University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine: Statistics, Requirements & How to Get in 2020

Updated: October 21, 2020

Situated in one of the most picturesque areas in the world, the UBC medical school is one of the 17 medical schools in Canada and the only medical school in British Columbia. In this blog, you will learn about its admissions statistics, eligibility, application procedures, selection factors, and tips on how to get accepted!

Here's What I’ll Cover:

Mission Statement

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Available Programs

Academic Curriculum

Tuition and Funding Opportunities

Application Timeline

Selection Factors

Interview Format

Acceptance Information and Waitlist

Contact Information

FAQs

Mission Statement

“Our mission is to admit and educate students who will graduate with demonstrated competencies and behaviors that will equip them to address the current and future health care needs of British Columbians.”

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Overall success rate: 12%

BC residents’ success rate: 18.1%

BC residents make up 92.3% of MD matriculants

Average MCAT score: 513

Average GPA: 87.69%

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply to the MD program, you must be a permanent resident, a citizen of Canada or have Canadian refugee status. UBC does not accept international students, which includes American applicants. To see a list of Canadian medical schools that accept US students, please read our blog. To be an eligible candidate or UBC, you must complete all your prerequisite courses and credit minimums before April 30th of the year of entrance. Be aware that preference is given to in-province students, but there is a small number of out-of-province applicants that are admitted each year. You are considered a British Columbia resident if you hold a currently valid BC Services Card by the application deadline.

Available Programs

UBC delivers a great variety of programs in the areas of health and life sciences. These programs are available at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, as well as through continuing professional education and public education.

Audiology and Speech Sciences (MSc & PhD). The only program in British Columbia to educate audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Students gain theoretical and hands-on knowledge through academic courses and practical teaching.

Biomedical Engineering (BASc, MASc, MEng & PhD). These undergraduate and graduate programs emphasize the relationship between biomedical engineering and life science study with a focus on clinical and industrial applications.

Biomedical Research (MSc & PhD programs). UBC research-based programs provide opportunities for training in subjects ranging from the diversity of basic biomedical sciences to clinical and health services research.

Doctor of Medicine (MD). The MD program is comprised of four distinct sites: Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program (VFMP), Southern Medical Program (SMP), Northern Medical Program (NMP), and Island Medical Program (IMP). In total, the MD program admits around 288 students per year, 32 to the IMP, NMP, and SMP each, while 192 spots are available at the VFMP.

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Combined MD-PhD. The UBC MD-PhD programs take 7 years to complete. It is designed for students who want to pursue a career as clinician-scientists. Your training will combine medical school experience with intensive scientific training. To apply, you need to have a Bachelor of Science degree in addition to fulfilling all the requirements of acceptance into the MD program. Students with a science degree already enrolled in the MD program are eligible to apply.

Continuing Professional Development. These programs are designed to help current physicians improve their knowledge, professional performance, and technical skills.

Global Surgical Care (GCGSC, MGSC). This graduate certificate and master's program are designed for students and professionals interested in improving the global health burden of unmet surgical care. The Certificate program is comprised of four graduate-level online courses, while the master's degree is a two-year, 30 credit specialized program.

Genetic Counselling (MSc). This is a unique 2-year graduate program. Only 6 students are accepted into the program each year. It has full accreditation status by the American Board of Genetic Counselling. Graduates of this program have gone on to pursue stimulating careers, both in Canada and internationally, in genomic research, private industry, public and private clinical services, as well as policy development.

Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc). In this four-year program, students learn theoretical acknowledge in a broad range of subjects as well as practical, hands-on experience in a variety of lab techniques. This is a perfect opportunity to acquire practical lab skills for those students interested in lab-based work in the future.

Occupational Therapy (MOT). This UBC program prepares graduates to provide services to maintain, restore, or improve the ability of patients to perform in the areas of self-care, productivity, and leisure activities. You have a choice of Master of Occupational Therapy, MSc Research program, PhD Research Program, and online Masters (MRSc).

