degree requirements of the undergraduate Faculty in which they are registered.

Recommended Courses

Applicants should satisfy the Admissions Committee that they are well prepared academically for entry into the Faculty of Medicine. Such preparation ordinarily will ordinarily include a full university course in each of the following:

General chemistry
Organic chemistry
General biology
Mammalian physiology or comparative physiology

Applicants should also have a university half course equivalent in each of the following:

Psychology or sociology or anthropology

Calculus or statistics

University of Calgary students should consider the following courses:

Chemistry 201/203 (General Chemistry)
Chemistry 351/353 (Organic Chemistry)
Biochemistry 393/443 (Chemistry 351 is the prerequisite and 353 or 355 is the prerequisite or corequisite for Biochemistry 393.)
One of Psychology 205, Sociology 201, Anthropology 201
Two of English 231, 233, 235, 237, 239 or one of 202 or 240
Biology 231/233
Zoology 361/363 or 461/463 (Physiology) (Biology 331, and one of Chemistry 351 or Biochemistry 341 or 393 or 441 are prerequisites and either Chemistry 353 or 355 are prerequisites or corequisites for Zoology 461.)
Physics 211 (or 221)/223
Mathematics 249 or 251 or Statistics 211 or 213

The Admissions Committee will consider applications from students who have completed other educational or training programs, for example, honours in physical science, engineering, or in the humanities

Admission/Registration Refusal

The University of Calgary reserves the right, the published regulations notwithstanding, to reject applicants for admission or registration in courses on the basis of their overall academic records even if they technically meet the entrance requirements, and on medical and other grounds.

Admission Procedures

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Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine consists of representatives of the medical faculty, student physicians, the medical community, other disciplines, and the community at large. The committee is charged with the selection of medical students on the basis of academic and non-academic qualifications. Approximately 220 Alberta applicants are invited for the final stage of the process - the on-site essay and the interviews. The committee chooses these applicants on the basis of the following six criteria: post-secondary transcripts, Medical College Admission Test scores, two personal essays, employment history, extracurricular activities, and there letters of reference. Applications submitted by non-Albertans will be rank-ordered on the basis of an algorithm regression formula described on the website.

Medical College Admission Test

All applicants must write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at least one year before the year for which they are applying. MCAT scores will then be available to the Admissions Committee when considering applications. Applicants should contact the MCAT Program Office (www.aamc.org/MCAT/) for details about the test and they must instruct the organization to forward their MCAT results to the Faculty of Medicine Admissions Committee. Candidates should be aware that they must apply to write the MCAT at least six weeks before the date of the examination.

Applicants to the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine should also be aware that the MCAT was revised in 1991. The results of previous examinations will not be considered.


Application forms for the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine are available on the website. Applicants may obtain an application form by visiting www.med.ucalgary.ca/admissions. All applications must be submitted online. The deadline for receipt by the Office of Admissions of the online application, all official transcripts, official MCAT scores, three letters of reference, and the application fee of $120.00 is November 1.

Applicants should note that the Office of Admissions will not accept facsimile transmission copies of transcripts. The work of the committee is greatly facilitated when candidates submit their applications early in the process, preferably well before deadlines. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete and that all necessary forms and application fee are received by the Office of Admissions by the deadline. Completed applications include the following information: a list of courses taken and grades obtained; MCAT scores and the date of writing (if available); two essays; a brief description of employment history (if any); and a list of extracurricular activities.

Note: A complete application contains all the information described in the Office of Admissions' Information Brochure.

The Admissions Committee reviews all completed applications which have met the two absolute requirements to determine which applicants will be granted an interview. The two absolute requirements include written MCAT scores and the equivalent of at least two years of full-time university education at the time of admission with a minimum grade point average as described in the Office of Admissions' Information Brochure.

Applicants will be notified in February regarding whether or not they will be invited to give a series of short interviews. The interviews take place at the University of Calgary in February or March. Applicants must attend the interviews at their own expense. Before the interviews, candidates are required to write an on-site essay on a topic assigned by the Admissions Committee. After writing the on-site essay, applicants must take part in a series of short, back-to-back interviews, which the committee will use to assess the candidates' non-academic qualifications.

Applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee's decision by May 15. All applicants accepted into the Faculty of Medicine will be required to forward a deposit within 15 working days of notification of admission. Failure to do so may result in the position being assigned to an applicant on the waiting list. The deposit is applied to the first year fees. An applicant who accepts a position and later withdraws his or her acceptance will forfeit the deposit.

All medical students must commence a program of immunization before registration day. The Faculty of Medicine reserves the right to refuse admission to any candidate whose condition of health indicates that medical studies could be prejudicial to his or her well-being.

Admission of Students by Transfer

Because the three-year MD program at the University of Calgary is regarded as a continuum, transfers cannot be considered. For the final clerkship year, students from other LCME Accredited Medical Schools may apply for visiting student status.


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MD Curriculum

When the University of Calgary Medical School was founded in 1970, the "Systems-Based" curricular model was adopted, and produced highly qualified physicians over its 30 years of existence. Building on the strengths of this curricular model, the University of Calgary Medical School modified its curriculum in the mid 1990s to what is called a "Clinical Presentation" curriculum. This innovative model, which has now been adopted by over 15 other medical schools worldwide, aims to organize teaching around the 120+/- 5 ways a patient can present to a physician. These Clinical Presentations can take the form of historical points (e.g. chest pain), physical examination signs (e.g. hypertension), or laboratory abnormalities (e.g. elevated serum lipids). This structure thus takes the over 3,200 diagnostic entities known in medicine, and organizes them within the framework of the finite (120+/-5) ways patients present to their physicians.

When the Clinical Presentation curriculum was adopted, University of Calgary faculty members were asked to develop their course objectives in a logical and structured fashion. What spontaneously emanated from the minds of these skilled teachers were classification systems, unique to each Clinical Presentation, that have subsequently been called "schemes." These schemes provide scaffolding onto which basic and clinical sciences knowledge can be both structured and integrated, while also aiding in clinical problem solving. This use of schemes, or clinical problem solving pathways, has been widely supported in medical education and cognitive psychology literature, including studies originating at the University of Calgary. The clinical presentation curriculum teaches the basic science and clinical knowledge pertinent to each clinical presentation and provides an approach to the solution of the clinical problems. Students are provided an exposure to a balance of clinical settings with clinical presentations in ambulatory, emergency, long term and acute health care delivery situations. The basic and clinical sciences are introduced in a graduated fashion as they relate to the clinical presentation being addressed. The curriculum maintains an active learning environment with more than 25% of scheduled instructional activities spent in small group, case-based learning sessions. The small group case-based learning sessions provide an essential and unique learning activity for students. The sessions facilitate an in-depth analysis of the objectives and content of clinical problems presented in lectures, promote diagnostic classification and clinical reasoning schemes in the solution of clinical problems, correct student misperceptions, aid the development of student communication skills and provide an opportunity for active feedback to students regarding their approach to problem solving.

After 10 years of experience with the clinical presentation curriculum, faculty and students recommended changes beginning in August 2006 which will further strengthen our curriculum. Students applying for classes beginning August 2006 will see a reorganized pre-clerkship curriculum. This reorganization has satisfied a number of practical and pedagogical concerns raised over the past 10 years. The number of courses has been diminished with improved integration of clinical presentations within each course. The student evaluation program has been reviewed and a mid-term formative examination program will be included in all courses. Students will have a minimum of five days for faculty-assisted review or independent study prior to each certifying course examination for most pre-clerkship courses.

All courses will be linked to graduation objectives and the Undergraduate Medical Education Program philosophy of teaching, learning and evaluation. Student elective time in the summer between year one and year two has been extended by two weeks to provide increased clinical exposure and better preparation for residency career decisions. Teaching of procedural skills has been introduced in year one with additional instruction in the senior years.

See figure 1 for overview of the first two years.

After the orientation program that outlines the nature of the educational experience to come, three courses start in the second week of medical school. The first of these is the Medical Skills Course, which will run longitudinally throughout the first two years. This course is responsible for teaching students communication skills, physical examination, ethics, culture health and wellness, physician health and wellness, and procedural skills. Also running longitudinally in the first year is the Healthy Populations Course. This course will cover aspects of population health, health promotion and disease prevention, clinical epidemiology, medical biostatistics, informatics, research methods and evidence-based medicine. The course culminates with a student-generated research proposal. The third course that starts in the second week is the first "integrated body systems" course. These courses, totaling seven over the first two years, will have 20 hours per week of structured lecture and small group teaching time. Each integrated course will highlight their common Clinical Presentations and schemes in a "multi-disciplinary unit," followed by teaching of the basic, clinical and behavioural sciences unique to their discipline. Bedside sessions correlating real patient problems with knowledge learned in the course occur throughout the two years. Small group interactive problem solving sessions make up at least one third of the teaching time. Since these small group sessions allow a unique opportunity for students to create an approach to problem solving using diagnostic classification schemes, analyze the objectives and content from lectures in an in-depth fashion, as well as communicate and exchange feedback with faculty and peers, student attendance at small group sessions is now considered mandatory.

Also starting in the second week is the Independent Study Program. It is not a course in the usual sense, but rather is time set aside for independent study, secured from encroachment by scheduled curricular activities. Independent study time allows a student to actively process knowledge and construct their understanding of that knowledge. In order to facilitate a deeper approach to learning, scheduled independent study time of a minimum of three half days per week is organized within the pre-clerkship curriculum. This time is intended for preparation of small group assignments (either working alone or in teams), completion of assigned readings or pursuing research or career-sampling opportunities, as time permits.

Students will have two weeks for electives at the end of first year and four weeks of elective time at the beginning of second year. Another ten weeks will be available for electives during the clerkship year. The elective program is a mandatory element of the Undergraduate Medical Education curriculum. Electives provide an opportunity for students to explore medical domains in a more in-depth fashion than is otherwise permitted in the core curricular components. It is also intended to allow students to develop their own specific interests, and sample disciplines potentially suited for future career choices and residency training applications. Students may do electives at Canadian and International centres of excellence.

Following the Research Methods and Evidence-Based Medicine course, students may utilize the skills learned in this program to pursue a research project in the second year and beyond. In the Applied Evidence Based Medicine course, four hours per week is available in the second year for this purpose, or to provide the time for a deeper exploration of an area or areas of particular career interest.

At the end of the second year, students participate in the Integrative Course, where students work in small groups with a tutor and standardized patients (actors) to further improve their skills in interviewing, communication, physical examination, diagnosing and patient management. During this two-week course, no other classes are held, and students play a major role in self-directed learning. Also at the end of second year, the students will take part in an "introduction to clerkship" course, which will cover topics related to senior medical student responsibilities (clerk) such as writing orders, using the regional diagnostic and laboratory services, as well as more advanced ECG, radiological and procedural skills.

There are seven block courses plus the longitudinal courses of Medical Skills, Research Methods and Evidence-Based Medicine, and Applied Evidence-Based Medicine in the two pre-clerkship years. The block courses are listed below:

First Year

Medicine 320 Medical Skills Course

Medicine 340 Healthy Populations

Medicine 350 Integrated Fever/Sore Throat, Blood and Gastrointestinal Course

Medicine 360 Integrated Musculoskeletal and Special Senses Course

Medicine 370 Integrated Cardiovascular and Respiratory Course

Medicine 380 Integrated Renal-Electrolyte and Endocrine-Metabolic Course

Medicine 390 First Year Elective

Second Year

Medicine 402 Second Year Elective

Medicine 420 Medical Skills Course

Medicine 440 Applied Evidence Based Medicine

Medicine 450 Integrated Neurosciences and Aging Course

Medicine 460 Integrated Reproductive Medicine and Infant/Child Course

Medicine 470 Integrated Mind and Family Course

Medicine 480 Integrative Course

Medicine 490 Introduction to Clerkship Course

The third and final year is called the Clinical Clerkship. During this time, students work on hospital wards, in ambulatory care clinics and doctors' offices as well as in the Emergency Room. All students will spend from four to ten weeks in community hospitals in Southern Alberta, learning Family Medicine as well as some specialties. During the clerkship students rotate through a variety of specialties, spending from four to12 weeks in each. These specialties include Anesthesia, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. During this time students will apply the knowledge learned in the first two years and their clinical skills toward the solution of the most common clinical presentations. Students will evaluate patients and properly manage their medical problems by conducting a comprehensive medical history and thorough physical examination, formulating accurate hypotheses as to the causes and solution of their clinical problems, formulating and implementing a management plan to deal effectively with the problems. Students will demonstrate the fundamental concepts of disease prevention and health promotion for individual patients and incorporate them into treatments plans as appropriate. Students will communicate and interact effectively with patients, families, medical staff and others involved in the delivery of health services. During this time students will accept increasing responsibility in patient care as the final year advances. Students will be working with multi-disciplinary clinical teams of nurses, physiotherapists, residents and faculty. Students will develop and apply high ethical principles and standards in all aspects of medical practice and will exhibit appropriate personal and interpersonal professional behaviours. In the clerkship, as in the whole of the curriculum, it will be clear that the physician can serve patients to the highest possible standards only if he/she continually acquires new knowledge and skills for as long as he/she practices medicine.


Medicine 502 Family Medicine (4 weeks)

Medicine 504 Internal Medicine (12 weeks)

Medicine 506 Surgery (8 weeks)

Medicine 508 Pediatrics (6 weeks)

Medicine 510 Psychiatry (6 weeks)

Medicine 512 Obstetrics and Gynecology (6 weeks)

Medicine 514 Clerkship Electives (10 weeks)

Medicine 516 Anesthesia (2 weeks)

For course descriptions see section on Courses of Instruction in the University of Calgary calendar.

Leaders in Medicine Combined MD/PhD or MD/MSc Program

The Faculty of Medicine offers a combined degree program with the Faculty of Graduate Studies leading to an MD/MSc or MD/PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences, Community Health Sciences, Gastrointestinal Sciences, Medical Science, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, or Neuroscience. Information may be obtained under the Leaders in Medicine heading in the Faculty of Graduate Studies section of this calendar, and in the sections describing the individual graduate programs. Supplementary application forms may be obtained from the Associate Dean (Graduate Sciences Education) in the Faculty of Medicine.

Postgraduate Curriculum

At the completion of the three-year program and the awarding of the MD degree, it is anticipated that students will elect one of three pathways.

The Family Medicine Pathway: A two-year program is offered by the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. This program provides preparation for the practice of the specialty of Family Medicine.

The Pathway in Other Specialties: Training leading to specialist qualifications in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, etc., presently requires a minimum of four years training.

The Medical Scientist Pathway: Medical students who have completed the three-year medical undergraduate curriculum and have been awarded the MD degree are encouraged to consider a career in Medical Research. Graduate degrees (MSc and/or PhD) can be obtained in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Medical graduates are eligible to apply to the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and other external granting agencies for competitive fellowship awards during their graduate research training.

Evaluation Procedures

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Attendance at small group sessions is now considered mandatory. Also, attendance is mandatory for any and all teaching sessions where patients are involved, whether at the bedside or in a lecture, small group, laboratory, tutorial or seminar format.

The educational program of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine is directed toward problem solving. Accordingly, evaluations will be made on a multidisciplinary basis and will test the students' factual knowledge and ability to solve problems.

Responsibility for the development and execution of a comprehensive evaluation program has been delegated by the Faculty of Medicine to the Curriculum Committee and the Office of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education.

The evaluation of student performance involves the collection of data concerning each student's knowledge, skills and behaviour, so that the student may periodically obtain realistic and accurate information on his or her performance, instructors may gain some measure of the efficacy of their teaching, and the school may certify that its graduates are professionally competent in every respect. Some evaluation procedures (whether examinations, role playing exercises, simulated or real patient interactions) are designed solely to provide feedback to the student and instructor on professional and personal growth. These learning evaluations are called "formative" examinations, with student performance not recorded for promotion purposes. It is expected that the new longer courses will provide a midterm formative examination. Other evaluations, called certifying examinations, are exercises in which the performance of each student is recorded against a defined minimally acceptable performance level or standard. Students falling below that defined level must demonstrate, after completing a remedial program of instruction, that his/her performance has reached this acceptable level. Promotion from year to year of the course of studies is determined by the Student Academic Review Committee, or SARC.

The evaluation of faculty performance has as its primary goal the development of competent instructional staff who are individual in style.

Course and program evaluation involves collecting and summarizing information on the planning, execution and evaluation of each component of the curriculum.

Fees and Expenses

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The following fee structure is subject to change without notice.

The tuition and general fees per academic year for the Faculty of Medicine are as follows.

Tuition: $16,351*

Students' Union:

· Full-time students

Operating/Building $9.00
Levy Funds $37.50

· Part-time students

Operating/Building $7.50

Levy Funds $31.50

Universal Bus Pass:

Full-time students $128.00

Campus Recreation Fee:
Full- and part-time students $59.28

Interuniversity Athletic Fee:
Full- and part-time students $82.00

Health Care Plan:

Full-time students $ 103.00

Dental Care Plan:

Full-time students $90.00

Tuition per full course: $2,691.00*

Tuition per half course: $1,345.00*

*Includes Program Differential Fee

Student Expenses

The following will be required during the course:

· Stethoscope about $200

· Ophthalmoscope about $500

· Sphygmomanometer about $150

Microscopes will be provided. Students should anticipate that books and supplies will cost about $3,230 for first year and $2,020 for each of the second and third years.

Students are advised not to purchase instruments until specific recommendations are made by the faculty.

Students should note that the tuition fee is for an 11-month period. Total expenses for a single student living away from home are approximately $7,500 per year, plus tuition, fees, books and supplies. Only limited financial assistance is available from the Faculty of Medicine. Students from outside Alberta are reminded that no Alberta government loans or grants are available to students who are neither Canadian citizens nor landed immigrants, and who have not spent at least 12 consecutive months in Alberta as a non-student. The intensive 11-month, three-year curriculum provides few, if any, opportunities for part-time employment. While the ability to finance a medical education is not a criterion for acceptance, before applying for admission students should review their financial situation and prepare themselves, as far as possible, to be self-supporting while in the MD program.