Medical schools in Nova Scotia are few, but they are widely recognized for superior medical training. Dalhousie University offers the only MD program in the province at the Dalhousie Medical School, which is among the top of the list of medical schools in Canada for educational excellence and selectivity in its admissions. Dalhousie heavily prefers students from Nova Scotia and other Maritime provinces, but it is well-known for producing excellent physicians, particularly in family medicine. If you want to go to medical school in Canada, Dalhousie is an excellent, if challenging, choice. In this blog, we’ll look at the admission requirements at Dalhousie Medical School and what kind of medical specialties you can pursue at medical schools in Nova Scotia.
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Medical Schools in Nova Scotia
There is only one medical school in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia, but it is recognized as not only one of the best medical schools in the country, but top-ranked around the world. Dalhousie Medical School, located in the capital of Halifax, Nova Scotia, also has a campus in St. John, New Brunswick and other teaching sites around the maritime provinces. The medical school is recognized for having the most up-to-date medical curriculum and for producing superb and compassionate medical health professionals. It is a popular choice of medical school for its excellent reputation, location and generally more affordable medical school tuition.
Dalhousie Medical School is an extremely selective program and admits just over 130 students per year. The average acceptance rate for Dal med school is just 7.4%, making it one of the toughest med schools to get into and among the lowest of med school acceptance rates in Canada. Competition to get into this medical school is even more challenging for out-of-province applicants.
Dalhousie medical school prefers applicants from Nova Scotia and other maritime provinces such as New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The admission requirements for these applicants are also more favorable. Dalhousie also uses affirmative action to encourage applicants from under-represented groups to apply, including Canadian First Nations living in the Maritimes and African Nova Scotians. Out-of-province students are able to apply, although they have stricter admission requirements and have fewer seats allocated for them.
Dalhousie medical school has also introduced a cohort initiative to its Medical Sciences BSc program to encourage African Nova Scotian students and Indigenous students from the Maritimes to enroll in the program. The initiative aims to increase the representation of minority students in medical sciences in the Maritimes and increase the representation of these students in other medical fields such as pharmacy and dentistry. Indigenous students can also apply to Dalhousie through the Indigenous Admissions Pathway, which takes a holistic approach to application review and helps facilitate the admissions process for eligible students.
Dalhousie is not among the medical schools which accept international students to its 4-year MD program, although international medica students or international medical graduates (IMGs) may study at Dalhousie under special programs. If you’re interested in how to study in Canada as an international student and want to pursue a medical degree, there are additional requirements you will need to meet before you apply.
International Medical Graduates in Nova Scotia
The Dalhousie medical school offers three options for international applicants to pursue medical training in Nova Scotia. These are the International Medical University student program, the International Medical Graduate Clerkship Program and international visiting student electives.
The first opportunity for international med students to study at Dalhousie comes from the university’s partnership with the International Medical University (IMU) in Malaysia. Each year, 10 students from the IMU are eligible to take their third and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie. Graduates from this program receive a Canadian Medical Doctorate degree from Dalhousie. The program, started in 1996, is designed to help improve access to health care in Malaysia and surrounding regions by providing students with placements in urban and rural areas in Nova Scotia during their clerkship years.
International medical graduates pursuing residency programs can apply to complete their third and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie. Once the clerkship is completed, students are eligible for the CaRMS match. If you’re wondering how to get into residency programs as an IMG in Canada, the IMG clerkship with Dalhousie is a great way to do so, but admission is incredibly selective, with only 2 graduate students accepted per year. Any applicant to this program must also first live in Nova Scotia for one year before applying. You will also need to complete the MCCEE and MCCQE Part I to be eligible. You can take an MCCQE prep course for international students to help you prepare for this qualifying exam.
International medical students can also apply to take IMG electives and gain clinical experience at Dalhousie’s medical school. This can be a valuable opportunity, and the application process is much shorter than the IMG clerkship program. This program is for visiting international students only but having this experience may help you later get accepted to an IMG friendly residency program.
Watch this video to learn about the best medical schools in Canada for international students.
Medical School in Nova Scotia Admissions Requirements
Students who apply to Dalhousie’s undergraduate medical program are required to meet both academic and non-academic admission requirements to be considered. Admissions to Dalhousie is extremely rigorous, and the admissions process is reviewed every year, so be sure to check the school’s website to be sure information has not changed.
Applicants will need to submit their GPA and transcripts, MCAT scores, CASPer scores and medical school personal statement, supplemental essays and pass the multiple mini interview (MMI). You’ll also need to share your residency status and residency history in the online application. It’s best to start early and give yourself as much time as possible for your medical school application timeline.
Dalhousie has strict requirements and is fiercely competitive, so it’s in your best interest to prepare early and well for each aspect of the admissions process. If Dalhousie is your top choice, consider hiring a medical school consultant in Canada to help you prep your application.
Applying to Dalhousie med school? Here's a summary of admission statistics and requirements
Academic achievements are highly prioritized for Nova Scotia med admissions, with fairly high GPA and MCAT requirements. Dalhousie University is also one of Canada’s leading research institutions, so any research experience will be an asset on your application under the supplemental activities section. Premed students should consider premed research opportunities, especially if they plan to apply for Dalhousie’s graduate program in medical sciences, which is one of the best worldwide.
We’ll look at each aspect of the Dalhousie med school admission requirements in detail below.
Medical School Specialty Training in Nova Scotia
There is a strong need for rural family medicine practitioners in Nova Scotia and the other Maritime provinces. Dalhousie medical school has taken concerted efforts to encourage graduates of its medical programs to pursue opportunities in rural and under-served communities in the province and has partnered with other post-secondary institutions in the Maritimes to launch rural doctor training programs. For future physicians hoping to specialize in family medicine, Dalhousie med is an excellent choice.
Dalhousie is also one of the medical schools with the best match rates at around 90%. For students wanting to pursue a family medicine residency this may be a good choice. Dalhousie offers medical research opportunities for its graduate students, and other medical specialty and subspecialty training at its various affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions.
Dalhousie medical school is perhaps best known for its contributions to and furthering of medical knowledge. It has top-tier programs in the medical sciences, and as a top research university has contributed to the fields of cancer research, drug development and neuroscience. The school has many excellent graduate programs in medical science disciplines for students who want to pursue careers as medical researchers.
Dalhousie University is also home to a nursing school, school of pharmacy and dental school, for applicants who are interested in other medical disciplines.
Learn how to get into med school in Canada by watching this video!
While there is only one 4-year medical school in Nova Scotia, Dalhousie medical school is recognized as one of the best for the quality of medical education, the quality of doctors the school produces and the advancements and contributions it has made to medicine and health care. Getting into Dalhousie med school is by far one of the most challenging feats, particularly for out-of-province students, but it does offer unique opportunities for students and is fiercely dedicated to diversity and inclusion in its admissions and medical training.
1. How many medical schools are there in Nova Scotia?
There is only one medical school in Nova Scotia: the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine.
2. How long does it take to become a doctor in Nova Scotia?
It takes at minimum four years to complete the MD degree in Nova Scotia. The first two years are completed in the classroom, followed by 2 to 7 years of residency training or further specialist training.
3. Is Dalhousie a good medical school?
Dalhousie Medical School is considered a top-ranking medical school in Canada and around the world, recognized for educating excellent physicians and health care providers and having the most up-to-date medical curriculum in the country.
4. How do I get into Dalhousie medical school?
To get into Dalhousie Medical School can be a challenge for applicants who are not from the maritime provinces. The school is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of just 7.4%. To apply, you should prepare the strongest application possible and meet all the strict admission requirements.
5. What is the #1 medical school in Canada?
The University of Toronto med school is generally considered the best medical school in Canada and one of the top medical schools in the world.
6. Is Dalhousie a good medical school for international students?
Dalhousie medical school does not accept international students to its four-year MD program, but there are other ways international medical graduates can study at Dalhousie through clinical electives or a third or fourth-year clerkship program.
7. What kind of doctor can you become at medical school in Nova Scotia?
Nova Scotia focuses primarily on family medicine and rural health care, though there are a few other specialties you can pursue. There is a high demand for rural family medicine health care providers in the province.
8. What GPA and MCAT score do I need to get into Dalhousie med school?
The minimum required GPA score is 3.3 for Nova Scotian and other Maritime applicants and 3.7 for out-of-province applicants, but the required MCAT score is dependent on your overall GPA score. Any MCAT category score below 123 will also disqualify an applicant from consideration, regardless of the total score. Out-of-province applicants should submit an MCAT score of at least 500 and above to be considered eligible.
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