Northern Ontario School of Medicine: Requirements, Statistics & How to Get in 2020

Updated: October 21, 2020

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is one of the six medical schools in Ontario. This MD program promotes the medical and educational interest of urban, rural, and remote Northern Ontario communities by welcoming anglophone and francophone applicants from all over Canada. In this blog, you will learn about NOSM admissions statistics, eligibility, tuition costs, selection factors, and tips on how to get accepted!

Here's What I'll Cover:

Mission Statement

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Tuition Costs and Funding Opportunities

Academic Curriculum

Application Timeline

Selection Factors

Interview Format

Selection Process

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

Contact information

FAQs

Mission Statement

“The Northern Ontario School of Medicine's (NOSM) mission is to contribute to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario by advancing the highest quality of medical practice, learning, teaching, research, and professionalism.”

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Acceptance rate (overall): 3.2%

92% of matriculants are from Northern Ontario

GPA Average: 3.86

MCAT and CASPer are not required

Location: Thunder Bay and Sudbury, ON

Eligibility

To apply to NOSM, you must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Although in-province applicants are not given a preference in the admissions process, your geographical and cultural background is taken into consideration. NOSM does not have any residency requirements for applicants, but there is an algorithm that they employ to calculate context scores. This algorithm is not made public. NOSM aims to admit students whose profile reflects the demographics of the population of Northern Ontario, which includes Indigenous/Francophone and Franco-Ontarian students. One of the ways NOSM achieves this is by assigning a context score to each applicant. Context is a score based on each of the following geographic or cultural criteria:

  • Rural background based on years lived in a rural community anywhere in Canada that is defined using the Statistics Canada classification of communities.
  • Northern background based on years lived in Northern Ontario or another Canadian northern region
  • Self-identified Francophone applicants
  • Indigenous applicants who apply through the NOSM Indigenous Application Stream.

Do you want us to help you get into medical school?

Tuition Costs and Funding Opportunities

Your NOSM medical school tuition will depend on which university you attend for the MD program: Lakehead or Laurentian University. Annual tuition for the MD program at Lakehead University is CAD$24,173.90, while first-year tuition at Laurentian is CAD$24,380.34 for English speakers and CAD$24,127.40 for francophone students. These costs also include student and incidental fees.

Funding Opportunities

NOSM has developed a series of mechanisms that will help you decrease costs associated with medical school attendance.

1. In first and second year, accommodations and travel reimbursements are provided for modules that are completed outside of your home campus.

2. The third year at NOSM consists of comprehensive community clerkships (CCC) in a community outside Sudbury and Thunder Bay. You can claim reimbursements of up to $9,000 (subject to change) through NOSM.

3. Fourth year at NOSM consists of clerkships, which include rotations at hospitals in Sudbury or Thunder Bay and electives. You may be eligible to participate in the Clerkship Stipend Program through NOSM on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care which provides $9,000 stipend for their final year of medical school.

Make sure to check out NOSM Financial Aid website to get more information about provincial, territorial, and external funding opportunities.

Academic Curriculum

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine MD curriculum consists of three phases.

Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2)

Phase 1 takes place over the first two years of the MD program and is organized around 11 case-based modules, each covering a major body system. The program aims to prepare the students for life and practice in any Northern location, so the written cases in each module are situated in remote, rural, urban, or Indigenous settings. During Phase 1, you will be mostly located in your assigned host university, Lakehead or Laurentian, with a four-week Indigenous community placement in the first year and two four-week rural and remote community placements in the second year. Year 2 includes a six-week elective block.

Phase 2 (Year 3)

This phase is dedicated to an eight-month longitudinal Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) during which you are assigned to live and learn in large rural or small urban communities in Northern Ontario, excluding Sudbury and Thunder Bay. You will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clinical learning activities within the community as well as engaging in peer group learning sessions including Virtual Academic Rounds (VARs) and Distributed Topic Sessions (DTS). You will undertake reflective research projects based in the needs and dynamics of your host communities. Electives are included in this Phase.

Phase 3 (Year 4)

This Phase takes place in the academic health science centers in either Thunder Bay or Sudbury and is organized around a series of specialty clerkship rotations: surgery, internal medicine, children’s health, women’s health, mental health, and emergency medicine. You will be exposed to various specialties and subspecialties with opportunities to experience medicine in different settings through elective experiences.

Application Process and Timeline

You will use the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) to apply to NOSM. I am providing you with a general timeline, but please make sure you check OMSAS official website for most up-to-date information.

September 15: Deadline to create an OMSAS account. Your requests for references should be made by this date.

October 1st: Deadline to submit online application via OMSAS is October 1st by 4:30pm ET. This is also the deadline for OMSAS to have received initial transcripts and academic documents, the deadline for OMSAS to have received 3 Confidential Assessment Forms (CAFs) from each of the 3 referees, and the deadline for OMSAS to have received payment (credit only). Once your application is submitted, access Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) to uploaded supplementary documentation (forwarded by OMSAS upon submission of application).

November: Students should verify their application information by accessing the online verification report generated by OMSAS after they have compiled various data. Missing information will be highlighted here.

Late December/Early January: Interview invitations are sent to selected candidates.

February to April: Interviews are held.

May: First round of admissions offers are sent out. Applicants accept/reject offers via SAM.

May through August: Waitlisted candidates are contacted on a rolling basis based on the number of spots NOSM needs to fill after initial offers are accepted/rejected.

June 30th: Deadline for OMSAS to have received final transcripts.

Learn how to make your OMSAS application stand out:

Selection Factors

Let's go over some important admissions requirements that you need to fulfill to become a competitive candidate for the Norther Ontario School of Medicine.

Recommended Coursework

Like many medical schools in Canada, NOSM does not identify any specific medical school prerequisites that students must complete to be eligible candidates for the MD program. If you're a science major, you are strongly encouraged to take at least two full-course equivalents in art, social sciences, and humanities, while students pursuing majors in art, social sciences, and humanities should complete at least two full-course equivalents in science. The minimum medical school requirement is a 4-year undergraduate university degree, or equivalent, from a recognized institution in any discipline. NOSM does not give preference to any particular discipline over another. You may apply in the final year of your 4-year degree program; however, you are required to complete the program and provide proof of receiving your degree by June 30 of the year for which you seek admission. If you are 25 years or older by the application deadline, you are eligible for admission consideration based on completing a 3-year undergraduate university degree in any discipline. If your 3- or 4-year degree is completed through a transfer of credits from a college, you must have completed a minimum of 10 full course credits, 20 half course credits, or a combination of, at the university degree level at the time you apply. Your degree can be completed by pursuing studies on a full-time basis, part-time basis, or with a combination of full-time and part-time studies.

GPA

NOSM has a minimum medical school GPA requirement; you must achieve a minimum of 3.0 on the 4.0 scale. Your letter or numerical grades will be converted to a 4.0 scale according to the OMSAS Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table. The GPA is calculated on all converted undergraduate course grades completed at a recognized institution by the application deadline. Grades for supplementary, spring, summer, and part-time study and distance education courses will be included in the GPA calculation. Courses reflected on the transcript as “Pass” with no grade indicated will not be considered in the GPA calculation. If you repeat a course, and both course grades appear on your transcript, both the past grade and the repeated grade will be included in the GPA calculation. For applicants attending a program where “Pass” or “Credit” is given in some courses instead of a letter or numerical grade, independent grades from a minimum of ten (10) full-course, twenty (20) half-course credits, or a combination of course credits are required.

Applicants are required to verify their average in the “Document Tracking” section of the OMSAS application. NOSM may also review this average. While 3.0 is the threshold for admission consideration, you should be aware that due to the fierce competition for admission, a higher GPA would provide you with a higher chance of admission; as I mentioned above, last year’s matriculants had a 3.86 GPA. If you're worried about your GPA, check out our blog to get some tips on how to get into medical school with a low GPA.

International (non-Canadian and non-US) transcripts, including graduate work, must be assessed for Canadian equivalency by World Education Services (WES). If you have completed foreign coursework of two semesters or less, a WES evaluation is not required. NOSM will not include grades that you obtained during the two semesters or less in the GPA calculation. In this case, however, the international university must send the transcript directly to OMSAS by the deadline.

MCAT and CASPer

The MCAT and CASPer tests are not required for admission.

Autobiographical Sketch

NOSM seeks applicants who have a genuine interest in helping to fulfill the mandate and uphold NOSM's values, so it might be a good idea to review the program's description and their mission statement before you compose your autobiographical sketch (ABS). The criteria that NOSM stresses include, but are not limited to the following:

  • demonstrated interest in living and working in Northern Ontario and/or rural/remote areas in the rest of Canada
  • demonstrated interest in working with under-serviced populations (no matter where they are)
  • ability to identify community needs and willingness to play a part in fulfilling these needs
  • demonstrated interest in cross-cultural experiences
  • employment, volunteer, and extracurricular experiences (these are all equally valued)

Additionally, you will need to select three of the entries you listed in your autobiographical sketch and explain how they have specifically prepared you for being a medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Remember, NOSM has particular missions and values dedicated to serving the medical and educational needs of rural, northern, and remote communities, so choose your three activities accordingly.

Supplementary Questions

In addition to the ABS, you will be required to answer the following four supplementary questions:

  • Please describe how you have developed resilience and coping mechanisms. How will you utilize these skills to support yourself during your medical training in making informed and rational decisions when faced with difficult circumstances?
  • Please describe any experience you have had interacting with individuals from backgrounds different from yours. How would this experience translate to working within a health care environment and/or with patients?
  • What types of feedback do you prefer to enhance your learning in and outside of academic environments? Why?
  • NOSM’s Social Accountability mandate is to improve the health of the people and the communities of Northern Ontario. Describe how you plan to embody this mandate as a medical student and future physician, and how this has factored into your decision to apply to NOSM.

Reference Letters

You cannot submit traditional medical school recommendation letters through OMSAS. NOSM requires three referees to complete a Confidential Assessment Form (CAF) for your OMSAS application. You should select referees who know you very well and are in a position to demonstrate clear awareness concerning your character, personal qualities, academic capabilities, and special circumstances if applicable. It is difficult to have referees that can evaluate all of the characteristics requested, however, when you choose your three referees, ensure that all the subject areas are covered. At least one of your referees should be a non-academic/character referee. It is recommended that one CAF comes from a member of the community or from a community organization for which you worked or volunteered, and that at least one reference must come from an academic recommender. NOSM accepts CAFs written in English and French.

Interview Format

NOSM typically conducts admissions interviews in March and April of the year of entrance. The interviews are conducted online. If you’re invited for an interview, you will receive an email with the interview description and details. To get ready for your video interview, make sure to read our blog. Additionally, don’t forget to go over common medical school interview questions, including “why do you want to be a doctor?” and “tell me about yourself.” Additionally, you should review our blog on how to prep for your med school interview to get some pointers on how to get ready. 

Selection Process

NOSM selects students for interviews based on the following criteria:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Autobiographical Sketch and Supplementary Questions
  • Context Score

Each criterion has a scoring weight of 1/3. The combination of the scores from these three criteria will determine if you are offered an interview. The final selection of applicants for admission is based on a combination of the pre-interview (50%) and the interview (50%) scores and a complete file review by the admissions committee. Your referees' CAFs are reviewed at this point in the selection process.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

NOSM sends out offers of admission to the top sixty-six (66) candidates via e-mail on the second Tuesday of May of the potential enrollment year. Acceptance will be conditional upon fulfillment of specific requirements, which will be outlined in your offer. If the offer of admission is accepted, you are required to make a non-refundable $1,000 deposit, which will be applied to your Year 1 tuition. Detailed information will be provided to successful applicants in their offer of admission package.

Some applicants who are sent an offer of admission do not accept their offer. NOSM maintains a short, ranked waitlist for additional offers. If you want to learn how to get off a medical school waitlist, make sure to read our blog.

Contact Information

Admissions Website

Admissions Email: [email protected]

FAQs

1. Do I need to submit my MCAT score to NOSM?

No, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine is one of the medical schools that do not require the MCAT

2. Do I need to submit my CASPer score to NOSM?

No, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine does not consider your CASPer score in the admissions process. If you’d like to see a list of medical schools that require CASPer, check out our blog.

3. What is the average GPA of students who get admitted to NOSM?

To be considered for admission, you must have at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, keep in mind that last year’s matriculants had the average GPA of 3.86.

4. Are there seats reserved for applicants from Northern Ontario?

No, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine does not reserve seats for these students. Students from Northern Ontario with strong interest in and aptitude for practicing medicine in northern urban, rural, and remote communities are encouraged to apply. And while no seats are reserved for them, NOSM tries to maximize their recruitment. Remember, 92% of last year's matriculants were from Northern Ontario.

5. Is there a number of “out-of-province” spots available?

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine does not have any “out-of-province” spots or quotas. All applicants are considered using the same criteria: 1) the GPA, 2) the application questionnaire & autobiographical sketch and 3) context. The context score is based on where you have lived and are living in Canada.

6. If I am not from Northern Ontario, should I still apply?

If you have genuine interest to work and live in rural, remote, or northern communities, NOSM might be the right fit for you. Remember, your application must demonstrate that you have experience in these types of communities, including volunteer and work experiences. The extracurriculars for medical school that you participate in should also demonstrate your devotion to rural, northern, and remote communities.

7. Does NOSM consider online courses in their GPA calculations?

Yes, as long as the course was completed in a recognized university.

8. Does NOSM accept international students?

No, NOSM does not accept international students. For a list of Canadian medical schools that accept US students, please read our blog. 

Do you want us to help you get into medical school?

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting