OMSAS – Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (McMaster University)

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Note: This application guide contains information for fall 2021 admission.

University program information changes regularly. View the application for the most up-to-date details.

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Notice to Applicants: The Undergraduate Medical Education Program looks forward to holding the first full day of classes on Monday, August 9, 2021. This change in start date, which we introduced for the class entering in fall 2019, is 1 aspect of a series of curricular updates that aim to:

  • help you consolidate your knowledge and skills more effectively,
  • improve your performance on licensure examinations, and
  • graduate with greater capability to provide responsive and dynamic patient-centred care as you embark on your professional journey.

Important: Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal ability to access university and clinical training environments may be impacted in an unpredictable way and may result in revisions to program delivery or design.

This could include the manner of delivery of courses, services and possible limits on co-curricular and clinical opportunities.

McMaster continues to work with our relevant partners to maintain the integrity of the education program and to ensure that our graduates are sufficiently prepared to enter residency training programs upon graduation.

About the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University

The School of Medicine, established in 1966 and renamed the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in 2004, offers major programs in undergraduate, postgraduate and graduate medical education.

We initiated the Undergraduate Medical Program for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Degree in 1969, graduating our first students in May 1972. At present, we admit 203 students to the program each year.

In the 3-year program in Medicine, we use a problem-based approach to learning that should apply throughout the physician’s career. The components are organized in sequential blocks with early exposure to patients and case management. The academic program operates on an 11-months-a-year basis, and you qualify for the MD Degree at the end of the third academic year.


We currently operate 3 campuses. The first 3 months of training (Medical Foundation 1) will take place for all students at the Hamilton campus, providing you with the opportunity to get to know your entire class. The curriculum is identical at all 3 campuses and we take full advantage of video conferencing technology to ensure parallel experiences at each campus.

Our Hamilton Campus, which is restricted to pedestrian traffic, is adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens at the western end of Lake Ontario. The campus is minutes from downtown Hamilton and activities that a major city has to offer.

Clinical placements are conducted in local hospitals and outpatient clinics, as well as community physicians’ offices in the surrounding areas, including Guelph, Oakville, Burlington, Brantford, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Newmarket and Mississauga.

Our Niagara Regional Campus is located within the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, with additional classroom and clinical skills space located at the Niagara Health System (NHS) hospital sites.

Clinical placements are provided in outpatient clinics, private offices in various specialties, the Public Health Unit, the NHS sites, Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby.

The Waterloo Regional Campus is located in the University of Waterloo Health Sciences Campus at the corner of King and Victoria Street in the heart of the Innovation District in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. The campus building is also home to the Centre for Family Medicine (CFFM), a privately operated Family Health Team, and is the regional site for the McMaster Family Medicine Residency Program and the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry teaching clinic.

Clinical placements are conducted within physicians’ offices or within local hospitals, including Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Groves Community Memorial Hospital in Fergus, Guelph General Hospital, Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest and North Wellington Hospital in Palmerston.

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Admission Policy and Procedures

Applying to the medical program implies that you accept the admission policies and procedures, and the methods you are chosen by for the program.

Because of the nature of selection procedures, deadlines are strictly enforced. You must provide all relevant documentation by the specified deadlines. You must follow the instructions precisely.

If you fail to comply with the instructions or meet the deadlines, your application will be disqualified.

Our intention is to prepare you to become a physician with the capacity and flexibility to select any area in the broad field of medicine. We select you with this goal in mind. Faculty members, medical students and members of the community are usually involved with assessing applications.

Advanced Standing/Transfer

You are required to begin with Medical Foundation 1. Therefore, there is no provision for advanced standing or transfer into the program.

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The following requirements are for fall 2021 admission. We review the admission policy annually and the requirements from previous years may not apply. The University reserves the right to review and change the admission requirements at any time without notice.

To be considered for an interview, you must meet all requirements described in this policy statement under the following sections:

We invite several hundred applicants for an interview in Hamilton in March or April 2021. We determine invitations for interviews by academic performance, assessment of preparedness for a career in medicine, suitability for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and geographical status.

From this group, we will select a class of 203.

For the incoming class of 2021, we will designate 28 positions for the Waterloo Regional Campus and 28 for the Niagara Regional Campus. If you are invited to the McMaster Multiple Mini‑Interview (MMI), you must rank your campus choice (Hamilton Campus, Waterloo Regional Campus or Niagara Regional Campus) as number 1, 2, 3 or no preference.

We will make offers of admission to the School of Medicine from this master rank list, regardless of campus preference. After the 203 positions are filled, we will offer registrants to the class a position based on their preference and, if required, a rank-weighted lottery.

The offer of admission will be binding to a specific campus.

Academic Eligibility

You must meet the academic requirements described in this section to be considered for admission to the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Undergraduate University Course Work

By May of the year of entry, you must complete a minimum of 15 full courses or 30 half courses (or a combination) of undergraduate university course work. There is no requirement to carry a full course load.

To satisfy this requirement:

  • Your Canadian university academic credentials must be from an institution with academic standards and performance that is consistent with the member institutions of the Council of Ontario Universities.
  • You must be able to consistently demonstrate a high level of academic achievement throughout your undergraduate career.
  • If you completed a diploma at a CEGEP, you must complete at least 2 additional years (10 full courses or 20 half courses) of undergraduate university course work by May of the year of entry.
  • If you have satisfactorily completed the requirements for a baccalaureate degree undertaken at a university in less than 3 years by the application deadline, you are also eligible.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

You must achieve an overall simple average of at least 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale in your undergraduate university work to date by the application deadline.

While this meets the minimum criterion for admission consideration, be aware that, given the rising level of competition for a limited number of positions, a significantly higher grade point average (GPA) would provide you with a more reasonable chance of admission.

  • Grades for supplementary and summer courses will be included in the GPA calculation.
  • Courses that a “pass” or “credit” grade is assigned for are counted for credit but we do not include them in the GPA calculation.
  • If you are attending a program where “pass” or “credit” is given in some courses in lieu of a letter or numerical grade, independent grades from a minimum of 5 half‑year or 5 full‑year courses, in total, are required or we will not consider your application.
  • An overall simple average will consist of all undergraduate university degree credit courses taken, except those taken on foreign exchange, in which we will treat the work of different years equally.
  • You are required to verify your average in the “Document Tracking” section of the OMSAS application. We may also review this average.
  • We will consider your graduate experience in the admission process if it is complete and the degree has been conferred by the application deadline.
  • We will not include individual grades received for course work taken as part of a graduate degree in the GPA calculation.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

You must write the MCAT prior to the application deadline.

The score from the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT will be used for those who wrote the MCAT before April 2015. If you write the new MCAT 2015, the Critical Analysis and Reasoning score will be used in both formulae (offer of interview and advancement to collation [full file review]).

A minimum score of 6 on the Verbal Reasoning component or 123 on the Critical Analysis and Reasoning component is required. The scores on the other sections of the MCAT are not considered in the selection process.

MCAT test results are accepted provided the test was written no more than 5 years prior to the application deadline (i.e., an MCAT written in 2015 or later is acceptable in this application cycle). The most recent test result will be used if you attempt the MCAT more than once.


All applicants to the Undergraduate MD Program at McMaster University are required to complete CASPer to be eligible for admission.

CASPer is an online test that assesses for the personal and professional characteristics we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. It is a compliment to the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

Register your CASPer account and sign up for the CSP-10201 – Canadian Professional Health Sciences version of CASPer using a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times based on the admission timeline and requirements.

Note: These are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test, and you must select McMaster University, Undergraduate Medicine, for distribution before the posted Distribution Deadline.

Familiarize yourself with the most up-to-date information on test dates that can be found by browsing the test dates and times on the CASPer website.

We will not provide exceptions for applicants who are unable to take CASPer during 1 of the available test dates.

Your CASPer score is valid for only 1 application cycle – should you be unsuccessful and re-apply in a subsequent year, you must take CASPer again in the new application year. Altus Assessments, the company who administers CASPer, will charge a fee. Pay this fee directly to Altus Assessments; it is not included in the OMSAS/McMaster application fee.

View the CASPer test structure and schedule.

Graduate Applicants

If you have a completed and conferred graduate degree at the time of application, we will give you additional consideration, to be included in the formula that determines the likelihood of an invitation to interview (master’s degree holder +0.01; PhD degree holder +0.04), providing a significant, though not decisive, advantage.

If you are enrolled in a graduate program at the time you apply, you must arrange for your supervisor, a member of your supervisory committee or the chair of the department to provide a letter indicating that they are aware you intend to apply to medical school. OMSAS should receive this letter by the application deadline. If your graduate supervisor, member of your supervisory committee or chair of the department is 1 of your referees, a second letter is not required.

Application Procedures

Completed OMSAS applications are due by 4:30 pm (ET) on October 1, 2020. Fees paid by credit card are also due at this time.

OMSAS must receive transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you attended, by the application deadline.


  • Referees must submit their Confidential Reference online.
  • Review the OMSAS instructions about references and notify your referees early.
  • Requests for references should be sent to your referees by September 15, 2020, to allow enough time for them to submit their reference by the deadline.
  • Your 3 confidential references are due by the application deadline; however, McMaster will accept references, submitted online via OMSAS, until December 1, 2020, at which time incomplete applications will be cancelled. It is your responsibility to request your references within sufficient time to meet these deadlines.

Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)

You must complete the ABS and provide a verifier for each entry. In some cases, the Admissions Office may wish to verify the activities you describe in the ABS.

English-Language Proficiency

To be granted admission, you must be proficient in spoken and written English.

We expect you to write clearly and correctly in English. All application materials must be submitted in English, otherwise the application will not proceed further in the admission process.

If English is not your first language, you must satisfy at least 1 of the following conditions by the application deadline:

  1. Provide evidence that you achieved a score of at least 86 on the internet‑based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (iBT) with a minimum score of 20 in each of the 4 components, or the equivalent on other recognized tests (McMaster University’s TOEFL code is #0936).
  2. Have attended an educational institution for at least 3 years where instruction was in English.
  3. Have resided in an English‑speaking country for at least 4 years.

Geographical Consideration

The geographical status is determined from the ABS. You may be asked to provide evidence of geographical status.

In selecting applicants for an interview, we will use the bona fide place of residence in the following order of priority:

  1. Province of Ontario
  2. Outside Ontario

We will give 90% of interview positions to those whose place of residence is in the province of Ontario, and 10% to those whose place of residence is outside Ontario.

To qualify for residency in the province of Ontario, you must meet these requirements:

  1. Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) by the application deadline and
  2. have resided in Ontario for at least 3 years, since the age of 14, by the date of possible entry to the program.

Any other applicant qualifies for residency outside Ontario.

Transcript/Registrar Statement Requirements

We will accept transcripts from Ontario universities and colleges ordered through OMSAS via an online transcript request if OMSAS receives the request by the application deadline.

If you attend/attended an Ontario university or college, you must use an online transcript request.

The postsecondary institutions you attended must submit all other required transcripts and registrar statements directly to OMSAS.

If you do not use an online transcript request, you should order transcripts before September 15, 2020, to allow adequate processing time and for OMSAS to receive them by the deadline. Be prepared to send OMSAS a copy of all dated postage receipts and correspondence related to your transcript requests by the application deadline, if required.

In the event of a missing or late transcript, you will be required to provide evidence to McMaster University that you requested transcripts in a timely fashion.

International Transcripts – Credentialing International Grades

Credentialing assessment means converting international academic credentials into their Canadian educational equivalents. Whether you are a Canadian or non‑Canadian applicant, you must have your international transcripts (transcripts from outside Canada or the United States) assessed by World Education Services (WES) if you do not meet the minimum course number requirement using your Canadian or US data.

If you have an international university education and meet the minimum course number requirement with Canadian or US undergraduate university degree‑level work, the international grades will not be used in calculating the GPA. In this case, a WES evaluation is not required; however, the transcript must be sent directly from the international university to OMSAS by the deadline.

WES must send your WES report and a copy of your verified transcript directly to OMSAS by the application deadline.

Note: It is not possible for OMSAS to notify you of any outstanding transcripts before the application deadline. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives all transcripts and registrar statements by the application deadline.

Other Transcript Requirements to Avoid Disqualification

  1. We require that you provide transcripts for all postsecondary courses/programs attended. This includes community colleges, CEGEPs, junior colleges, pre‑university programs, etc.
  2. OMSAS must receive transcripts and grades for courses taken on a “Letter of Permission” at another institution or that transfer credit/advanced standing was granted for, by the application deadline. This applies to courses and terms/semesters of study taken abroad as part of a regular program.
  3. We do not require evaluations of work terms done as part of a co‑operative program.
  4. We will accept only transcripts sent directly to OMSAS by the postsecondary institution(s). We will not accept transcripts sent by you.

Note: OMSAS will ask you to verify your application data in the “Document Tracking” section of the OMSAS application.

Your application will be disqualified if you fail to meet all transcript requirements and deadlines.

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Indigenous Applicants

Facilitated Indigenous Admissions Program (FIAP)

With an understanding that Indigenous learners can face specific barriers or challenges when pursuing higher education, schools and programs within our Faculty of Health Sciences have facilitated admission streams for applicants with Indigenous North American (First Nation, Inuit or Métis) ancestry. This process is intended to provide equitable access to Indigenous applicants and aligns with the intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

Self-Identification Requirements

If you wish to apply through the FIAP, you must complete the supplementary self-identification application in addition to McMaster University and program-specific application processes. Submit the FIAP self-identification application to our Indigenous Health Task Force through the Indigenous Students Health Sciences Office.

Learn more about the FIAP requirements and submit your application.

You are required to complete the OMSAS application and must meet the same minimum academic criteria for admission as set out for general applicants, including:

  • At least 3 years of undergraduate university education by May of the year of entry (15 full courses/30 half courses or a combination),
  • an overall GPA of at least 3.0, as calculated on the OMSAS 4.0 scale by the application deadline,
  • a score of 6 or higher on the MCAT Verbal Reasoning section or 123 or higher on the MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning section and
  • completion of CASPer.

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International Applicants

If you are an interested international applicant, you may apply through the regular process.

If you are an international (Visa) student, you should be aware that admission to the Undergraduate MD Program does not confer eligibility to apply subsequently through the Canadian Residency Matching Service for a residency training position in Canada.

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MD/PhD Program

We offer an integrated MD/PhD program for up to 3 students each year. These students will demonstrate academic excellence and a strong motivation to pursue research as a major component of their future medical career.

If you are successful, you will be admitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences MD/PhD program with PhD studies in 1 of the following graduate programs affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

Presently, these include:

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

To apply to the MD/PhD program, you must submit a separate application (due November 1 of the year of application) to the McMaster MD/PhD program through the McMaster School of Graduate Studies in addition to the OMSAS application.

Contact the Office of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences) for more information or read more about combined MD/PhD degree programs.

Office of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences)
McMaster University
Faculty of Health Sciences, HSC 4H4
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON  L8S 4K1

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The Selection Process

Interviews – the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI)

We will invite approximately 550 applicants to Hamilton for an interview. Because the interviews involve many other people, you must attend on the date and time specified. You are responsible for your travel expenses. We will send you a description, in advance, of how the interviews will be conducted.

We select you for admission based on a composite score that includes, but is not necessarily limited to, GPA, MCAT Verbal Reasoning or Critical Analysis and Reasoning, your CASPer score and your score on the interview. If you are successful, we will notify you by email on the second Tuesday in May.

Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal ability to access university space in large groups may be impacted in an unpredictable way, and may result in a change to our interview process.

Accommodation for Interview

If you require accommodation for a documented disability for the MMI, you must notify the Admissions Office in writing at least 1 month prior to the first interview date. You must provide complete documentation to support your request.

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Information for Successful Applicants

Offers of Admission

We send offers of admission by email on the second Tuesday in May. Acceptance may be conditional upon fulfillment of specific requirements. We will outline these conditions in your offer letter.

If you accept your offer of admission, you are required to make a non-refundable $1,000 deposit that will be applied to Year 1 tuition. Information will be provided to successful applicants.

Wait List

Some applicants who are offered admission do not accept their offer. We maintain a short, ranked wait list for additional offers. We will not disclose an applicant’s position on the wait list (absolute or relative).

Final Transcript

If you receive an offer conditional upon completion of your 3 years of undergraduate education, you will need to provide a final undergraduate transcript to OMSAS by June 30 of the year of application, showing completion of at least 30 half-year courses and a third-year average of at least 3.0 on the 4.0 scale.

Deferral of Registration

We may grant deferred registration only under exceptional circumstances. Normally, you must have accepted your offer of admission and submit your request for deferral in writing within 2 weeks of your offer. The Undergraduate Medical Education Deferral Board will consider deferral requests on a case-by-case basis.

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Requirements for Registration

A registration package will accompany the letter of offer on the second Tuesday in May with information on the conditions of accepting an offer of admission. These include:

Police Information Check

Throughout your medical school program, you will serve vulnerable populations. In an effort to protect these vulnerable people against potential risk of harm, the Ontario Faculties of Medicine and many clinical agencies require that you provide confirmation of the absence of a criminal conviction or outstanding criminal charges.

The police information check, including a Vulnerable Sector Screening, is required by July 31 of the year of entry and by July 31 in each subsequent year you are registered in the MD Program.

Your offer of admission is contingent upon provision of these checks, at your expense. We will review any files presented with a “Not Clear” check to determine what action, if any, will be taken.

For more information about obtaining a police information check with Vulnerable Sector Screening, contact your local police agency.

Immunization/Health Screening

All incoming students must complete the Year 1 Health Screening Record forms by July 15 of the year of entry. Detailed requirements can be found on the Faculty of Health Sciences Office website.

Basic Life Support Training for Health Care Providers

If you are offered admission, you must provide evidence of a current Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers certification by July 31 of the year of entry. Courses are readily available in most communities, from both the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance associations. We will send you specific information before registration.

Essential Skills and Abilities Required for Entry to a Medical Degree Program

In accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and University Policy, we are committed to providing equal access opportunities to all qualified applicants.

To fulfill the requirement of the MD Program and to avoid serious risk to the health and safety of patients, you are required to acquire competency in a wide range of knowledge, skills and abilities. We advise individuals in need of accommodation to contact McMaster Student Accessibility Services and to carefully review the Faculties of Medicine’s Essential Skills and Abilities Required for Entry to Medical Degree Program.

You may also wish to contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to discuss individual practice questions when you are ready to select a specialty or enter into practice.

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False Admission Information

If any application information is found to be false or misleading, concealed or withheld, the application will be deemed invalid and immediately rejected.

If you are already admitted and registered, you may be required to withdraw from the University.

The MD Admissions Committee will usually not allow you to re‑apply to the MD Program for 7 years.

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Notice of Collection of Personal Information

McMaster University collects information you provide to OMSAS as part of your application to our medical program.

This includes the following personal information: Name, home/mailing address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, gender, legal status in Canada and academic history.

The University will use your personal information as necessary for the purpose of administering the admission process, registration, university-related student activities, financial assistance and reporting to government.

Personal information collected through OMSAS will only be accessed by authorized university staff and faculty. The information will be protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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Contact Information

MD Admissions
Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine
McMaster University, MDCL 3104
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON  L8S 4K1
Telephone: 905‑525‑9140, ext. 22235

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