How many years to study medicine in Canada

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina


Do you want to get the latest and most accurate information on how many years to study medicine in Canada, how many years to become a doctor in canada & study medicine in canada for free? Then, all you have to do is read the article below to know more and gain full access to that information.

Not just that, you will find related posts on how to get into medical school in canada, undergraduate medical courses in canada for international students & medical schools in canada requirements on collegelearners.

There are 17 medical schools in Canada offering education to become a doctor. However, it is extremely unlikely for an international student to get into medical school in Canada.


Applicants who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot apply for medical studies, a.k.a. Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs, unless on a rare, special arrangement, usually between your goverment and the Canadian government.

Here are the stats:

There are 16 foreign students in first-time year 1 enrolment in Canadian medical schools in year 2016/17.

That is 0.55% out of total 2,883 first-time year 1 enrollment across the country.

(The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, 2017)

Apart from that, it is also worth noting that there is no medical bachelor’s degree/undergraduate studies in Canada. That is, universities do not offer Bachelor’s of Medicine or Bachelor’s of Surgery. Students are usually required to have completed 3 to 4 years of an undergraduate degree program before applying straight to the MD program. Some medical schools set the requirement at 60 credit hours (about 2 years) of undergraduate studies.

A Canadian MD education usually comprises 2 years of pre-clinical courses and 2 years of clinical training, called rotation. This is different from the 3 + 2 + 1 or extended 3 + 3 +1 medical school arrangements in the United Kingdom, and 4 + 2 arrangements in the United States, India, and many other countries.

For international students who wish to study medical-related fields in Canada, there are other options: consider taking up studies in some otherareas of specialization in the medical field.

Some fields that are alternative or related to medical studies include:

Medical Research
Public Health
Biological sciences
Organic chemistry
Pharmaceutical chemistry
Medicinal chemistry
Physical therapy
Physical assistant programs
Molecular biology
Biomedical engineering
Medical Radiologic Technology
Optical Sciences
Diagnostic Imaging

**note that depending on your institution, enrollment in these studies fields may still be limited. You will also need additional training or licensure to practice in many of these professions. Please check with your institution directly to know more.

STUDYING MEDICINE & SURGERY (MBBS) In CANADA: Different From How It Works In Nigeria!

A common question that Plumville’s education consultants/agents usually get asked by secondary school leavers in Nigeria is: “What are the requirements for a Nigerian secondary school certificate holder to study medicine and surgery (MBBS) in Canada?”. So, we decided to create this post to address this recurring question.

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

 Studying medicine and surgery (MBBS) in Canada, is NOT similar to how it works in Nigeria.
 An undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree is required to study medicine in Canada.
 A Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (MD, CM) degree in Canada, is technically considered an undergraduate degree in Canada.
 It is VERY difficult for an international (or Nigerian) student to secure an admission into a medical school in Canada.
 Personal statement, autobiographical sketch, undergraduate record (GPA), scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and interviews; are the general admission requirements to study MBBS in Canada.



Studying Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in Canada is significantly different from how it works in Nigeria. Generally, medical students in Canada require a bachelor’s degree for entry. So, most medical students in Canada begin their studies after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in another field, often one of the biological sciences.

In Canada, a medical school is a faculty or school of a university, that trains would-be medical doctors and usually offers a three- to five-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (MD, CM) degree. Although presently most students enter medicine having previously earned another degree, the MD is theoretically considered an undergraduate degree in Canada.

Admission into a medical school is VERY competitive and it is very difficult for an international student (or a Nigerian student) to secure an admission into a medical school in Canada. Even for Canadian citizens, less than 10% of those that apply annually to medical schools are successful. Admission offers are made by individual medical schools, generally on the basis of a personal statement, autobiographical sketch, undergraduate record (GPA), scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)*, and interviews.

So, do you have what it takes to study medicine and surgery (MBBS) in Canada?

What can I do as a medical student to enroll in a Canadian university? How can I fulfill my wish and study medicine in Canada?

The truth is that this field constitutes great competition among Canadian students, especially international students. This is due to the fact that the seats specified by the Canadian government are few.

Indeed, the project of studying medicine in Canada for them requires cooperation from its citizens or permanent residents with serious and accurate criteria.

