Dalhousie's medical school represents the medical and educational interests of three Maritime provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Preference is given to applicants from these three provinces, while a small number of applicants from other Canadian provinces and territories are accepted each year. In this blog, you will learn about Dalhousie medical school admissions statistics, eligibility, tuition costs, admissions requirements, application procedures, and tips for how to get accepted!
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“Together, we advance patient care by fostering excellence in research and education.”
Overall success rate: 10.8%
Maritime applicants (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) make up 89% of matriculants
Average GPA: 3.9
Average MCAT: 510
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dalhousie Medical School overall success rate:
Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine accepts Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents. International students, including American applicants, are not accepted. For a list of , please visit our blog. Dalhousie's applicants are categorized into 4 applicant pools. The Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island make up three of the four applicant pools. The fourth applicant pool includes applicants from all other Canadian provinces and territories. Applicants are assigned to each pool based on their residency.
Dalhousie University designates two types of applicants to determine their eligibility for admissions purposes. You can be classified as an independent student or a dependent student.
You are an independent student if you:
a) Have been out of high school for four years
b) Have been in the workforce for two periods of 12 consecutive months and were not a full-time student during this period
c) Are married or common-law
d) Have a dependent living with you
e) Have no legal guardian or parents are deceased
f) Are a permanent ward of a child and family services agency
You are a dependent student if you are considered to be financially dependent on parent(s) or guardian(s) and do not meet the criteria of an independent student.
To be considered for one of the three Maritime applicant pools, you must meet one of the following criteria:
1. You are an independent student and have resided continuously in the same Maritime province for a period of 12 consecutive months immediately before the final application deadline, excluding time spent as a full-time student at a post-secondary institution.
2. You are a dependent student and your parents, or guardians resided in the same Maritime province for a period of twelve consecutive months immediately before the final application deadline.
3. You have completed 6 consecutive years of post-secondary education in the same Maritime province immediately before the final application deadline.
4. You have been on active duty as an RCMP police officer or as a member of the Regular Force of the Canadian Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 consecutive months before the final application deadline.
You will be required to give complete information on your residency status and residency history in your application.
Total tuition fees for Dalhousie medical school add up to around $23,000. Your living costs will depend on your housing, mode of transportation, utilities, and so on. For reference, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Halifax is around $1,412 per month. Car payments average just over $500 per month, while other expenses like food, clothing, and entertainment can be up to $600 per month. Make sure to read our blog “?” to learn more about all your med school expenses.
Do you want to find out how much medical school costs? Check out our video:
Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine has a variety of funding opportunities available:
Medical Student Leadership Award recognizes the leadership abilities of outstanding medical students. One student from each of the 17 Canadian medical schools will be selected. A selection committee comprised of student and faculty representatives is asked to collaborate on the selection process. A letter of support from a faculty member addressing your skills as a leader must be included. These letters are an important component in the selection process and should include sufficient information to support your demonstrated interest in family medicine and skills in areas of leadership, academic and/or research achievement, communication skills, publications, and non-medical/community interests.
Indigenous Student Leadership Award recognizes the leadership abilities of an outstanding Indigenous student in their final year of study currently enrolled in one of the 17 Canadian medical schools. A selection committee comprised of student and faculty representatives at each Canadian medical school is asked to identify their nominees for an Indigenous Student Leadership Award. The nominee is not required to match to the same university in order to be considered. A reference letter from a preceptor of the elective in Indigenous health (preceptor may or may not be Indigenous themselves) and/or a scholarly project supervisor indicating leadership in the area of Indigenous Health. This letter of support is an important component in the selection process and should include sufficient information on your candidate’s leadership skills to support the nomination.
INDSPIRE (Indigenous education, Canada’s Future) is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, INDSPIRE disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. INDISPIRE’s Building Brighter Futures Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program helps alleviate some of the financial stress students may experience. Through this program, INDISPIRE has provided almost $79 million through close to 25,000 financial awards to Canadian Indigenous students. Indigenous students enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution are eligible to apply.
