And The Best Medical Schools In Ontario Are….

… Virtually all of them!   That sounds like a cop-out but it’s true!  And here’s why…

Applications to medical school are extremely competitive, and there are currently only six medical schools in Ontario.

Those medical schools are (in no particular order):

  1. Northern Ontario School of Medicine (Sudbury and Thunder Bay)
  2. University of Toronto
  3. Schulich School of Medicine (London)
  4. Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (Hamilton)
  5. Queen’s University School of Medicine (Kingston)
  6. University of Ottawa.

The newest of those six is the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, which was formed in 2005 as a joint partnership between Laurentian and Lakehead University in an effort to draw more students and aspiring medical professionals to Northern Ontario.

With regards to reputation, the schools are almost equally ranked, though the University of Toronto has consistently been the number-one ranked medical university in Canada on Maclean’s coveted university rankings for several years. Its counterparts, however, are not far behind.

Despite shining reputations, there are different application requirements for all medical schools beyond grade point average. For example, the University of Ottawa’s medical programs does not require a student to take the MCAT examination and only has a short list of very specific course requirements.

Schulich School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine require only the MCAT examination and contain no course prerequisites, meaning a student from any academic background could gain admission to medical school if possessing a satisfactory GPA.

Northern Ontario School of Medicine is the only school to require neither specific courses nor an MCAT examination, looking only at students’ GPAs, their interviews and other miscellaneous assessments. Despite a projected class size of 64 for the upcoming academic year (the next-largest being Queen’s at 100), the school receives only roughly a third of the applications of other universities and keeps its application requirements less specific in order to attract more students to the great white North.

Currently, NOSM does not hold the reputation of its big-city counterparts, but that is mostly attributed to the school’s youth. Much like Northern Ontario itself, the social environment is slightly more laid back as class sizes are smaller than the average medical school. While many underestimate the education standards of Northern universities due to their seemingly rural locations, Laurentian University is emerging as one of Ontario’s most well-reputed universities for medical sciences. The school hosts one of only a handful of radiation therapy programs for aspiring cancer specialists, and is also home to one of the top nursing schools in Canada. For Southern Ontarians looking for a change in location, Northern Ontario is always seeking doctors and would increase a graduate’s odds of getting a job nearby.

Unlike other medical universities in Canada, none of Ontario’s schools reserve spots specifically for students applying from that province, nor do they require higher entrance averages for out-of-province students.

McMaster’s medical school has perhaps the most elitist application process when it comes to out-of-province applicants. While the school does reserve 90 per cent of its interview spots for Ontarians, once students reach the interview stage their province of origin does not matter – and with an average of 4.9% of applicants being admitted to the school, applying to the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is already somewhat of a lottery. The advantage of attending the school is that the program is condensed into three years.

Aspiring Francophone physicians may find their Ontario options limited; only University of Ottawa offers a French medical degree program. The good news is that class sizes are relatively small (a projected 156 entering next year’s class) and applicants only require a three-year degree for entry.
Application requirements aside, those interested in medical school should consider overall what area of Ontario they are most interested in practicing in, as most of Ontario’s medical universities want to steer their students toward working nearby.

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