As a matter of fact, Canada’s spending on medical universities, as well as the provincial tax fees it allocates, makes it difficult to enroll in it. Obviously, this is because of its accurate selectivity and future outlook for building healthy frameworks that absorb their costs and meet their needs.

But do not worry…

Moreover, there are always hopes within us that will help us with more diligence and the will to achieve our human goals. Indeed, the academic achievement needs to search for the best ways that contribute to building our cognitive needs.

Basically, Canada remains a distinctive destination for university education, and medicine, so get rid of any ​​indolence and start over!

Let’s start to get to know the specialty of medicine in Canada via this complete guide.

Duration of studying medicine in Canada

Study MBBS in Canada : Top Universities, Entry Requirements & Cost of  Studying

The duration of the medical program in Canadian universities takes from three to five years, according to the specifics and requirements of each university.

First, in order to enroll in medical school in Canada, the student must have either a bachelor’s degree in biology or other related field or an undergraduate degree.

From then on, the student will have to follow a preparatory year which will enable him/her to acquire a solid foundation in biology, human and social sciences.

Next are the pre-extern years (usually two years), during which students acquire basic skills and begin to be put into practice.

Finally, the last two years are those of the extern which consist mainly of hospital internships.

At the end of these 4 or 5 years, the new doctoral student must complete his or her residency. To do so, he or she must practice in a hospital setting, in general medicine or in specialized medicine between 2 and 5 years before he or she can legally practice medicine.

School System

All seventeen medical schools offer integrated study programs for the Medicine Doctor (MD) degree, which is the first professional diploma that a medicine specialty student can obtain in Canada.

Each government, especially the governorate that hosts the college, determines the number of seats required to study in it according to its absorptive and financing capacity, as well as according to its future needs for health frameworks.

Although the student has the right to apply to more than one Canadian college, most of the admitted Canadian citizens or permanent residents belong to the province to which the college is affiliated to.

Obviously, Canada’s medical education system, as already indicated in the introduction, allows international students to enroll in only some, but not all, of Canada’s universities.

Hence, we can now start to learn about the conditions of study for international students after we become familiar with the general conditions of selection.

Obviously, there are some colleges that sign agreements with governments and international institutions to fill their seats when needed. At last, we invite you to contact the Ministry of Education in your country, in order to familiarize yourself with these opportunities.

Pre-conditions to study medicine in Canada

Language tests
Basically, accepted English language tests are: TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB, CAEL. Some individual schools may require other tests, however, you should check it early.

Learn more about IELTS test.

Afford the costs of studying
As a matter of fact, foreign students without permanent residence in Canada, are required to provide all costs related to the full medical education in order to proceed with the initial enrollment.

On the other hand, some medical schools in Canada may also require that the student not apply for post-doctoral training (resident doctor) in Canada. Besides that, the student returns to his country of origin to practice medicine.

Therefore, we invite you to well-investigate about the conditions of each university and every scholarship you want to receive

Learn more about the Cost of Studying and Living in Canada.

Visa application
As a matter of fact, an international student who wishes to study medicine in Canada also bears responsibility for owning a student visa that enables him to access the country.

As an illustration, all relevant considerations remain within the framework of the student’s research and inquiries through the Canadian embassy or consulate within his country of origin.

Learn more about obtaining a study visa in Canada

Stages of admission to medicine study in Canada
If the travel to Canada is possible and there is no legal consideration against it, we come to the candidacy stage for colleges and the criteria for admission to colleges, which differ from one college to another.

However, here we will discuss the general standards summarized in three steps:

Initial selection
As a matter of fact, most governorates require students who are candidates for at least two years of study before applying to it.

It is also concerned that they have undergone courses in basic sciences that qualify them to study medicine.

Next, the selection process begins in which the student submits a Grade Point Average (GPA) of no less than 3.5 / 4.0. Please note that acceptable seat holders have a rating of about 3.80 / 4.0.

In the context of more attention to the type of students enrolled, colleges prefer that students present in the initial selection phase an article or chart outlining the candidate’s achievements, aspirations as well as accumulations that he/she achieved in developing his/her personality.

