The University of Toronto medical school is one of the most prestigious medical schools in Canada and the world. The program is divided between two campuses, the historic St. George campus downtown Toronto and the modern Mississauga campus. In this blog, you will learn UofT medical school statistics and eligibility, available programs, selection factors, and tips for how to get accepted!
Here's What You'll Learn:
“We teach, create and disseminate knowledge in primary care, advancing the discipline of family medicine and improving health for diverse and underserved communities locally and globally.”
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Acceptance rates (overall): 8.3%
Average MCAT: minimum of 125 in each section
Average GPA: 3.96
Location: Toronto and Mississauga, ON
In addition to admitting Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine is one of the Canadian medical schools that accept US students and international students who meet both academic and non-academic requirements. International applicants must complete a non-medical bachelor's degree equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree in Canada with World Education Services (WES) transcript assessment. Applicants from the US do not need to have their transcripts evaluated by WES.
The University of Toronto medical school looks to admit a variety of applicants into its MD program. Like many other medical schools in Ontario, UofT does not have a preference regarding what discipline you study before you apply to medical school. There are no quotas or age limits; there is no ideal applicant profile that you can fit to ensure matriculation. UofT has historically admitted applicants with backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, and life sciences. Applicants who matriculate also demonstrate involvement in a variety of extracurriculars for medical school.
Although not all medical schools in Canada have MD-PhD programs, their quality is on par with some of the best programs in the world. UofT’s MD-PhD program is highly competitive. Its applicants must demonstrate dedication to research and clinical practice, as well as a desire to contribute to further development of the scientific progress. You may apply for both MD and MD-PhD at the same time. Alternatively, you can submit your application to the MD-PhD program in your first year of medical school at UofT.
This four-year program is divided into two phases. The first two years of the program are called foundations. This phase builds your foundational knowledge and skills for the future practice of medicine. You are introduced to the foundational science and clinical topics, and also begin to develop your clinical skills to prepare for learning in the final two years of the program, known as clerkships. Clerkship involves learning while working with physicians and other health care team members in the hospital and clinic. With support from UofT's world-class network of hospitals and clinical care sites, students delve deeper into areas such as pediatrics, family medicine, surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, anesthesia, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.
Canadian students’ annual tuition at UofT totals CAD$24,835.40, including other incidental fees. International students pay CAD$94,141.40 annually.
The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine offers a variety of funding opportunities to its students. The school does its best to ensure that each student can enter and finish the program despite the steep medical school tuition fees. You should know that most UofT MD students do incur some debt by accessing government student assistance programs and professional student lines of credit. However, there are some grants and bursaries that are offered by the school. As you research these opportunities, make sure to check if you meet the eligibility requirements. Please visit this page to learn about the scholarships that are offers and other important information about your funding options. Learn more about how much medical school costs in our blog.
To apply to the University of Toronto medical school, you will be using the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS). This is the general OMSAS application timeline:
September 15: Deadline to create an OMSAS account. Your requests for references should be made by this date.
October 1st: The deadline to submit your online application via OMSAS. This is also the deadline for the initial transcripts and academic documents, the three Confidential Assessment Forms (CAFs), and payment. 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 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: 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.
June 30th: Deadline for OMSAS to have received final transcripts.
Let’s consider the University of Toronto medical school requirements you need to know about to complete your application.
Coursework and Prerequisites
You must complete at least three years of study (the equivalent of 15 credits) towards your Bachelor’s degree in a discipline of your choosing by the end of April in the year of entrance to the MD program. If you are applying in the final year of a three-year or four-year degree program, you must complete the degree requirements and provide proof of completion before you enroll in the MD program. If you are applying in the third year of a four-year degree program, you must provide proof that you have completed the requirements of that year of your degree before you enroll in the MD program.
In terms of medical school prerequisites, you must complete two full-course equivalents (FCEs) in any life sciences and one full-course equivalent in any social sciences, humanities, or a language.
UofT has a fairly strict medical school GPA requirement. The applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 on a 4.0 OMSAS scale to be considered. However, admissions statistics show that matriculants into this MD program typically have a GPA of at least 3.8. To calculate your GPA, the school will use all undergraduate course grades obtained during the fall, winter, and summer terms on a full-time basis, i.e. 3 or more FCEs during the fall/winter, and 1.5 or more FCEs during the summer terms. You are eligible to drop 2.0 FCEs of lowest grades if you have taken a full course load during the regular academic year (September to April of most programs) in each year of your undergraduate studies.
If you’re a graduate student, your GPA must be no less than 3.0 on the 4.0 scale to be considered for the program. Statistics show that 3.7 is the average GPA of graduate students matriculating into the UofT MD program.
You must have a score of 125 in each MCAT section, with an allowance of 124 in one of the sections. Your MCAT score cannot be older than 5 years at the time of application. Important to note, your MCAT score is not used competitively. All you need to do is meet the required minimum to continue in the admissions process. Remember, you will not be considered for the program if your MCAT score does not meet the expected threshold. Preparing for the MCAT is a laborious and long process that requires time and dedication, so make sure you know when to start studying for the MCAT. Read a lot of challenging materials and use MCAT CARS practice passages to get ready for the test. Take the MCAT diagnostic test to get an idea of your baseline and what areas of knowledge you need to improve. Create a thorough MCAT study schedule and change it to correspond to your improvements and challenges. You need to be scoring consistently in the 90th percentile before you take the actual test. If you are still wondering “When should I take the MCAT?”, make sure to read our blog. To get help with different sections of the MCAT, make sure to check out our MCAT biology questions, MCAT chemistry questions, MCAT physics equations, and MCAT psychology blogs.
Academic explanations essay
This additional essay component allows you to address any discrepancies in your academic history and your application. If your transcript has gaps, course withdrawals, or if you carried less than a full course load, you have the chance to explain your reasons in the academic explanations essay. You should also use this section to document your participation in an educational exchange program, a professional experience year, or co-op program, and the time frame of these activities. Although some of this information may be included in other parts of your application, you should also include this here. If there is any reason why you believe your transcript does not reflect your true ability, please outline your circumstances in the academic explanations essay.
UofT designates four clusters, based on the CANMeds Framework, that identify and describe the abilities a physician must possess to effectively meet the healthcare needs of their patients:
1. Professional: maturity, reliability, perseverance, and responsibility
2. Communicator/collaborator/manager: communication, collaboration, teamwork, time management, and leadership
3. Advocate: advocacy, community service, and social responsibility
4. Scholar: academic standing, achievements in leadership, research, and social responsibility as demonstrated by, but not limited to, awards, conference presentations, publications, and scholarships
These four clusters and their associated skills and qualities will be evaluated based on your autobiographical sketch, brief personal essays, and reference letters.
Not unlike the AMCAS Work and Activities section, your OMSAS Autobiographical Sketch is a comprehensive list of your activities outside of school since the age of 16. You will organize them into six categories: employment, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities, awards and accomplishments, research, and other. UofT does not expect a specific number of activities or number of hours – what matters is the quality of your experiences. There are also no activities that would give you a competitive edge. Remember to include structured and non‑structured experiences that demonstrate your experiences and abilities. For example, in addition to including volunteer work coordinated by an organization, identify volunteer activities you performed in non-structured circumstances, i.e. helping an elderly neighbor by driving them to their medical appointments, volunteering to help run a neighbor's farm, etc. Each of your activities must be accompanied by the name of a verifier and their contact information. OMSAS will arrange the Autobiographical Sketch in the order required by the school.
Brief Personal Essays
You will need to write 4 brief personal essays that address the questions I outline below. These essays are similar in purpose and style to the American medical school secondary essays. Each response must answer specific prompts and be 250 words or less. The word count does not include titles, references, or verifiers if you choose to include these. UofT may choose to check your essays for plagiarism.
1. Tell us about a time when you had to work with instructions/information that was in conflict with your core values.
2. Connectors, according to Malcolm Gladwell, are the people in a community who know a large number of people and who are in the habit of making introductions that bring groups of people together for a common function or purpose. Gladwell attributes the social success of “Connectors” to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” Only a few of us are born “Connectors”, but all of us at one time or another have had to serve in a “Connector” role. Tell us about such a time in your life. Did it come naturally to you, and if not, how did you overcome your hesitations?
3. Presenting one's opinion in the media can be dangerous. In today's world, instant responses via mainline media and social media can be harsh, critical, and hurtful. Social media shouting at each other seems to have become the norm, rather than a thoughtful, respectful conversation. As a leader of a social advocacy group, you have to make an announcement that you know will be unpopular with some members of your group and/or members of the larger community. How would you handle an ensuing social media storm?
4. Describe an instance where you were obliged to take a course or other educational activity that you would not normally have taken. What did you learn from that experience?
Just like with other Ontario medical schools, you will not be able to submit traditional medical school recommendation letters. You are required to send OMSAS three Confidential Assessment Forms (CAF) as part of your application. These references will be evaluated according to the same four clusters I previously listed. Make sure to provide your referees with the clusters, as well as their attributes, activities, and achievements descriptions to ensure that they can speak to some or all of them in their CAF. Make sure that the whole range of clusters is represented among the three references as a whole (individual references may speak to a specific cluster or clusters of attributes, activities, and achievements). Additionally, provide your referees with your transcripts, CV, and any other document that may help them write a stellar reference for your UofT application.
Interview selection is based on file review scores. Interview dates are assigned at random as file reviews are completed and do not reflect any ranking in UofT’s admissions process. If you are not selected for an interview, you will receive a refusal letter. Interview invitations and refusal letters continue to be sent until the last interview date as the files are reviewed.
The University of Toronto's medical school uses the interview format which they developed, i.e. the Modified Personal Interview (MPI). Both in-person and virtual MPI interview formats will be used for admission to the UofT's MD program. The MPI consists of four independent interviews assessed by four different interviewers. Interviewers may include physicians, medical students, residents, health professionals, and community members. Each interview is approximately 12 minutes in length. The virtual MPI also consists of four independent interviews assessed by four different raters. Each virtual interview is completed in sequence and you will have approximately 5 minutes for each.
To get ready for your interview, make sure to research how to prepare for video interviews. Remember, your strategy for how to prepare for your med school interview should not change drastically if the interview is conducted virtually. Make sure to practice with medical school interview questions and MMI questions. You can also review panel interview questions, as they can be easily incorporated into any interview format.
Check out some sample medical school interview questions and answers:
The University of Toronto medical school admission offers are tied to a particular campus. If you decline the campus, you also decline the offer from the university in general. You cannot change the campus in your offer or ask to be put on a waitlist for the other campus. You will use the OMSAS to send your response to the offer. Make sure you check the deadlines for submission of your response stated in the offer. You must submit an electronic and a hard copy of the Response and Consent Form before the indicated deadline.
UofT does have a waitlist. If a space becomes available, the MD program will contact the next person on the list. It is difficult to predict how many additional offers will be made or when, but UofT typically keeps people on the waitlist until the beginning of classes. Final invitations to applicants on the waitlist will be sent as late as September. Learn how to get off a medical school waitlist in our blog.
Admissions Email: [email protected]
1. Should I apply if my GPA and MCAT are slightly below the minimum requirements, even though I qualify in terms of the other requirements?
All applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements to be eligible for the program. If you do not meet the minimum academic requirements, your chances to continue in the admissions process are slim to none.
2. Do I have to have a certain grade in my prerequisite courses to qualify for admission?
No, you must simply pass the prerequisites.
3. For MD-PHD applicants, can I have duplicate referees in addition to the graduate supervisor (e.g. references that were used for the MD application)?
You are allowed some duplicate referees, but their letters for MD-PhD should focus on your qualities that relate to this program, i.e. your scientific ability and potential.
4. How many years of undergraduate studies do I have to complete to apply?
If you are a Canadian applicant, you must complete at least three years in a program that would lead to a Bachelor’s degree. If you are applying during your third year of study, you must have the equivalent of 15 credits by the end of the third year and have completed the requirements of your degree. Candidates who apply during their fourth year are expected to be completing the equivalent of 20 credits or completing their four-year degree. If you do not meet these requirements, you can outline the reasons in the Academic Explanations Essay on the OMSAS application.
If you are an American applicant, you must complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree. International students must complete the equivalent of a four-year Canadian Bachelor's degree.
5. Is preference given to Ontario applicants? Is there a quota associated with residency or citizenship?
6. Is there an undergraduate program of study that is most suitable for admission to the MD Program?
No, you can pursue the study of any discipline.
7. How is the MCAT used in the application process?
The MCAT score is not included in an overall academic calculation but is used as a threshold. If you apply with a score lower than the threshold, you jeopardize the success of your application. Applications without MCAT scores will not be considered. Your MCAT score must be no older than 5 years at the time of application. Only your most recent MCAT scores will be considered.
8. How many extracurriculars do I need to succeed?
There is no set amount of experiences you need to indicate in your Autobiographical Sketch. You will not be penalized for having more clinical activities than research, or vice versa. You will not be penalized if you have fewer extracurricular/volunteer activities because of your need for employment. There is no required number of activities or a required number of hours. Remember, the quality of your experiences will always trump their quantity.
9. You said nothing about CASPer. Do I need to submit my score?
No, the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine is not one of the medical schools that require CASPer.
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