Midwifery (BMW). This four-year program prepares students to work as primary caregivers for childbearing women, newborns, and their families. You will learn in classroom settings and gain clinical experience across the province. While coursework is completed at the UBC Vancouver Campus, you will need to complete a number of clinical placements in your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years with at least one placement in a rural setting.

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT). This is a 26-month professional program that is fully accredited by Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC). You receive 45 weeks of academic coursework and a total of 1080 hours of hands-on clinical experience. You will also have 6 clinical placements in diverse aspects of clinical care, including geriatrics, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, and more.

Postgraduate Medical Training Programs (Residency). UBC offers 2 Family Medicine Programs and 73 specialty and sub-specialty programs. The duration of training varies from 2 years for Family Medicine to 4 to 7 years for other specialties and sub-specialties.

Population and Public Health. UBC offers a range of graduate-level academic programs that train researchers and practitioners in the field of public health. This includes the Master of Health Administration, Master of Health Science, Master of Public Health, and more.

Vancouver International Summer Program in Medicine. This program provides an opportunity for international students to learn about Canadian culture and medical practices through social activities and classes.

Academic Curriculum

In Year 1, you are introduced to basic science courses and expectations of the medical profession. The courses include a brief review of basic principles of human biology and introduces the CanMEDS competency domains. First year courses include Foundations of Medical Practice, Foundations of Medical Practice II, and Foundations of Scholarship and Flexible Enhanced Learning.

In year 2, students are introduced to courses with increasingly complex clinical presentations integrating foundational sciences and clinical practice themes. Furthermore, students transition from classroom-based to clinical learning environments.

Clerkships begin in Year 3. These 12 months provide students with core experiences across the breadth of medicine through both clinical and academic learning opportunities. Students will interact with patients under the supervision of faculty members to develop a solid foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Clinical activities will occur in ambulatory, hospital-based, rural/remote settings, and specialist clinics. You will cover the following disciplines: Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Surgery, Orthopedics, Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, and Ambulatory Care.

In Year 4 you will have six four-week clinical electives with transition into postgraduate education and practice.

Tuition and Funding Opportunities

UBC Faculty of Medicine annual tuition for first-year students equals CAD$21,006 for BC residents and out-of-province applicants. Depending on the year of study, your tuition and fees total will fluctuate between CAD$19,878.45 (second year) and CAD$27,129.69 (fourth year). These costs include supplies, equipment, and textbook fees. Your last year of medical school is the most expensive mostly due to licensing fees, elective experience travel expenditures, residency application fees, and residency interview travel expenses. These additional fees are rough estimates, because much of your expenses will depend on your personal choices. If you are interested in learning about other costs associated with medical school, make sure to read our blog “How Much Does Medical School Cost?”

Learn how much medical school costs in our video:

Funding Opportunities

UBC General Bursary Program

Applications for the UBC General Bursary are available mid-August of each year from the online Student Service Centre. Every year, the applications are typically due in mid-September. MD students must meet eligibility criteria to apply. To be eligible, you must also be receiving government student loans for the academic year in which you are applying for this bursary and still have remaining “unmet need” according to the government student loan assessment to be considered for UBC general bursaries. This application is for a full academic year.

Scholarships

Approximately 20% of MD students who achieve high academic standing receive some scholarship support. Most awards and scholarships at UBC, with the exception of Affiliation Scholarships, do not require student application. The Faculty of Medicine automatically recommends students for medical scholarships and awards based on academic standing and other qualities.

Professional Student Line of Credit

Demanding medical school tuition cost and other additional expenditures often lead students to apply for lines of credit to finance their education. Unlike government student loans, lines of credit begin accumulating interest immediately when funds are advanced and minimum monthly payments are required. In most cases, the monthly interest payment required can be capitalized or paid through further advances on the lines of credit. It should be noted that this would add to the principal of the loan, increasing the overall debt load. It is recommended that you visit the websites of different banks for full details about professional student lines of credit. Many banks may negotiate rates and credit limits based on credit history, credit rating and individual credit requirements. Applicable fees and rates are subject to change. UBC medical school typically holds a Student Financial Services Evening in September with the attendance of all the major banks providing lines of credit. An email will be sent out to students notifying them of the time, date, and place.

Application Timeline

Early June: Online application system (OAS) opens.

September 1 (noon Pacific Time): Early application deadline. This includes the online application, all application fees, all transcripts, and proof of BC residency (if required). World Education Services (WES) evaluations are not required until October 1, while MCAT scores are not required until December 1st, 2020. If you submit all required documents and fees by the early application deadline and are invited to an interview, you will get your interview invitation one day earlier than the general applicant pool.

October 1st (noon Pacific Time): General deadline for submission of applications, including online application, all application fees, all transcripts, WES/ICES evaluations, and proof of BC residency (if required).

December 1st (noon Pacific Time): Deadline for receipt of MCAT scores via the MCAT Score Reporting System. It usually takes 1 month for AAMC to score the MCAT, so you should schedule your test date accordingly.

September to early December: Evaluation of complete submitted applications.

Early December: Interview invitation will be sent to selected applicants via their OAS account. All supplemental application requirements, forms, and instructions will be made available via the OAS account.

Mid-December: Deadline to book an interview.

February 6-7 and 13-14: Multiple Mini Interview weekends held at the Life Science Center, UBC campus.

Mid-February: Supplemental Application deadline (three reference letters*, site preferences, and graduate students must confirm that they will complete their graduate program by July of the year of entrance).

April 30: All applicants must complete a minimum of 90 credits and all English prerequisite courses.

May: Applicants are notified of admissions decisions via their OAS account.

June 30: Final transcripts due. All successful and waitlisted applicants must submit (if applicable) one final, official transcript from institutions where applicants completed courses between September of last year and April 30 of the year of entrance.

July 30: Graduate students must provide proof of completion of their program.

August 16: Classes begin.

*Notice that medical school recommendation letters are required from selected students after they go through the interview process. Make sure you confirm with your writers ahead of time in case you are selected to submit the supplementary application.

Selection Factors

Let’s consider the selection factors and admissions requirements of the UBC medical school. UBC Faculty of Medicine application process has some unique elements. UBC is one of a few Canadian medical schools that do not require a CASPer test as part of your application. Letters of recommendation are not required of applicants unless they go through the interview process and are asked to submit the supplemental application. Here are the admission requirements that all students must submit.

Course Requirements

UBC medical school has some specific medical school requirements. You must complete a 90-credit minimum to be considered for the program. UBC requires its MD applicants to complete 6 credits of English coursework by April 30th of the year of entry into medical school. They can either be 6 credits of literature or 3 credits of literature and 3 credits of composition. Be careful when you assess which courses count towards the English requirement; social science, humanities, technical, business, and creative writing courses do not count. Only courses with clearly identifiable and significant literary components will be considered. Their curriculum should include at least one research paper of five or more pages, an additional essay assignment, and a final exam. See the program’s English Courses Chart to confirm whether your coursework is acceptable. If you have questions about your courses, email the program directly.

Although UBC does not list any science courses as medical school prerequisites, you will have no chance of acceptance without having some science background. After all, you need to take science and social science courses to prepare for and write the MCAT. For your med school application, you must have a solid background in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. You must demonstrate proficiency in these disciplines in your coursework and the MCAT. UBC also suggests taking physics, statistics, and social sciences. Check out their Science Courses Chart to learn more. Remember, simply taking the classes is not enough - having a bad grade in a required or recommended course will hinder your chances of acceptance.

GPA

UBC medical school converts your grades into a percentage. If you’re an in-province applicant, you must have at least a 75% average to be considered for the MD program. If you’re an out-of-state applicant, your average has to be at least at 85%. According to the latest statistics, the average grade of UBC matriculants is 87.69%. Students with averages above 85% make up 78% of the matriculants. Only 3% of matriculants have averages lower 80%. This means that to be a competitive applicant, you must demonstrate academic excellence in your transcripts. Your record must show improvement; even if you had lower grades in earlier years of undergrad, make sure that your transcripts show that you worked hard to improve your grades. Remember, UBC has course requirements and courses they recommend for their applicants – if you performed poorly in some of these courses, consider re-enrollment. This strategy will increase your GPA and demonstrate to the admissions committee your dedication to improvement. While you’re a student, make sure you take courses in disciplines you excel in. Ask your instructors and teaching assistants if you can do anything for extra credit. Study with a partner or find a tutor to help you with challenging courses. Go to see your TAs and instructors during their office hours to get help with completing your assignments. If you are still struggling to enhance your academic performance, check out our blog to find some ideas on how to get into medical school with a low GPA.

Be aware that advanced placement (AP), international baccalaureate (IB), and A Level courses do not count toward the 90-credit minimum requirement and are not considered in the calculation of your GPA. However, your AP, IB, or A Levels may be used to satisfy the English requirements.

MCAT

Since UBC is not part of AMCAS, you can only submit your MCAT score after the results have been sent to you. Therefore, you will need to send your MCAT results to UBC via MCAT Score Reporting System after the UBC online application opens. UBC does not accept MCAT scores older than 5 years. You must score at least 124 in each section on a single exam to be considered for the program. You should know that the average MCAT score of UBC matriculants is 513. Remember, the admissions committee will be able to see all your scores, so if you retake the exam, make sure you show improvement.

If you have not written the exam or plan to retake it, make sure you know what a good MCAT score is and when to start studying for the MCAT. MCAT preparation is a long and rigorous process, so make sure you take it seriously. First of all, take an MCAT diagnostic test to know your baseline. Note areas of knowledge you need to improve on and create a study plan that would address challenging concepts and ideas. Perhaps you need to review MCAT biology questions, MCAT chemistry questions, MCAT physics equations, or MCAT psychology questions. Incorporate a variety of passive and active study methods. These may include writing down summaries of concepts you just learned, explaining the material to your family and friends, and creating tables and charts that show the relationship between concepts. Make sure to review our MCAT CARS strategy and go over MCAT CARS practice passages to get ready. Take as many practice tests as you can and note if you are showing improvement. Rearrange your study plan to fit your needs. Keep taking the practice test until you consistently score in the 90th percentile. If you feel ready, schedule the exam. If you are still wondering “When should I take the MCAT?”, make sure to read our blog.

Transcripts

You must submit official transcripts in sealed and endorsed envelopes issued by your home university. You need to present transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you attended, including the schools you attended through exchange or study abroad programs. It is not enough that these courses and grades appear on your home university transcript. Make sure you contact all the institutions early to get them to mail the transcripts to UBC. If, for some reason, your former post-secondary institution does not mail original academic records, then they can send stamped, attested true photocopies of academic records in sealed envelopes and endorsed by the Registrar at your home institution. If you attended a post-secondary institution (including on exchange or study abroad) outside of North America, you must have your foreign transcripts assessed by either the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) or World Education Services (WES). All transcripts must be sent to:

MD Undergraduate Admissions

Faculty of Medicine, Office of Education

University of British Columbia

317 – 2194 Health Sciences Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3

Online Application Components

The UBC medical school has its own online application system. The application fee is CAD$126.50 for BC residents and CAD$187.50 for out-of-province residents. Aside from filling out personal information and coursework history, you will need to provide the admissions committee with the following information:

Research Publications and Presentations. You are limited to 12 entries in this section. Make sure you include academic publications and presentations. Do not include research/lab experience, non-academic writing, and presentations – these can go into the Non-Academic activities section. If your publication or presentation is available online, provide a URL. You can also provide a link to the library catalog page that lists your paper publication. If neither is available, you can enter n/a. Make sure you include publications you have authored or co-authored (1st or 2nd author). If you are a contributor do not include the publication here. Instead, integrate this entry and a short description when talking about your research or employment history. Similarly, include a presentation that you did, not presentations you helped with.