Moreover, it obliges the student to submit letters of notification signed by the institutions or organizations he studied or worked with, which show the extent of his ability to interact positively with issues and serious scientific involvement in the medical study path.

Furthermore, some medical schools in Canada also depend,after their initial selection, on the results of the MCAT admission test atMedical Universities Admission Test, or on the CASPer (Computer-BasedAssessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics).

Acceptance tests
MCAT test
The MCAT is a transit pass for the rest of the selectionstages in most Canadian medical schools. Basically, it is a standardized examthat includes multiple-choice questions, designed to assess how to solveproblems, logic of reasoning, and writing skills.

The student is also assessed within this test in the priorknowledge and concepts he had which introduce him/her to the officialuniversity medicine program.

The test is divided into four sections:

Each of these sections includes multiple-choice questions, which are graded from the lowest point 1 to 15.
Oral reasoning and inferring section
Physical Sciences Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Structural Editing Department: Students are tested bywriting two essays, and are evaluated with grades from the lower J to thehigher T.

CASPer test
An online exam with a duration of 90 minutes. Basically, it’s designed to identify the key to the character, as well as professional skills that qualify the student to succeed and graduate.

The test takes place in 12 stages, some of which are relatedto how to answer 3 questions in 5 minutes after watching a video and readingtexts on a specific subject. Others are related to general questions todiscover the ability to self-analyze.

Moreover, it should be noted that this test has becomeaccredited by some medical schools, instead of the MCAT test.

Oral interview
There are two types of interviews that students undergoafter the initial selection based on their candidacy file and passing thewritten test:

The first type: the standard traditional interview
In which the candidate sits in front of a testing committeecomposed of distinguished professors and students, and some college staff.

The second type of interview: The multiple mini-interview (MMI):
It is a competition from six to ten short interviews thattake place in stages. Each of them has different axes. Firstly, the candidate istested in a series of questions. Only after success, he/she can pass to thenext series of questions.

As a matter of fact, the MMI method of oral testing is prevalent in most Canadian medical schools. Also, it has found its way today for many medical schools in the rest of the world.

Medical universities in Canada
There are 17 universities in Canada that teach medicine of all kinds (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing …), but only 8 of them open their doors to international students to benefit from their program.

As an illustration, we classify it here according to its geographical location from east to west:

1) Memorial University
Basically, this university is located on the island of “Newfoundland”. Moreover, the years of study are limited to 4 years after its obligations to students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in one of the introductory science departments to medicine, and English language accreditation.

GPA required: 3.85 / 4.0
MCAT Pass: Yes.
CASPer Pass: No.
Interview type: MMI.
Number of seats accepted in 2019/2020: 80.
Link to registration at Memorial College of Medicine.

2) Dalhousie University
The university is located in the province of“Novascotia”. The years of study are 4 years without requiring thesubmission of a bachelor’s degree, with accreditation of the English language.

Required GPA: 3.86 / 4.0
MCAT Pass: Yes.
CASPer Pass: Yes.
Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 109.
Link to registration at Dalhousie University School of Medicine

3) Laval University
As a matter of fact, the University of Laval College of Medicine is located in the Canadian city of Quebec. The years of study are 4 to 5 years, depending on the university’s pre-capacity. It may require an integrated preparatory year.

Laval University also depends on its teaching program on theFrench language.

Required GPA: Not available / not required.
MCAT Pass: No.
CASPer Pass: Yes.
Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2019/2020: 221.
Link to registration on the University of Laval College of Medicine website.

4) Sherbrooke University
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Sherbrooke is located in Quebec City and adopts the French language in its four-year teaching program.

Moreover, the candidate shall be obligated to provide the diploma of the preparatory departments accredited by the Ministry of Education in Quebec.

Basically, the city of Quebec has public institutions thatrepresent preparatory departments for various scientific and technicaldisciplines, called Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP).

Obviously, the uniqueness of this university is that it depends on its primary selection on the first secondary and university academic results, without adopting the other types of grades and tests.

Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 199.
At last, for more information about the College of Medicine program and admission stages, visit this link on the Sherbrooke University website.

5) University of Montreal
The College of Medicine of the University of Montreal is located in the Canadian city of Montreal.

Moreover, it adopts the French language in its teaching of the initial medicine program, which ranges from 4 to 5 years depending on the student’s pre-knowledge.

This university does not commit the candidate to any test inits initial selection. Rather, it depends on the candidacy file and thestudent’s high school results, then its university results for the preparatoryyears to which he/she is committed.

Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 291.
Link to registration at the University of Montreal, to study at the Faculty of Medicine.

6) McGill University
Basically, McGill University School of Medicine is located in the Canadian city of Montreal. Both French and English are taught in the four-year program.

Likewise, the student is obliged to submit a preparatory year certificate prepared for the medical specialization.

As a matter of fact, the student is obligated through the mandatory admission criteria to present a CEGEP certificate which is introductory to medicine study in Canada: only if he or she wishes to pursue a program other than the MD program.

Required GPA: 3.5 / 4.0
MCAT Pass: Yes.
CASPer Pass: Yes.
Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 179.
Link to registration at McGill University School of Medicine.

7) University of Toronto
The College of Medicine is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The English language is taught in its four-year initial medicine program. Besides, it obligates the candidate to obtain a university degree in one of the fields introducing him/her to the field of medicine.

Required GPA: 3.6 / 4.0
MCAT Pass: Yes.
CASPer Pass: No.
Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 259.
Indeed, Ontario Province is distinguished by the Ontario Medical Schools Application Service (OMSAS).

Basically, it receives and reviews requests, as well as receiving the initial registration fees that students pay at the initial registration. This service also announces the results of the various stages of selection and testing.

OMSAS service link for university registration and follow-up appointment.

8) McMaster University
This university is located in the county of Ontario, and italso accredits OMSAS service.

Moreover, the McMaster University School of Medicine includes 3 years in the initial medicine program in English.

Besides, the candidate is obligated to provide an undergraduate certificate in one of the majors leading to medicine, at least three years.

Required GPA: 3.0 / 4.0
MCAT Pass: Yes.
CASPer Pass: Yes.
Interview type: MMI.
The number of seats accepted in 2018/2019: 203.
There are 6 medical colleges at the Canadian University ofOntario, and international students can choose only between McMaster andToronto.

How to register in Medical University in Canada
As previously mentioned in the previous sections, the registration and admission process begin in the medical universities in Canada by looking at the candidacy file that the student is obliged to present for the various open colleges within the specified deadlines.

You can maintain links to each site separately, and follow the nominations and then the admission stages.

After the initial selection process, come the written than oral tests.

The question now: How much does it cost to study medicine inCanada, after what we have seen of its stimulating advantages?

The costs of studying medicine in Canada
The costs of studying medicine in Canada, which studentspay, are only a fraction of what the provinces and colleges ’governments spend.This is due to the expenses that the course and its careful training require.

These fees are associated with the type of program chosen to study medicine in Canada, the place of residence of the student. Then, in case he/she is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or a foreign student.

Likewise, it may differ from one level to another, and from one university to another.

Basically, the cost that the Canadian citizen student or permanent resident will pay is estimated at 16,798 Canadian dollars per year, while in Ontario the province may reach $ 27,304 / year.

As for foreign students, it may start from $ 27,379 at theUniversity of Sherbrooke, and reach in the University of Toronto to $ 72,840 /year. This is according to Statistics of the Canadian Association of Collegesof Medicine for the year 2017.

Besides. there are other mandatory fees for all students, related to enrollment only, and ranging between $ 75 and $ 2208.

You may also be interested in learning about the cost of living in Canada

Scholarships to study medicine in Canada
As we have just seen, international students are required to pay high fees to study medicine in Canada. However, be aware that some scholarships cover almost all of the tuition fees. These include the following:

Canada Scholarship Program
Basically, the candidate nomination phase starts from January to March 2020.

Link to the information necessary to prepare the candidacy file. Canada Scholarship Program.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
This scholarship aims to attract distinguished students fromCanada or elsewhere, to pursue a PhD in one of its university institutions.

On the other hand, for the admission criteria, they are associated with three basic determinants: university excellence, research capacity, and communication and leadership competencies.

Find more information about the Vanier Scholarship.

Find out about other scholarships in Canada

Read also about how to study in Canada at the lowest costs

Work as a doctor after graduation in Canada
Basically, becoming a doctor in Canada means ensuring comfortable living, great pay, and a guaranteed career path. Basically, what the doctor earns per year is approximately $ 339,000, according to data from the Canadian Qbank Blog.

However, this depends on your availability for permanentresidency in one of the Canadian provinces, as long as you are a foreignstudent.

Then, the conditions for your work as a doctor in Canadawill be determined as follows:

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, preparatory departments, or their equivalent (according to the university’s request, as mentioned above), in one of the academic specialties leading to the field of medicine. Moreover, this is done at a university accredited by Canada.
After admission to a Canadian medical college open to international students, as well as obtaining a medical degree after four years of study and training.
Pass the placement test as a doctor in Canada, called (Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination MCCEE). Indeed, it is one of the most difficult tests in the world, and the graduate is tested in the various knowledge areas as well as in capabilities necessary for the profession.
Enroll in the Professional Experience Training Program, in which Canada binds its new doctors before any step that will be taken in independent work. (Two years after the General Medicine or Family Medicine Certificate, and 6 years after the Specialty Certificate).

Admission to Medical University in Canada

The competition to enter a faculty of medicine in Canada is very keen so it is important that applicants ensure that they fully meet the entry requirements of each faculty of medicine to which they apply. The applicant’s high school certificate and eventually the type of pre-medical undergraduate degree and institution of study should not deter to apply to any medical school, provided that all academic prerequisites of a given university are met. Not only should applicants plan to meet all academic prerequisites, it is also important to respect all deadline dates. In general, an application or documentation is ignored when received after deadline dates. The incomplete application files are evaluated and rejected.

Medical course in Canada is 3 to 5 year program, depending on Universities and the background of each student.  For 5 year medical study program in Canada, the first year is preparatory year and designed for those students without bachelor degree in appropriate science.  To inter into 4 year medical program, the student must have bachelor degree in Biology or other appropriate field.

Even if Canada has 17 Medical universities offering medical programs (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, etc.) in English and French, Study medicine in Canada in remain one of the most competitive in the world. Only 15 % of Canadian pre-Med students gain admission into medical school in Canada. To achieve goals of become a doctor, most of Canadian students chose medicine abroad in Caribbean, in East Europe and elsewhere.

Most medical faculties required Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills in addition to the examinee’s knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.

The test consists of four test sections: the Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences sections contain multiple-choice questions and the scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 15 for each section; the Writing Sample section consists of two essays and the total score ranges from a low of J to a high of T.

The computer-based test is given at established test centers in Canada, the United States and overseas. Visit the web-site for dates and locations. The overall length of the test day is approximately four and one-half hours. The regular examination fee was $270 in US funds for the 2013 test dates.

Study medicine abroad – Foregh medical students in Canada

International prospective medical students planning to get into Medical University in Canada must keep in mind that not all faculties of medicine accept applications from foreign students. Conversely, some faculties of medicine have contracts with foreign governments or institutions to accept applications for “supernumerary” positions. The conditions of admission may require that the faculty of medicine will be compensated for the entire cost of medical education, the student will not apply for post-MD (residency) training in Canada and these graduates will return to their countries of origin to practice medicine.

Study medicine abroad – Canadian medical student abroad

If for any reason an applicant decides to seek admission to a medical faculty outside Canada, some important factors must be borne in mind. The most important of these is that returning to practice medicine in Canada may prove difficult. This is not meant to deter individuals from seeking education in abroad. Some Canadian citizens have always gone abroad to study in recognized, reputable universities. Limitations on recognition of foreign earned MDs apply to qualifications earned abroad by citizens as well as by non-citizens of Canada. Strong motivation, determination and adequate academic preparation are in themselves no guarantee that a Canadian citizen who attends a foreign medical faculty will be able to train or practice medicine in Canada in the future.

To Practice in Canada as physician, graduate medical students must be assessed by Medical Council of Canada (MCC), which grant a qualification in medicine known as the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) to graduate physicians who have satisfied the eligibility requirements and passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Parts I and II. The MCC registers candidates who have been granted the LMCC in the Canadian Medical Register.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *