How to Navigate the Ontario Medical School Application Process
For students interested in attending medical school in Ontario Canada, you’ve made a great decision. Ontario is Canada’s largest province and home to both Canada’s largest city (Toronto) and the Canadian Capital (Ottawa). Due to the large population base of the province, Ontario is home to the largest collection of medical schools in the country with six (6) well established and high-quality medical schools.
Applying to medical schools in Ontario is a fairly streamlined process as all the schools have a common application process via the not-for-profit Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS), which is a division of the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). While each school has their own specific application requirements and materials, all documents are handled centrally by OMSAS for security and efficiency.
Each applicant to OMSAS needs to create an account during the application cycle. For applicants of the 2023 medical school admissions class, OMSAS reports the application portal opened on July 7, 2022. It is important to choose an email address for login and communications that will not expire at any point during the application process.
The six (6) Ontario medical schools and basic application requirements
(for 2023) are as follows:
1) University of Toronto (MD Program, Temerty Faculty of Medicine) – 259 students/yr
2) McMaster University (Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine) – 203 students/yr
3) University of Ottawa – 120 students/yr (English stream)
4) Queen’s University – 100 students/yr
5) Western University (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry) – 171 students/yr
6) Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) – 64-68 students/yr
Key Application Timelines
Refer to the updated deadlines applications from OMSAS for the 2023 entry application cycle. However, they generally recommend that all your references have been submitted by mid-September, and the deadline for completed applications to be fully submitted online for the 2023 admission cycle is October 3rd, 4:30pm EST (always refer to OMSAS for most up to date guidance).
Always leave extra time for proofreading your completed application and personal letters. Rare is the application that doesn’t require a few last-minute corrections or something that was missed on the first go round. Having your application and reference letters completed a week or two before the deadline will leave you feeling more at ease when the deadline day approaches.
Notification of interviews are normally sent in January or February, and the medical school interviews themselves will follow in February-March.
Expect to hear decisions about Offers of Admission around May for those with firm offers. Those who are waitlisted may not hear until the summer months. I’ve heard of some people not getting off the waitlist until a couple weeks before classes start, so don’t lose hope if you’re waitlisted!
Orientation week to those successful medical school applicants is usually in August or early September!
Important: For those applying to medical school via a non-traditional undergraduate course timeline, or those completing their graduate school requirements during the spring/summer before the start of medical school, make certain that ALL your requirements to confirm completion of your training (e.g. successful defense of your thesis AND final submission of your thesis with any revisions) are completed on time. Many schools have a strict policy that they will cancel your medical school offer if these requirements are not achieved by a specific date (e.g. June 30th). I personally lived through some anxiety when I was within days of the deadline to submit my final graduate thesis to make sure I could enter medical school classes a couple months later!
Due to OMSAS receiving government support, and all medical schools in Ontario operating out of publicly funded schools, the fees in Ontario are more reasonable than some other jurisdictions:
(2023 fees listed in Canadian Dollars)
OMSAS Application Service Fee: $220.
1) University of Toronto Fee: $130
2) McMaster University Fee: $125
3) University of Ottawa Fee: $125
4) Queen’s University Fee: $125
5) Western University Fee: $125
6) Northern Ontario School of Medicine Fee: $125
… So expect to spend around $750-950 in OMSAS fees if you apply to most or all schools each cycle.
Additional expenses during the application cycle may include official transcript request fees, MCAT fees, CASPer fee, courier fees (although many application materials can be submitted electronically), costs to complete required CPR courses, police record checks, and costs to travel to different schools for tours, interviews, etc.
Read on to Part 2 of Applying to Medical School in Ontario.
Important: This summarized information is for reference purposes only, refer to the OMSAS website and each school’s admission criteria for detailed instructions and requirements that are not captured in this article.