Non-Academic Activities. This section of the application will provide the admissions committee with non-academic information and background about you. Since UBC does not require its students to submit a personal statement, this is probably the only glimpse of your personal life they will get. You are encouraged to include activities, interests, and hobbies that make you unique and enrich your personal life. Along with typical premed activities like volunteering at the hospital or doing research, you can include your parenting experiences, overcoming challenges, and any other non-academic talents, skills, and interest you may have. Most importantly, you need to demonstrate that you have dedicated much time and effort to this activity – your entries should emphasize the quality of your experiences. In your description, paint a clear picture of the context, your duties, and the people involved in the activity. Emphasize your role and your contribution. Do not include paid employment in this section. All your experiences will go into 5 categories: leadership, service ethic, capacity to work with others, diversity experience, high performance in an area of human endeavor. Each category has a limited set of experiences you can list. Choosing appropriate experiences can be difficult, but you must brainstorm and choose experiences that demonstrate your best qualities, performance, and personal virtues. Everybody’s journey to medical school is unique. Extracurriculars for medicals school can be a good starting point in considering what kind of experiences you might want to include. Remember, along with some typical experiences, try to include something that will make you stand out. For example, you can include being a head cheerleader as an example of your leadership capacities, but you can also include your role as a parent, a guardian, or a military commander. You might not always consider your own experiences as unique or interesting, but reflect on your life, your experiences, and try to be objective. Be selective with your choices and emphasize the quality of your experiences. Choose activities that helped you develop capacities that are expected from Canadian physicians. When you choose your activities think about the seven CanMEDS roles: medical expert, communicator, leader, health advocate, scholar, and professional. Relate your skills and experiences to these roles. Try to reflect on your skills through these competencies – you might be surprised by the diversity of your experiences. Remember, you are not expected to demonstrate your readiness to perform the CanMEDS roles, as these are for practicing physicians. However, these can be used as a guide to the types of qualities a great physician has, so they can be used to highlight relevant skills you possess.

Employment history. Unlike the AMCAS Work and Activities section, UBC separates your paid and unpaid activities. Enter any paid roles you have had here. You will need to give details of your employment and provide a description of your job duties and responsibilities.

Northern and Rural Training. If you are genuinely interested in rural, remote, or northern medicine, consider applying to Northern and Rural Training. This application component is evaluated separately from the rest of your application, so ensure that you include any relevant non-academic and employment history in this section that you may list in other sections within your application. You are encouraged to apply to this program if you have experience in rural, remote, northern, or Indigenous settings. Completing this portion of the application makes you eligible for admissions to the Northern Medical Program and the designated seats at the Southern Medical Program, as well as the Island Medical Program. If you choose to apply to this program, you will need to write a Rural Interest Statement in a provided text box. Your statement will need to outline your suitability, experiences, and future intentions for rural and northern training. You will also need to fill out lived experiences in Canada section, which demonstrates where and for how long you lived in Canada. This will give adcoms an idea of your exposure to rural and remote areas.

Verifiers. For the Non-Academic, Employment History, and Northern and Rural Training sections you will need to provide contact information of a person who can confirm the dates, hours, description, and other details that you list in your application. Activities that do not have verifiers will be disregarded by the admissions committee. Try not to use the same verifier for multiple entries. Make sure to choose verifiers who worked with you in some sort of supervisory capacity and never use family members or close friends as verifiers. Beware, discrepancies between the details in your application and those confirmed by your verifier will be noted and may negatively impact your application.