NSHA (Central Zone) Diversity Bursary Nova Scotia Health Authority (Central Zone: Halifax area and West Hants) is continuing with its Diversity Bursary program as a step to creating a more diverse workforce that better represents the communities they serve. Post-secondary students who identify as African Nova Scotian, Aboriginal, immigrant and/or as persons with a disability are invited to apply for a diversity bursary. Students must be:
- continuing full- or part-time studies in a health profession
- attending a Canadian post-secondary institution that is recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
- a resident of Halifax Regional Municipality or West Hants
Applications are evaluated on a number of factors including: community involvement, financial need, educational goals and field of study in health care.
Indigenous Medical Student Scholarship is worth $10,000. The scholarship recognizes only one (1) top Canadian First Nations, Métis, or Inuit medical student who has shown an interest in or commitment to a career in family medicine. Indigenous medical students in the second last year of study are eligible to apply.
Johnson Scholarship Foundation Entrance Requirements Support Bursary is an initiative for Indigenous and African Nova Scotians applying to programs that require entrance exams, i.e. medical and dental schools. This funding reduces or eliminates the financial burden associated with application costs. The Bursaries will be awarded as a reimbursement of cost. You may apply for funding more than once; the bursary is subject to availability and application review.
Johnson Scholarship Foundation Conference Bursary is designed to help Indigenous and African Nova Scotians enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine to attend extracurricular programming, i.e. conferences, as part of their professional development. The funds can help you cover registration fees and/or travel expenses. The bursary does not cover courses.
Entrance Awards applications must be submitted for your first year of study before March 15 of the year of entrance. If you have been accepted to Dalhousie, you must pay your deposit, and sign up for your Dalhousie email to access the Entrance Awards application. If you are still waiting to hear about your status, you will need to submit a paper copy of the application, which can be found here (https://www.dal.ca/admissions/money_matters/awards-financial-aid.html), before March 15.
Dalhousie’s MD program gives you clinical learning opportunities starting in your first week of medical school.
Let’s go over all the application components you must submit and admissions requirements you must meet to be a competitive candidate for Dalhousie’s medical school.
Section 1: Online Application Form, Transcripts, and Language Proficiency Test
Dalhousie's medical school requires its applicants to complete Section 1 of the online application form, which must be submitted by July 31st of the year of application. There is a $70 fee. After you complete the form, you must send transcripts and language proficiency test scores as supporting documents.
One official copy of a transcript must be sent to Dalhousie from each school you listed on your application. If you participated in an exchange program during your degree, numerical or alphabetical grades for exchange courses are required for GPA assessment. Pass/Fail grades will not be accepted for GPA assessment or course load requirement. If the numerical or alphabetical course grades from the exchange are not reflected on your home university transcript, then you are required to obtain a (WES) assessment for the exchange courses. This transcript assessment must be submitted as part of your application. If your degree is granted from an accredited university outside of Canada, official transcripts AND a World Evaluation Services assessment is required to be submitted by July 31st.
If English is not your first language, you will need to submit your language proficiency test scores. Unofficial copies of current test score reports (IELTS, TOEFL) will be accepted by email only on a temporary basis.
Section 1 must be submitted for you to receive Section 2 of the application. It will be sent to you within 7 to 10 days after the submission of the first section. Important to remember, the earlier you submit Section 1 the more time you will have to complete Section 2, which contains an essay component and supplemental forms.
Section 2: Supplemental Form, Personal Essay, and Essay for Non-Maritime Applicants
Once you submit Section 1, you will receive Section 2 Essay and Supplemental Form by email. This application component will include mandatory residency verification form, mandatory online transcript entry, mandatory personal statement, and supplementary information form and optional personal context questionnaire. In your supplemental information form, you will need to provide the history of your experiences that make you suitable for the study of medicine. Only include activities completed during your undergraduate and graduate studies, or within the last 5 years. If you started an activity 5 years ago and it’s ongoing, you may include it. Each section has a maximum of 7 entries, so be selective about the experiences you list. Try to select activities that would indicate your suitability for the medical profession, such as, but not limited to, intellectual curiosity, social values, personal maturity, communication skills, reliability, teamwork, empathy, leadership, etc. To get more ideas about what kind of qualities medical schools are looking for in their applicants, check out the . Though you do not need to meet these expectations as a medical student, you can use this as a guideline to reflect on what kind of experiences you might want to highlight in Section 2. The following are the sections of the application form:
Extracurricular activities/Personal interests. Here you will list starting with most recent. You will provide a brief description of the activity and why it is important to you. You must provide a verifier and their contact information. Make sure to note if the activity is medically related. You will also specify for how long you were/are involved in the activity, how many hours per week, and whether it's an individual, team, or club activity. If it is a sport, you will indicate at which level you performed: recreational, varsity, intramural, provincial, national, international. Up to 7 entries are permitted.
Volunteering. Start with your most recent volunteer activity and indicate whether it’s medically related. Make sure you disclose if the activity was part of your educational degree requirements. Provide a brief description of your responsibilities. List hours per week and the duration of your involvement. Provide names and contact information of your verifiers. Up to 7 entries are permitted.
Employment/Work training experience. Once again, start with your most recent employment and indicate if it is medically related. Provide a brief description of your responsibilities, hours per week, and the total duration of your involvement. This section may also include experiences gained as part of your education program, i.e. practicums, internships, clinical, etc. Provide the location where the employment took place. Don't forget to provide references and their contact info. Up to 7 entries are allowed.
Awards/Research/Achievements. This entry may include, but not be limited to: Dean’s list, scholarships, publications, oral/poster presentations at regional, national or international events, research awards, community service, personal accomplishments, etc. Indicate when they were received, their qualification, and competition, if any involved. Don’t include your name in any entry of this section, including authorship of publications. You may simply indicate your level of authorship (author 2 or author 3) in the blank space provided. For items that may be awarded multiple times, provide a single entry, and include multiple dates, i.e. do not enter Dean’s list as multiple entries. Provide names and contact info of your references. Up to 7 entries are allowed.
Be aware, if you include 2 or fewer entries in a section, you will be prompted to explain in 250 words or less why you had limited ability or opportunities to participate in activities applicable to these categories. As you can see, you must provide verifiers for all the sections and activities you list. Make sure you submit your contacts’ most recent information. Remember, if your activity does not have a verifier it might be questioned or dismissed by the admissions committee.
Your personal essay must outline how your experiences have informed your decision to pursue medicine. You will have to answer the very important question of . All submissions will be anonymized for review, so do not include any identifiers such as your name, MCAT score, or GPA. You will have a 1500-word limit for your essay, and you will not be able to submit the essay if it exceeds the limit. Make sure you read some before you sit down to write your own.
Your essay is one of the most important components of your application. It allows adcoms to see you as more than just a collection of scores, grades, and lists of activities. Your application comes alive in your personal statement. Therefore, writing a stellar essay is key. Much like an academic essay, your personal statement will be composed of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Your introduction usually makes or breaks your essay. The first paragraph of your statement must have a gripping first sentence that captures the reader's attention. The rest of your short introductory paragraph must help the readers anticipate what’s coming. Your introductory paragraph, and all subsequent paragraphs, should include good transition sentences that allow the reader to understand that the paragraph is over and hint at what will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs. Tip: if you’re having trouble with your introduction, try writing it once you complete the body and conclusion.
The body of your personal essay should be structured around 1 to 3 experiences that demonstrate how you came to the decision to become a physician. Be selective in the type of experiences you choose to include. Remember, you only have 1,500 words to impress the reader with your story, so focus on the quality of your experiences. They must demonstrate your motivation and dedication to the medical profession. Use concrete examples to showcase the most relevant qualities and meaningful experiences. Make sure the personal statement is consistent with the rest of your application components. For example, avoid writing that you want to work with children if you cannot support this with activities or extracurriculars you listed in the supplementary application form. Your desire may be genuine, but you must show, rather than simply tell, that you understand what is involved in working with children. Use concrete examples in your essay to show the reader that you understand what it takes to be a physician and that you took all the necessary steps to prepare for the study of medicine.
Your conclusion should not be a dry summary of the essay. You can reiterate the most important points of the essay, but the conclusion should also include something new and insightful to leave a lasting impression. Try reflecting on the role and responsibilities of physicians in today’s world or include a short, but in-depth reflection on your own journey to become a doctor.
Additional Essay for Out-of-Province Applicants
Non-Maritime applicants must submit an additional short essay. In 250 words or less, you must describe your knowledge of, any connections to and past experiences with the Maritime provinces and how these have contributed to your selection of Dalhousie University as your preferred school. This is a mandatory application component for applicants from non-maritime provinces and must be submitted along with your personal essay. Although much shorter than the personal essay, try to keep the same structure. Your essay should be a formal but genuine response to the prompt.
Just like all the other Canadian provinces, promote the interests of its own residents and the residents of other Maritime provinces. However, if you have a genuine desire to move to the East coast from other parts of Canada, you must prove your sincere interest in this essay. The Eastern provinces are a unique microcosm within Canada with their own traditions, culture, and needs. Dalhousie University is interested in what you know about the Maritimes and what kind of exposure you have had to see how you would fit into their unique world. Ultimately, you should not simply write that you are applying to Dalhousie because you just want to get into any medical school. Show that you have prior knowledge of their life, history, culture, and even nature. Include any prior exposure you have had to Maritime provinces and their lifestyle. If you have little to no knowledge of the East coast, reflect on why it would be wonderful to live on the East coast, why Halifax is a great Canadian city, and why you would be a great fit there.
Do you want some tips on how to get into medical school in Canada? Check out our video:
Course Load Requirements
While Dalhousie does not have a list of strict , it has strict course load requirements. To demonstrate your ability to take on the rigorous MD program demands, your academic record must demonstrate consistency and full-time involvement. To be eligible to apply to Dalhousie’s medical school, you must take a full course load of five full classes (30 credit hours) in each of the two most senior years of the undergraduate degree submitted for assessment. Only fall and winter semesters will be used for assessment. Summer courses do not count towards GPA or course load requirements. Failed or repeated courses, courses passed with low grades or supplementary examinations, particularly in the last two years of an undergraduate degree, will make your prospect of admission unlikely. Dalhousie expects applicants to have a full 60 credit hour course load in the last two years of the undergraduate degree. However, if you do not meet this requirement and can provide evidence of exceptional circumstances that prevented you from obtaining a full course load, you can reach out to the Admissions Office.
Residents of the Maritime provinces must meet a minimum GPA requirement of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale to stay in the applicant pool. Residents of all other Canadian provinces and territories must meet the minimum GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. The minimum GPA requirement must be met in each year of your undergraduate degree, especially in the last two years. In determining your GPA, the is used. Your overall GPA will be rounded to the nearest tenth. If your degree includes exchange courses from another university, numerical course grades must be provided to be considered in GPA assessment.
If you’re worried about meeting Dalhousie’s GPA requirements, check out . However, there are some strategies you can implement to increase your GPA. You can organize your coursework by taking classes in disciplines you know you’re going to ace. Remember, Dalhousie wants to see a full course load from their applicants, so try to choose courses that you know you do well in. If you’re struggling with your course work, reach out to your instructors and teaching assistants. Visit their office hours and ask for help with concepts and assignments you find challenging. You can also plan study sessions with your peers and classmates. Having a schedule will motivate you to complete your readings and assignments on time. If you’re still struggling to improve your GPA, consider hiring a tutor.
Maritime and out-of-province applicants have different MCAT score thresholds. Dalhousie medical school determines your MCAT score cut-off in relation to your GPA. That is, if your GPA is 3.3 (the lowest possible GPA required of Maritime applicants), your total MCAT score must be no lower than 499 to be considered. For out-of-province applicants with the lowest possible GPA minimum of 3.7, the MCAT score must be no lower than 503. However, the minimum MCAT category score required is 123. If you have a score less than 123 in any of the MCAT categories, you will not be considered for admissions, regardless of your total MCAT score. Dalhousie accepts MCAT scores no older than 5 years at the time of application. You are personally responsible to release your MCAT scores to Dalhousie Medicine. The school cannot access your MCAT if you do not notify AAMC to release the scores to the program.
If you are just planning to take the exam, make sure you know . Preparing for the MCAT is a strenuous and time-consuming process, do not take it lightly and leave it to the last minute. To get a , you will need to know everything there is to know about this exam: its components, study strategies, what to expect on the test day, and so on. Prepare a thorough and adjust it accordingly as you study. If you have already taken the MCAT but you are unsatisfied with your score, you should consider retaking the test to improve your result. In Section 1 of your application, you will indicate which set of the MCAT scores you want used for assessment; scores must be from the same test date. This means that Dalhousie will only consider the test scores you want them to. Before taking the test again, study and prepare rigorously. Take the to make sure you consistently score well (at least 90%). There is no point in sitting the test again if you see no improvement when you take the practice exam. If you are still not sure , check out our blog. If you’re getting ready to take the test, make sure you know the .
Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine considers your CASPer results for interview selection purposes only. Applicants who do not complete CASPer or who do not meet the minimum CASPer score of greater than 1.5 standard deviations below the applicant category mean will not be considered. Visit the administrator's website to sign up and reserve a test using your Dalhousie Banner ID and a piece of government-issued photo ID. Your Banner ID is assigned once you have completed and submitted Section 1 of the online application.
The CASPer test is an online situational judgment test and is meant to evaluate applicants’ non-cognitive skills. While your GPA and MCAT demonstrate your academic record and necessary knowledge, the CASPer test is meant to showcase your levels of reasoning and judgment, as well as your interpersonal skills. During CASPer, you are shown 12 scenarios dealing with real-life situations, and subsequently, you are asked 3 follow-up questions based on the scenario you observed. You are given 5 minutes to answer the three questions. You are scored on a scale of 1 to 9. The CASPer questions and scenarios are meant to assess your ability to identify pressing issues and resolve them maturely and professionally. CASPer scenarios aim to assess your ability to be objective, non-assumptive, professional, tactful, analytical, empathetic, compassionate, and most importantly, non-judgmental. You must demonstrate that you can consider a problem from multiple perspectives and come to a non-biased resolution. Ultimately, the CASPer test assesses your moral and ethical values, communication skills, and ability to stay professional under any circumstances.
It is difficult to prepare for this kind of testing, but there are things you can do to feel more ready. In answering CASPer questions, you must be prepared to identify the most pressing issue and the most vulnerable party. Think of them when you plan out your answer. Consider all possible sides of the conflict/scenario and always remain non-judgmental. To get an idea of what to expect from this test, check out our . If you’re still wondering how to ensure you score high in your CASPer test, to get some help.
How is your candidacy scored by Dalhousie medical school admissions committee?
All eligible Maritime applicants who have met GPA, MCAT, CASPer requirements, and submitted online application and processing fees are invited for an interview. Approximately 60-100 eligible out-of-province applicants will be invited for an interview. Their eligibility will be determined by GPA, MCAT, CASPer, and supplemental information regarding applicant's compelling reasons for choosing Dalhousie Medicine. Interview invitations are distributed via email, usually in October. Invitations include instructions on how to select your preferred interview location and time. There are sufficient interview slots for each invitation distributed. Applicant interview self-scheduling is completed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you should complete the interview self-scheduling process as early as possible to get the date you want.
Interviews take place during one weekend in November each year. Your interview will take place on either a Saturday or a Sunday on the school's campus. The scheduled interview will run for approximately two hours during the morning or the afternoon. Dalhousie uses the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format to assess its applicants. The MMI is a situational judgment test comprised of 8-12 stations including 1 or 2 rest stations. You are assessed by a single interviewer in each station. It allows different interviewers to assess your reaction to different types of questions and scenarios that reflect real-life situations. Each station takes about 8 minutes to complete in total. If you want to learn more about MMI, check out and practice with some . You can also go over some common , as they can be incorporated into the MMI format.
Offers of admission are distributed in March each year. Applicants who are offered a place in the newly formed cohort may request deferral of admission for one year only. The Admissions Committee considers deferral requests on a case-by-case basis. Deferral requests are not routinely granted and have generally been provided only in rare and exceptional circumstances.
Admissions email: [email protected]
Check out our video for a full recap!
1. When do I know if I’ve been accepted?
Decision letters are distributed via email usually in March each year.
2. How is my application scored?
Your supplementary application and essay, as well as your interview performance, have the strongest influence on your chances of acceptance. Here's the general breakdown of how many points each application component is worth in admissions assessment:
- GPA: 15 points
- MCAT: 10 points
- Supplemental and Essay: 30 points
- Interview: 40 points
- Discretionary: 5 points
3. What about medical school recommendation letters? You haven’t mentioned anything?
Dalhousie Medical School does not require reference letters from its applicants. You must provide verifiers for each of the activities you put in your supplementary application form, but they will be contacted by the school directly if necessary. Make sure you ask your verifiers for permission to put their names and contact info in the application. It would also be wise to ensure that these people are willing to give you full support if contacted by the school.
4. What should I tell my verifiers to say about me if they’re contacted?
When you ask a person to be a verifier, you should tell them about your interest in and dedication to medicine. Perhaps you can provide them with a copy of your personal essay, a copy of your CV, and other relevant documents like transcripts, MCAT scores, etc. Make sure the person you ask knows you well and is ready to give a glowing reference if needed.
5. What kind of classes will be considered in the GPA calculation?
Typically, the last two years of your undergrad are most important in GPA calculation. You must have a full course load (30 credits) each year of the undergrad with an average of 3.3 (if Maritime applicant) and 3.7 (out-of-province) each year. Only fall and winter semester courses are considered for GPA calculation.
6. Do I need an undergraduate degree to be eligible to apply?
Yes, a four-year bachelor’s degree is required of applicants. Occasionally Dalhousie may admit students with three-year degrees, but a four-year program is preferred. The degree can be in any discipline.
7. What is the minimum GPA requirement?
Residents of the Maritime provinces must meet a minimum GPA requirement of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale to stay in the applicant pool. Residents of all other Canadian provinces and territories must meet the minimum GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. The average GPA of last year’s matriculants was 3.9.
8. What is the minimum MCAT requirement?
Dalhousie medical school determines your MCAT score cut-off in relation to your GPA. That is, if your GPA is 3.3 (the lowest possible GPA required of Maritime applicants), your total MCAT score must be no lower than 499 to be considered. For out-of-province applicants with the lowest possible GPA minimum of 3.7, the MCAT score must be no lower than 503. To learn more about this correlation, please visit the Dalhousie admissions website. Remember, the minimum MCAT category score required is 123. If you have a score less than 123 in any of the MCAT categories you will not be considered for admissions, regardless of your total MCAT score.
9. Does Dalhousie accept international students?
The MD program does not accept international and American applicants. However, there are Government Sponsored supernumerary positions that are available at Dalhousie. This means that a small number of students (no more than 7) from abroad are sponsored to attend medical school in Halifax. This program is usually arranged between the Canadian government and its diplomatic allies.
10. Is the full course load requirement really that strict?
Yes, you must follow what Dalhousie has indicated in terms of adhering to their full course load requirements. As mentioned, medical schools need to see you can handle the rigors of medical training and use a full course load as one to gauge that. If you do have exceptional circumstances, such as personal or family illness, financial needs, or other reasons that prevented you from studying with a full course load, do reach out to the school’s admission office.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo