The Schulich School of Medicine at Western University is divided between two campuses in Southwestern Ontario: one in London and one in Windsor. The MD program admits 171 students from all over Canada each year. In this blog, you will learn Schulich’s admissions statistics and requirements, tuition costs, academic curriculum, and selection factors. Finally, I will share with you some strategies that will help you get in!
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
“The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry provides outstanding education within a research-intensive, distributed learning environment where tomorrow's physicians, dentists, health researchers, and other scholars learn to be socially responsible leaders in the advancement of human health locally, regionally and globally.”
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Acceptance rate (overall): 7%
Southwestern Ontario acceptance rate: 42%
Non-Southwestern Ontario acceptance rate: 56%
Indigenous acceptance rate: 2%
Average MCAT CARS: 129
Average GPA: 3.91
Location: London, ON
Schulich School of Medicine is not one of the Canadian medical schools that accept US students or international applicants. Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada are eligible to apply. The latter must submit a copy of the front and back of their current Permanent Residency card to OMSAS by the application deadline. The applicant pool is divided into the following three sections:
1. General Admission Applicants
The general pool of applicants must meet certain academic minimums. GPA of 3.70 in each of the two best undergraduate years. Each of the two years must also meet appropriate course-level and load requirements, which I will outline below. Applicants must have the MCAT score of 380, with a minimum score of 126 for BBFLS, 127 CPBS, and 127 in CARS.
2. Southwestern Ontario Applicants
If you have completed all four years of high school and graduated within the designated counties of Grey, Bruce, Huron, Perth, Oxford, Elgin, Middlesex, Lambton, Chatham-Kent, and Essex, you will be considered a Southwestern Ontario applicant. You will need to have a GPA of 3.70 in each of the two best undergraduate years and each of the two years must also meet appropriate course-level and load requirements. You will need to have a total MCAT score of 380, with a score of 125 in BBFLS, CPBS, and CARS.
3. ACCESS Pathway Applicants
Applicants who are recognized as having medical, financial, or socio-cultural challenges on their path to applying to medicine will be considered as ACCESS Pathway Applicants, and will be evaluated on the following required criteria:
- Description of the barrier(s) encountered
- Documentation supporting each barrier described, as outlined on the ACCESS Pathway webpage
- Description of how you have adapted to and/or overcome the barrier(s), as well as your potential to succeed in medical school.
Applicants who are successfully granted ACCESS Pathway consideration must also meet academic minimums, including a GPA of 3.7 in each of the two best undergraduate years and each of the two years must also meet appropriate course-level and load requirements. They must also score 380 on the MCAT, with a score of 125 in BBFLS, CPBS, and CARS.
Each year the Schulich School of Medicine admits 171 students into its MD program. The cohort is divided between two campuses: 133 are in London and 38 are in Windsor. Both campuses have the same curriculum. If you’re invited to the interview, you will have the chance to indicate which campus you prefer. However, while your preference will be taken into consideration, the school cannot guarantee you a spot in your chosen campus.
If you are interested in applying to MD-PhD programs, your application must demonstrate your interest in and dedication to research. To be an eligible candidate for Schulich’s MD-PhD program, you must satisfy the admission requirements for both the MD and the graduate program in the field of your choice. You will have the chance to undertake preliminary research projects with prospective supervisors, while the MD-PhD committee will help you make the final decision regarding your supervisor. The application deadline for the MD-PhD program is December 1.
Master of Public Health (MPH)
This is a twelve-month, case-based learning degree. You will learn from faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, participate in seminars and workshops, experience a 12-week practicum in Canada and around the world, and develop the skills you need to become a public health leader. If you are currently working in a public health environment, you have the opportunity to complete your degree in just eight months.
Bachelor of Medical Sciences/Honors Business Administration (BMSc/HBA)
This combined program allows you to get two honors degrees, BMSc and HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. It will take five years to complete. You can choose between two Honors Specializations: BMSc (Biochemistry)/HBA and BMSc (Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences)/HBA. You can apply to these combined degrees once you're are admitted to the HBA program in the Richard Ivey School of Business. You must have two years of university studies, including Business Administration as prerequisites for admission to the HBA program.
Schulich MD program takes four years to complete. The curriculum is delivered through lectures, laboratory experiences, small groups, case-based learning, and supervised clinical experience in community and hospital settings. Traditionally, the first two years are dedicated to gaining theoretical knowledge and preparing the student to enter the clinical setting. At the end of the first year of medical school, Schulich students participate in rural and regional discovery week to gain experience and exposure to rural medicine in a southwestern Ontario community hospital or clinical. During the first two years, each week will begin with an introduction of a case. The case will provide the stimulus for instruction and is designed to cover a number of objectives of the MD program. In the first two years, you will have time in the curriculum to explore career opportunities. The third year of the curriculum includes a 52-week integrated clerkship, while the fourth year includes clinical science electives and integration and transition courses that will allow you to easily transition into residency.
The annual medical school tuition for students at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry is CAD$25,456. Additionally, you will need to pay around CAD$2,900 for books and supplies each year. Visit Schulich School’s website to learn more about MD fees and costs.
The Schulich School of Medicine offers many funding opportunities for its students. These include internal and external sources, as well as funding for students looking to apply for international programs. The internal grants are typically reserved for research projects and participation in academic organizations and conferences. You can find an extensive list of external funding opportunities here.
Like with other medical schools in Ontario, you will use the Ontario Medical School Application Services (OMSAS) to apply to Schulich School of Medicine. The following deadlines are generally used by all OMSAS participating medical schools, but to ensure the accuracy of the timeline, please check with each school before you apply.
September 15: Deadline to create an OMSAS account. Make sure to request references before this date.
October 1st: This is your deadline to submit the online application via OMSAS. This is also the deadline for initial transcripts and academic documents, the three Confidential Assessment Forms (CAFs) from referees, and application fees. Once your application is submitted, access Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) to uploaded supplementary documentation (forwarded by OMSAS upon submission of application).
November 6: Deadline for OMSAS to receive your MCAT scores. Remember, it takes 2-3 business days for OMSAS to receive your scores after they are released from the AAMC. You should request that your scores be sent no later than November 3, 2020.
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.
The second week of May: First round of admissions offers are sent out. Applicants accept/reject offers via SAM.
Let's go over the selection factors and requirements that will help you prepare a stellar application for the Schulich School of Medicine.
Coursework and Prerequisites
You need to complete or be in the final year of a program leading to a four-year undergraduate degree and expect to obtain your degree by the end of the academic year of the expected year of entry to the MD program. Your undergraduate degree requirements must be completed, and the degree conferred by June 30 of the year of entrance. While there are specific medical school requirements you need to satisfy in your OMSAS application, Schulich does not list any medical school prerequisite courses. The school states that their matriculants come from diverse academic backgrounds, including, but not limited to, psychology, philosophy, economics, engineering, nursing, music, physiotherapy, etc.
The minimum medical school GPA requirements are established by the MD admissions committee each year. Two undergraduate years are used for your GPA calculation. Each year must have at least five full or equivalent courses (30 credit hours) taken between September and April, i.e. in the fall and winter semesters. Summer courses are not considered in the GPA calculation. Each year must also have at least three full or equivalent courses (18 credit hours) whose academic level is at or above the year of study, i.e. in the second year, three of your five full-course equivalents must be at or above the second-year level. Also, you can have a maximum of one full or equivalent pass/fail course (6 credit hours) per year. The course must be passed to count toward the course load. Part-time years are not considered in GPA calculation. Graduate work will not be considered in GPA calculation. Remember, last year’s matriculants had an average GPA of 3.91, so if you want to be a competitive candidate, you must at least meet this threshold. If you are worried about your academic record, make sure to check out our blog on how to get into medical school with a low GPA.
Learn how to improve your GPA in our video:
Your MCAT score must be no older than 5 years at the time of application. If you have taken the MCAT several times, the most recent MCAT score will be considered. All sections of your MCAT will be considered equally in application review. Don’t forget to review the MCAT test dates and know when to start studying for the MCAT. When you do start MCAT prep, make sure to take the MCAT diagnostic test first. This will help you organize your MCAT study schedule and focus on areas of study that need to be improved. Whether you review MCAT biology questions, MCAT physics equations, MCAT chemistry questions, or MCAT psychology topics, you need to implement active revision strategies to ace your MCAT. You should also have a foolproof MCAT CARS strategy. Make sure to read as much challenging material as you can per week and go over MCAT CARS passages.
Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)
Keep in mind that meeting those GPA and MCAT thresholds is key to moving on in the selection process. If you meet the GPA and MCAT minimums, your application proceeds to a non-academic assessment, which is based on your abbreviated autobiographical sketch and the reference letters. For your abbreviated autobiographical sketch, you will need to provide a list of experiences that can speak to Schulich’s core values:
- Teamwork and leadership
- Respect for Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Social accountability and social responsibility
- Self-directed learning, problem-solving, and critical inquiry
As part of your application, you must highlight your top life experiences that relate to each of the four Schulich School of Medicine core values. In each case, you will be asked to share what you have learned from the activity/experience and how it will be useful in your career as a physician. A minimum of four (one experience per core value) and a maximum of eight life experiences will be considered. Providing a minimum of only four experiences will not make your application competitive. Therefore, activities or life experiences may be reused for different core values as long as there is a clear connection between the experience and the core value. Experiences should be primarily derived from your OMSAS Autobiographical Sketch, although you may choose a maximum of two that were not included in the main OMSAS ABS. Activities should be ongoing or completed within the past 6 years.
As with other OMSAS participating schools, Western no longer accepts individual medical school recommendation letters. You must choose three referees who will need to complete the online Confidential Assessment Form (CAF). You writers must be from the following categories:
One referee should be academic or employment-related
One referee should be non-academic or personal
One referee can be of your choosing
Remember, you cannot use family members and family friends as referees. Your recommenders must be objective judges of your skills and abilities. Although these are not the traditional reference letters, you must still follow a similar protocol to acquire them. You must approach your potential referees a couple of months before the letters are due to ask if they could write you a strong reference letter. Any hesitation on their part should be considered a red flag and you should ask someone else. You do not want a mediocre reference – remember, Schulich puts a lot of value in reference letters during the non-academic assessment portion of your file review. Your letters should demonstrate nothing but support for your candidacy for medical school, so make sure you pick people who are enthusiastic to write you a letter.
Applicants are selected for interviews based the achievement of GPA and MCAT minimum thresholds and a description of unique life experiences that demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to Schulich’s core values of diversity, teamwork/leadership, social accountability/responsibility, and self-directed learning/critical inquiry. Western’s interview format is a standardized 45-minute interview with a three-person panel consisting of a physician, a community member, and a senior medical student.
How to prepare for your med school interview will depend on the interview format. Since Schulich’s interview format is close to the traditional panel interview, don’t forget to review panel interview questions to help you get ready. It is in your interest to review common medical school interview questions, as they are typically incorporated into every medical school interview format. Many med school interviews include open-ended questions like “why do you want to be a doctor?” or “tell me about yourself”, so make sure to prepare for those.
The first round of offers is sent in May. The offers will continue to be sent until all 171 spots are filled. Schulich does have a waitlist, but the school does not make its details public so very little is known about the process. Students remain on the waitlist as long as feasible, often until the beginning of the school year. If you would like to learn how to get off a medical school waitlist, check out our blog.
Admissions Email: [email protected]
1. Is there a program of study that I can pursue that will increase my chances of getting into the Schulich School of Medicine?
There is no undergraduate program that will give you a competitive edge. However, you should pursue the study of a discipline you truly enjoy, as you typically do well in classes you like.
2. Is there a list of prerequisites I must complete to be a competitive candidate?
There are no prerequisites listed. Keep in mind that you need to prepare for the study of medicine and for writing the MCAT, so a mixture of medical science courses and social science courses are highly recommended.
3. How does Schulich choose who to invite for the interview?
All candidates are assessed using the following criteria:
Step 1: Academic evaluation. The committee makes sure that your GPA and MCAT scores meet the minimum requirements. Candidates whose records do not meet the threshold are typically disqualified from further review.
Step 2: Non-academic evaluation. If you meet the GPA and MCAT thresholds, you proceed to the non-academic part of the review. Your Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch and Confidential Assessment Forms will be reviewed.
4. What kind of activities should I include in my Abbreviated Autobiographical Sketch?
Each student’s story is different. Schulich does not give preference to any specific extracurriculars for medical school. The activities you choose to include in your ABS should speak to the core values of the school: teamwork and leadership, respect for diversity, equity and inclusion, social accountability and social responsibility, and self-directed learning, problem-solving, and critical inquiry.
5. Does having a graduate degree increase my chances of acceptance?
No, it does not. Only your undergraduate grades are considered in the GPA calculation.
6. How is my GPA calculated?
Schulich will use the OMSAS Conversion Scale to determine your GPA. Remember, the minimum GPA is determined each year. You must meet this minimum in each of the two best undergraduate years during which you had five full or equivalent courses taken in the fall and winter semesters, with at least 3 full or equivalent courses whose academic level is at or above the appropriate year of study.
7. Does the Schulich School of Medicine require my CASPer score?
No, Schulich is not one of the medical schools that require CASPer.
8. Does Schulich give preference to applicants from Southwestern Ontario?
As you could see in the Eligibility section of this blog, although the general applicant pool does have higher MCAT sections thresholds, Southwestern Ontario applicants and ACCESS Pathway applicants have the same requirements. Additionally, all three pools have the same GPA requirements. To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario applicant pool, you must have attended all four years and graduated from high school in one of the Southwestern Ontario counties. If you are invited for an interview as one of the applicants in the Southwestern Ontario pool, you must bring an original high school transcript.
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