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Faculty of Medicine

Doctor of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Calgary offers a three-year professional degree leading to a Doctor of Medicine (MD). The academic year consists of 11 months of instruction and one month of unassigned vacation time.

During the third and final year of undergraduate medical education, students are expected to identify an area for postgraduate training. Some students will be interested in medical specialties such as surgery or internal medicine, or in the specialty of family medicine. Others will be interested in a career in research which might logically lead to an MSc and/or a PhD degree. Each student will spend at least two postgraduate years in the academic area in which he or she is interested.

Pattern of Education

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The educational program of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine is based on the premise that the pattern of instruction should more closely resemble that of a professional graduate school than that of an undergraduate college. Accordingly, and particularly since medical education must continue for the student's entire professional life, considerable emphasis is placed on navigating the self-instruction resources available. Students also have the opportunity to examine and to use the expertise of the allied health professionals.

University of Calgary medical students are exposed to patients from the time they enter the Faculty of Medicine. They are able to study fundamental material in the context of clinical application.

The Faculty of Medicine is altering the traditional pattern of medical education in two important ways: by selecting a portion of students who possess academic backgrounds in disciplines other than the physical and biological sciences, and through curricula that merges basic and clinical medical sciences. The Faculty of Medicine not only devotes resources to evaluate students but it also dedicates resources to evaluate the faculty and the teaching program. A mechanism is thereby provided for ongoing revision of the teaching program of the medical school. The medical school building is designed to bring students and faculty into contact, not only in lecture theatres and laboratories but also in dining and lounge areas. The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine is associated with several ambulatory clinics throughout the Calgary Health Region. In these clinics, students are able to observe model patient care and a health-team approach to health care delivery from the first day they enter medical school.


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The 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 prerequisites, 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.


Applicants to the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine should ensure that they have also read the Office of Admissions' Applicant Manual. For current information, please visit the website at

Eligibility for Admission

The number of positions for students at the University of Calgary medical school is currently limited to 125. This number may increase slightly over the next several years due to 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 residents of 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 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' Applicant Manual. Refer to the manual for the most accurate information on requirements. The brochure is available on the University of Calgary webpage.

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 choose 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 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.

Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Calgary 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 250 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, a personal essay, employment history and extracurricular activities, and three letters of reference. Applications submitted by non-Albertans will be rank-ordered on the basis of an algorithm regression formula described on the website; the top ranked will be considered for interview on the basis of the criteria listed above

Medical College Admission Test

All applicants must write the Medical College Admission Test 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 ( 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 Faculty of Medicine should also be aware that the MCAT was revised in 1991. The results of previous examinations will not be considered.


Applications for the MD program are available on the website. Applicants may obtain an application by visiting All applications must be submitted online. The deadline for receipt by the Office of Admissions of the on-line application, all official transcripts, official MCAT scores, three letters of reference, and the application fee of $120.00 is October 15.

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 the deadlines. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete and that all necessary forms and the 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); an essay; a brief description of employment history (if any) and a list of extracurricular activities and three letters of reference

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

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 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 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.