The University of Ottawa medical school welcomes anglophone and francophone applicants from all over Canada. While the school has a highly selective admissions process, it is also one of the few medical schools that do not require MCAT. In this blog, you will learn uOttawa’s admissions statistics and requirements, selection factors, interview format, and tips for how to get into this prestigious medical school.
Here's What We'll Cover:
“Our Mission is to select a culturally and socioeconomically diverse group of medical students who are ready to pursue academic and personal excellence and who possess multifaceted interests and personal qualities. These students will be able to, in an ethical and professional manner, contribute and be responsive to, the changing needs of society by:
- Providing exemplary and compassionate patient care
- Advancing the public’s health
- Conducting ethical medical research and
- Maintaining their personal wellness”
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Acceptance rate (overall): 3.9%
70% of matriculants are Anglophone and 30% are Francophone
Average MCAT: not required
Average GPA: 3.50/4 cut-off
Location: Ottawa, ON
Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada are eligible to apply. University of Ottawa medical school also specifically states that they do not accept students who have been previously registered in a medical program leading to an MD degree and withdrew or were excluded from the program unless there were exceptional or medical circumstances.
Applicants to the MD program can choose to pursue their medical school education in English or French, regardless of their native tongue or first language learned. You must indicate your choice of language of instruction in the online application. Your interview will also be conducted in the language of your choice. Once you're admitted, you will not be allowed to switch from one language of instruction to the other. You must be prepared to commit to participating and following all activities in pre-clerkship and clerkship phases of the curriculum in the chosen language of instruction.
Consortium National De Formation En Santé (CNFS)
This program ensures that francophone minority students in Canada who come from provinces other than Ontario and Quebec have access to postsecondary studies leading to practice in the healthcare field. At uOttawa, these students are admitted over and above the quota set by the Government of Ontario. If you are interested in applying, you must meet the same admissions requirements and submit your application through OMSAS. You must accompany your application with a letter that explains that you applied for admission with the CNFS. Email this letter to the MD admissions office.
A maximum of four students is admitted to the MD-PhD program at uOttawa each year. Like many other MD-PhD programs, uOttawa's combined degree program takes 7 years to complete. In addition to pursuing your medical education, you will enroll in a graduate degree in one of these five disciplines: biochemistry, cellular and molecular medicine, microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, and biology (from the Faculty of Science).
Military Medical Training Program (MMTP)
Currently serving Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force members who are interested in the MMTP must meet all the eligibility and admissions requirements including the completion of all the necessary pre-med prerequisites. If this is your case, you must complete the online application form and follow the same OMSAS application procedures as all other candidates. In addition to application forms, a letter must be sent directly to the Faculty of Medicine explaining that you have applied through OMSAS through the MMTP program with the Canadian Armed Forces. Please email this letter to the MD admissions office.
As I mentioned previously, the MD curriculum is offered in English and French. The first part of the curriculum, pre-clerkship, is dedicated to learning biomedical sciences. Additionally, during this phase of medical training, you will be assessed based on your intelligence, integrity, as well as personal and emotional characteristics that are necessary for anyone looking to become a physician. You must demonstrate your knowledge, maturity, and awareness of professional ethics.
The second phase, clerkships, are dedicated to clinical work. There will be approximately 72 weeks of rotations scheduled over four calendar years. Please visit this page to see a list of compulsory courses in each year of your medical school education at uOttawa.
July 9: OMSAS application opens.
September 15: Deadline to create an OMSAS account. You are strongly advised to confirm your referees by this deadline.
October 1st: OMSAS application deadline. You must also submit the initial transcripts and academic documents, the three Confidential Assessment Forms (CAFs), and application fees. Please access Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) to uploaded supplementary documentation (forwarded by OMSAS upon submission of application).
November 3: you must release your MCAT scores to OMSAS.
November: Verify your 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.
June 30th: Deadline for OMSAS to have received final transcripts.
To make the lives of its applicants easier, uOttawa asks its candidates to select the option of Multiple Financial Need Bursaries – MD Program when applying for financial aid. This procedure ensures that when you apply for scholarships and bursaries based on financial need, your application is eligible for all available funding opportunities at the University of Ottawa medical school. This approach makes the application and the review process much faster and easier for both the students and the admissions committee. Remember, you must still meet all the eligibility criteria of the different bursaries to have a chance of getting them, but at least you do not need to apply for each opportunity separately.
You are also encouraged to apply to a series of scholarships based on Community Involvement for Students in the MD program. For a complete list of bursaries, grants, and scholarships available at the University of Ottawa medical school, please visit this page.
Let’s go over selection factors that will help you prepare a stellar uOttawa application.
Coursework and Prerequisites
To be considered for admission, you must complete three years of full-time study in any undergraduate program leading to a bachelor's degree. You must also complete the medical school prerequisites with a minimum grade of B (CÉGEP equivalent 70%). You must complete them before the beginning of June of the year of entrance. uOttawa course prerequisites include:
6 units in Humanities /Social Sciences (second language courses are not recognized toward the Humanities / Social Sciences prerequisites)
6 units in Biology (Anatomy and Physiology courses also accepted)
3 units in Organic Chemistry
3 units in Chemistry
3 units in Biochemistry
3 units in Statistics
Note: 3 units (credits) are equivalent to a one-semester course, and six units (credits) are equivalent to either one full-year course or two semester-long courses. If you are missing any of these prerequisites, you can complete missing courses during the academic year preceding admission but not during the summer before your registration in the MD program. There are also lab requirements that can be met by either having 6-units-worth of courses that include a laboratory component and/or by having completed the additional course(s) up to 6 units that are exclusively laboratory-based.
You should be aware that uOttawa will consider the level of difficulty of successfully completed courses and their relevance to future medical studies at the University of Ottawa. For example, full-time studies completed by distance education will not be recognized.
The Excellence of Marks is the number one requirement that you must meet to be an eligible candidate for the MD program. Each year, the University of Ottawa medical school sets a cumulative medical school GPA requirement for the upcoming applicant pool; check out the uOttawa website to learn how this calculation is made. You must meet the required minimum average to have your application advance in the selection process. If your GPA does not meet the required minimum, you are cut out of the applicant pool. There are several student categories within the applicant pool, i.e. anglophone, francophone, indigenous, etc. Each category of students has its own GPA cut-off – if you would like to learn the GPA cut-off for your category, you need to contact the admissions office at [email protected].
The University of Ottawa will calculate your cumulative GPA (cGPA) using the most recent three years of full-time (5-courses per year) undergraduate studies completed towards a bachelor’s degree in any recognized university. The cGPA will include all full-time courses taken during the regular academic year (Fall and Winter semesters) and individual courses taken during the summer semester during that period. Your grades from the exchange or abroad programs will not be included in the cGPA calculation. Any year with less than four courses per semester will not count as a full-time year of study. A full-time summer semester does not replace a semester of studies within an academic year (except for co-op programs). AP, IB, and transfer units are not recognized as fulfillment of the full-time study requirement.
You can have only one pass/fail graded course per semester if you want the year to count as a full-time year of study. Therefore, an academic year in which more than one pass/fail graded course was taken in one semester is not considered in the cGPA calculation. Online courses taken within the most recent three years of full-time study will be included in the calculation. Any online courses taken outside the most recent three years of full-time requirement will not be included in the cGPA. Prerequisite courses with the minimum grade of B (equivalent to 70% at CÉGEP) completed outside of the most recent three years will count towards fulfilling the prerequisite credits, however, the grades will not count towards the cGPA.
Your CASPer test must be completed in the language of instruction selected when submitting your application to the University of Ottawa medical school. You will have to take the CASPer test in the fall of the application year. Your uOttawa CASPer test dates can only be reserved after you submit your application through OMSAS and an OMSAS ID is added to your CASPer profile.
As you probably already know, the CASPer test is an online situational judgment test that assesses your professional qualities and competencies. It is composed of 12 scenarios dealing with real-life situations. You are asked 3 follow up questions based on the scenario observed. Essentially, the questions will prod you to answer how you would deal with the situation you witnessed. You are given 5 minutes to type your answers for the three questions you’re presented with. Your answers will be scored on a scale between 1 (lowest) and 9 (highest). Tip: to ace your CASPer test, learn how to identify the pressing issue of a scenario. This means that you must be quick to realize the vulnerable party in the situation. As a future physician, you must always prioritize the well-being of those under your care, so make sure you identify those who are most affected in the scenario at hand. But don’t forget to consider all the parties involved. Remember to always remain non-judgmental to everyone in the scenario and take care of those who are most affected by the situation first. To test your CASPer taking skills, make sure to use our CASPer questions. Learn how to prepare for CASPer before you take the test.
Learn what to avoid in your CASPer test in our video:
Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)
You will need to provide a detailed autobiographical sketch in your OMSAS application that outlines your extracurriculars for medical school. This section of the application is meant to provide a more personal and detailed description of your life and experiences in your journey to medical school. As you fill out your ABS, you will be promoted to provide brief details of each activity, as well as names and contacts of your verifiers who can confirm your participation in the activities you listed. It might be wise to use point-form notes to describe your experiences, as such answers are more easily accessible. Remember, this is not a medical school personal statement, but rather a quick and thorough list of your accomplishments and experiences in the following categories:
- Volunteer Activities
- Extracurricular Activities
- Awards and Accomplishments
In addition to the general list of activities outlining your preparedness for the study of medicine, you will be prompted to identify the top three activities in each category, resulting in a maximum of 18 activities in total. This ABS gives you more opportunity to emphasize particularly important achievements or experiences. Remember, you must be selective and pick top experiences that defined your journey to medical school. Always prioritize quality over quantity and highlight the skills you learned that prepared you for the study of medicine. Before you submit your application, make sure to review your responses and activity inclusions carefully. Makes sure there are no grammatical mistakes and no typos in the names and contact information of your verifiers.
Interviews are held from February to March. You will be invited based on the minimum cGPA set for that application cycle for the particular student category to which you belong. Non-academic assessment will be taken into consideration in interview selections, but the University of Ottawa medical school does not disclose exact selection criteria. uOttawa does not provide any details about the interview format on their website. Applicants who are invited to interview will receive details about the interview location, time, and format in the invitation. If you want to start building up your interview skills, read our blog on how to prepare for your med school interview. Additionally, you should check out our ultimate guide to video interviews, which are becoming quite popular with many medical schools in Canada. When you start preparing for your interview, make sure to review common medical school interview questions, like “why do you want to be a doctor?” or “tell me about yourself”. Additionally, go over MMI questions and panel interview questions, as these can be incorporated into a variety of interview formats.
Following the interview, a rank order lists are made based on a combined score using cGPA and the interview performance. In the event of ties in the final scores, candidates with the highest cGPA will be ranked higher. The University of Ottawa medical school may consider other factors when ranking each candidate in the order list, but the details are not disclosed.
After you receive your offer of admission, you must satisfy the necessary conditions, including submitting a final transcript by the end of June of the year of entry, providing a copy of your residency status, completing all the admissions requirements, and so on. Please visit the school’s website for more information.
Admissions Email: [email protected]
1. How many students are admitted into the MD program each year?
uOttawa admits 166 students annually.
2. Do I need to complete my medical school prerequisites with a certain grade to be an eligible candidate?
Yes, you need to have at least a B in all of your prerequisites courses (CÉGEP equivalent of 70%).
3. Can I qualify for the MD program if I studied part-time?
No, only full-time studies leading to a bachelor’s degree will qualify for admission.
4. Will uOttawa consider repeated courses when calculating my cGPA?
For cGPA calculation, the University of Ottawa medical school will consider all courses that appear on your transcript in the most three recent years of full-time undergraduate studies.
5. Should I complete my undergraduate education before I apply?
No, you do not have to wait to complete your undergrad. You would normally apply after the second year of studies. Only the grades received in 1st and 2nd years of your undergrad will be used in the calculation of your GPA.
6. Should I submit my MCAT to uOttawa?
No, your MCAT score is not a requirement.
7. Are there any provincial quotas?
No, the University of Ottawa medical school does not admit students based on region or province. The program is divided into two streams: anglophone and francophone. There is no weight or preference given to any particular province.
8. Can international and US students apply for admission?
Only if they have Canadian permanent residency status. International and US students who are looking to attend medical schools in Canada should check out our list of Canadian medical schools that accept US students.
9. Do I need to submit confidential assessment forms to uOttawa?
Yes. Like with other medical schools in Ontario, you will need to submit three CAFs through the OMSAS application system. They will be considered in the selection process, but the school does not specify any particular criteria or weight assigned to them.
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