Additional Information. This application section provides space for you to include any other important information about your candidacy. You can note any exceptional circumstances that have had an impact on your application, clarify something about your application, and answer some optional questions, like parental education and occupation, whether you are the first in the immediate family to attend university, and provide information about your current loan debts.

Interview Format

UBC medical school follows the Multiple Mini Interview format. Invited applicants will rotate through 11 different interview stations, spending approximately 7 minutes at each station with 2 minutes of transition period. The entire interview will take 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete. Remember to review how to prepare for your Multiple Mini Interview and go over our MMI questions to get ready. On the day of the interview, make sure you dress professionally by wearing appropriate medical school interview attire. First impressions make a big difference! In addition to MMI questions, you should go over common medical school interview questions that can be incorporated into the MMI format.

Acceptance Information and Waitlist

UBC medical school typically sends out acceptance offers in mid-May. You will be notified of your acceptance via email. The acceptance package information contains important details and specific instructions including the payment of the non-refundable $1,000 deposit, which will be applied to tuition, and return of the Response to Offer form which confirms acceptance of the offer to a specific site in the program. If you do not receive an offer to your site of choice, you may be waitlisted for the preferred site. A small number of applicants will also be placed on a waitlist. Offers can potentially be made up until the first day of classes in late August.

Contact Information

Admissions Website 

Admissions Email: [email protected]

FAQs

1. How much does it cost to attend the UBC Faculty of Medicine per year?

Tuition and fees alone will cost you between CAD$19,878.45 and CAD$27,129.69 depending on the year of study. You can reduce some of the costs by buying used textbooks or using the library to reserve holdings. There are some fees you can opt-out of, like the health and dental plan. However, these strategies will not make a large dent in your payments. Living expenses are very high in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is over CAD$2,000. Depending on your mode of transportation, you will be spending from CAD$91, if you buy one-zone adult transit pass, to around $500 if you own a vehicle (this includes insurance, maintenance, parking, gas, and so on).

2. Can I send my own transcripts?

UBC will accept transcripts if they arrive in their official, original, sealed envelopes.

3. Do I need an undergraduate degree to be eligible to apply?

No, you do not. You must complete at least 90 university credits by April 30th of the year of entry into medical school. For most students, this means you can apply in your third year of university.

4. My school has a different credit system than UBC. How do I know if I have enough credits?

3 credits are generally given to half-year courses and 6 credits are given for full-year courses. You must have courses that were graded with a percentage or letter grades. Courses that are marked as pass/fail, satisfactory, completed do not count.

5. What are the course prerequisites for the UBC MD program?

6 credits in English are required. Courses in general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry are recommended, but not required. The required courses do not have an “expiration date”, so your English courses will be accepted even if they were completed a long time ago.

6. How important is my MCAT score in the selection process?

Your MCAT is used in the pre-interview selection. As long as the score and date requirements are met, the MCAT is not a factor in determining who is invited to interview. Post-interview, your MCAT score is compared with other applicants’ to make final decisions about who UBC admits.

7. Should I shadow a physician or other healthcare professional to stand out as an applicant?

The MD program does not encourage you to do any shadowing or clinical work. According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, such activities pose a significant concern to patient privacy and confidentiality. These non-academic activities will not increase your chances of acceptance.

8. When do I submit my recommendation letters?

References are not required until the interview stage. Do not send your references unless you have been asked to submit the supplemental application. All reference writers must complete a specific online form. You will be given all the details after you have been invited to an interview. Give your referees at least two to three weeks to complete the online form.

9. My school uses letter grades. How do I know what that means in terms of UBC’s percentages?

UBC medical school will convert your letter grades to percentages. Please refer to the conversion chart I linked to in this blog to find out where you stand.

10. Is there any difference in the medical education at the different sites?

All sites get the same comprehensive medical education, but the non-Vancouver sites have more exposure to rural and remote medicine.

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