MD/PhD Programs in Ontario

MD/PhD Programs in Ontario

Interested in pursuing one of the five MD/PhD programs in Ontario? You’ve come to the right place! In this post I’ve gathered information on every single MD/PhD program currently offered in Ontario, along with application requirements.

MD/PhD programs in Ontario can be found at University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, Queen's University, and University of Ottawa.
There are 5 universities in Ontario that offer MD/PhD programs.

When I was working on my MD/PhD application in 2019, I remember being so overwhelmed by the number of programs available and the complexity of navigating their differing requirements. Hopefully this post helps you breeze through application season with a bit more ease!

Note: Program information (e.g., application requirements, etc.) found below reflects the current 2020/2021 application cycle only. Information and requirements might change from year-to-year. I will do my best to keep this post updated yearly, but please check the program website to ensure that you are aware of the most up-to-date information before submitting your application. I have tried to include relevant links wherever possible so that you can easily reference the school’s website for yourself. If I have missed any details or information is inaccurate, please let me know.

1. University of Toronto MD/PhD Program

Due Dates: October 1st, 2020 (OMSAS, personal essay, references); October 6th, 2020 (Academic CV, upload to SAM)

The MD/PhD program at U of T accepts approximately 8 students per year, making it the largest MD/PhD program in Ontario. These 8 students are selected from a pool of about 45 interviewees. Most of the application materials for this school are uploaded directly to OMSAS and are due at the time of the OMSAS application. The academic CV is due shortly after, and is uploaded to OMSAS via the Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) system. Don’t forget to indicate that you are also applying to the MD/PhD program in the ‘Program Choices’ section of OMSAS.

Required application materials:

  • Personal essay (no more than 250 words), responding to the question: “Reflecting on your personal and research experiences to date, how does your experience relate to your decision to pursue a physician scientist pathway, and the kind of ideas that you wish to pursue in your PhD?
  • Academic CV, which must be uploaded via the Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) system on OMSAS after you have submitted your OMSAS application. The due date for uploading your CV is usually about 1 week after the OMSAS due date (i.e., October 6, 2020).
  • Three reference letters (separate from your three MD application reference letters – yes, you need 6 reference letters in total), submitted through OMSAS. Two out of the three letters should be from faculty who can comment on your abilities and potential as a scientist (if you are in a Masters program, one letter must be from your supervisor). All letters should be printed on official letterhead, and there is no template or form to fill out. Instead, your referees should write in free-form about the following subjects:
    • potential for success as a clinician scientist
    • capacity to succeed in both an undergraduate medical and a PhD curriculum
    • self-starting behaviour
    • contribution to the research in which the candidate was involved, including publications, if any
    • capacity to learn from others

University of Toronto also offers the option for 1st and 2nd year MD students to apply for the MD/PhD program. The same three application materials are required (i.e., personal essay, academic CV, and 3 reference letters), but these should simply be emailed or delivered to their MD/PhD office instead of going through OMSAS.

Funding:

  • $34,000 CAD per year

Streams:

  • Sequential: 1st year of MD – 4 to 5 year PhD – last 3 years of MD
  • Integrated: 4 year MD (with integrated research) – 2 to 4 year PhD

2. McMaster University MD/PhD Program

Due Dates: October 1st, 2020 (OMSAS); November 2nd, 2020 (additional materials)

McMaster University offers a 7-year MD/PhD program, accepting up to 3 students per year. MD/PhD applicants must have a minimum of 3.8/4.0 GPA in their final 2 years of undergraduate studies, and a minimum 3.0/4.0 overall GPA. MD/PhD applicants also require a minimum score of 127 on the CARS section of the MCAT. Additional application materials (listed below) are submitted through McMaster’s MD/PhD portal. Don’t forget to indicate that you are also applying to the MD/PhD program in the ‘Program Choices’ section of OMSAS.

Currently, McMaster MD/PhD students can only complete their PhD in one of the following programs:

  • Medical Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • Health Policy
  • Health Research Methodology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Neuroscience

Required application materials:

  • Research Questionnaire and Statement of Interest, which helps establish why you want to be / would be a good clinician-scientist.
  • Academic CV outlining your research experience and achievements.
  • Two reference letters (separate from your 3 OMSAS MD application reference letters – so you will require a total of 5 letters) addressing your research skills and potential.

Funding:

  • minimum of $21,700 CAD per year, ONLY for the PhD portion of the degree

Streams:

  • Integrated: 1 year PhD – 1.5 year MD (pre-clerkship) – 3 year PhD – 1.5 year MD (clerkship)

3. University of Western Ontario MD/PhD Program

Due Dates: October 1st, 2020 (OMSAS); December 1st, 2020 (additional materials)

The University of Western Ontario offers up to 3 spots in their MD/PhD program per year. Additional application materials (listed below) must be sent to the MD/PhD office via email or snail mail. Don’t forget to indicate that you are also applying to the MD/PhD program in the ‘Program Choices’ section of OMSAS.

MD/PhD students at Western have the freedom of choosing any PhD program to study in.

Required application materials:

  • MD/PhD Application Form, which helps establish why you want to be / would be a good clinician-scientist.
  • Academic CV outlining your research experience and achievements.
  • Statement of Interest explaining your interest in the program and career as a clinician-scientist. Make sure to include your research accomplishments and research areas you would be interested in studying.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate studies (unofficial copies are fine).
  • Two reference letters (separate from your 3 OMSAS MD application reference letters – so you will require a total of 5 letters), including a ranking of your skills and a written portion to elaborate on the skills assessment.

Funding:

  • $10,000 per year for the MD portion
  • graduate student stipend (depends on the PhD department) for the PhD portion

Streams:

  • Sequential: 3 year PhD – 4 year MD
  • Integrated: 2 year MD (pre-cerkship) – 3 year PhD – 2 year MD (clerkship)

4. Queen’s University MD/PhD & MD/Masters Programs

Due Dates: October 1st, 2020 (OMSAS); October 13th, 2020 (additional materials)

In addition to their MD/PhD program, Queen’s University offers students a Masters/MD program. Additional application materials (listed below) must be sent to the MD/PhD office via email or snail mail. Don’t forget to indicate that you are also applying to the MD/PhD program in the ‘Program Choices’ section of OMSAS. MD/PhD and MD/Masters students at Queen’s can complete the graduate portion of their degree in one of the following programs:

  • Biomedical Engineering (collaborative program)
  • Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
  • Cancer Research (collaborative program)
  • Computing
  • Chemistry
  • Epidemiology
  • Kinesiology and Health Studies
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathology and Molecular Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Translational Medicine

Required application materials:

  • MD/PhD-MD/Masters Application Form.
  • Academic CV outlining your research experience and achievements.
  • Letter of Intent explaining your research accomplishments and interests, indicating the graduate programs you would are interested in.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate studies (photocopies are fine).
  • Abstracts from any publications you have.
  • Two reference letters (separate from your 3 OMSAS MD application reference letters – so you will require a total of 5 letters), including a ranking of your skills and a letter elaborating on the skills assessment.

Funding:

  • $25,000 per year for the MD portion of MD/PhD; $15,000 per year for the first two years of the MD portion of MD/Masters
  • graduate student stipend (depends on the graduate school department) for the PhD/Masters portion

Streams:

  • MD/Masters: 2 years MD (pre-clerkship) – 2 year Masters – 2 years MD (clerkship)
  • MD/PhD: 2 years PhD – 2 years MD (pre-cerkship) – 1 year PhD – 2 years MD (clerkship)

5. University of Ottawa MD/PhD Program

Due Date: October 1st, 2020 (OMSAS & additional application materials)

The University of Ottawa admits up to 4 MD/PhD students per year. Typically, there are around 100 applicants, and approximately 10 are selected for an interview. Additional application materials (listed below) must be sent to the MD/PhD office via email or snail mail. Don’t forget to indicate that you are also applying to the MD/PhD program in the ‘Program Choices’ section of OMSAS. MD/PhD students at the University of Ottawa can complete the graduate portion of their degree in one of the following programs:

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Medicine (with or without a specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics)
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Biology (Faculty of Science)

Required application materials:

  • Academic CV outlining your research experience and achievements.
  • Letter of Interest explaining why you are applying to the MD/PhD program and discussing your research interests.
  • Two reference letters (separate from your 3 OMSAS MD application reference letters – so you will require a total of 5 letters), preferably from previous research advisors or science teachers/professors.

Funding:

  • $3,000 CAD per term (Admission Scholarship) plus a minimum of $19,000 per year (graduate student stipend) for the PhD portion of the program

Streams:

  • Integrated: 2 years MD (pre-clerkship) – 3 year PhD – 2 years MD (clerkship)

Are you applying to MD/PhD programs this year? Should I write a post about other MD/PhD programs in Canada? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you and am happy to answer any questions or give advice.

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