Q1d: What are the entry criteria for Canadian medical schools?



What are the entry criteria for Canadian medical schools?


Canadian faculties of medicine contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system by training future physicians. As such, they seek applicants who are strong academically yet who also understand the importance of social accountability and its implications on their future practice. Individuals considering a career in medicine must be ready to work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care to those in need.

As detailed in What is the process for applying to a Canadian medical school?, the first step of the application process is to meet the entry criteria of the school to which the application is being made. Since entry criteria vary among the 17 different faculties of medicine in Canada, applicants should consult individual faculty websites for accurate, up-to-date information.

Generally speaking, entry criteria for Canadian medical schools fall into four main categories:

Eligibility requirements: Most provinces require at least two years of postsecondary education, while Quebec residents applying to a medical school in that province must complete their CEGEP training. Most schools also request that applicants complete specific basic-science courses before entering their program to prepare them for the study of medicine. Since these prerequisites vary among schools, faculty websites should be consulted for details.

Academic performance: Medical schools look closely at academic performance when evaluating candidates for potential entry into their programs. Selection committees consider grade point average (GPA) to determine whether applicants have the right study habits and intellectual capacity to pursue medical studies. Some also use Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) results and the (CASPer) Admissions Screening for People Skills results. Once again, faculty websites should be consulted for specific requirements.

Autobiographical sketch/essay: Applicants have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from other candidates by providing the selection committee with an autobiographical sketch/essay that reflects their personality and accomplishments. It should include a list of such things as volunteer and paid work, research, extra courses, hobbies, sports, awards, scholarships, and other forms of recognition.

Reference letters: Most Canadian medical schools ask for reference letters, which can come from such individuals as community members, faculty members, or previous employers. These letters give selection committees an additional perspective on the type of medical student an applicant might become.

Admission requirements of Canadian medical school

Every year, the AFMC publishes the Admission Requirements of Canadian Faculties of Medicine for students who are interested in pursuing medical studies. This document lists the admission requirements of the 17 medical schools in Canada and includes application statistics from previous years.

For more detailed information on admission requirements for specific faculties of medicine, please consult the admissions pages of their websites, the direct links to which are provided below.












Grade point average (GPA): A measure of an applicant’s performance in his or her academic studies, where the sum of the applicant’s scores is converted to a 4.0 or 4.5 scale.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): A standardized test to assess the basic concepts and principles that are prerequisites to medical studies. (check here)

The CASPer™ Test: The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer®) has grown in popularity as an added medical school application component in screening pre-medical candidates in Canada and the United States. (check here)


Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (2018). Admission Requirements of Canadian Faculties of Medicine – Admission in 2018, Ottawa: AFMC