OMSAS – Northern Ontario School of Medicine

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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About NOSM

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s (NOSM) mission is to contribute to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario by advancing the highest quality of medical practice, learning, teaching, research and professionalism.

Our School of Medicine is the Faculty of Medicine of Laurentian University, in Sudbury, and of Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay. With main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, we have multiple teaching and research sites distributed across Northern Ontario, including in large and small communities.

We are committed to educating high-quality physicians and health professionals and to being internationally recognized as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research. Our overall vision is innovative education and research for a healthier North. Our aim is to have class profiles that reflect the demographics of the Northern Ontario population. It is our intention to maximize recruiting students who have lived in Northern Ontario and/or students who have a strong interest in, and aptitude for, practicing medicine in northern urban, rural and remote communities.

We are also committed to recruiting Indigenous, Francophone and Franco-Ontarian students.

Competitive applicants will demonstrate a high level of self-motivation, be self-directed and thrive in a small-group, case-based and distributed-learning environment.

Patient-Centred Curriculum

Based in Northern Ontario, the 4-year MD program at NOSM provides you with a unique mix of learning opportunities in a diverse range of sites, including Indigenous and Francophone communities. Selection for the School’s undergraduate program will favour those who are likely to thrive in the challenging northern and rural learning environments, including applicants from within Northern Ontario, rural and remote areas in the rest of Canada, and Indigenous and Francophone applicants.

Patient-Centred Medicine (PCM) is the major underlying concept of health and medicine in our MD program. PCM is a comprehensive clinical method with 6 interactive components supported by substantial and growing research evidence. PCM links well to Learner-Centred Education, which is the underlying concept of our overall education.

The curriculum is organized around 5 themes throughout the 4-year program:

  1. Northern and Rural Health
  2. Personal and Professional Aspects of Medical Practice
  3. Social and Population Health
  4. Foundations of Medicine
  5. Clinical Skills in Health Care

The focus of our MD program is on graduating skilled physicians who are ready and able to pursue further training and clinical practice anywhere, but who have a special affinity for, and comfort in, Northern Ontario.

The curriculum is highly integrated, where much of your learning is small‑group, patient-centred and case-based. The cases present complex, real-life scenarios that present people in their home, family and community contexts.

You will also participate in hands-on practical classes, self-directed learning and clinical education in a range of different health service and community settings.

Through the mix of themes and different learning modalities, the program covers core curricula to ensure a strong grounding in basic medical sciences, humanities, social and behavioural sciences, and clinical medicine.

Clinical education starts at the beginning of the program and occurs in a range of different settings. Community-based medical education is a key component of the program, where you will learn in other and larger hospitals, health services, family practices and various community settings. This approach ensures you gain a diversity of clinical knowledge and skills, and experience the special features of Northern Ontario.

Features include:

  • Diversity of cultures
  • Varying morbidity and mortality patterns with specific clinical challenges
  • A wide range of health service delivery models, with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary co‑operation and the whole health team

We based the foundation for our 4-year undergraduate medical education curriculum on the social accountability mandate of providing a program that meets both your needs and the health care needs of the people of Northern Ontario.

To meet this mandate, we employ a distributed community‑engaged model to deliver the curriculum.

Integrated Community Experience (ICE)

It is an MD program graduation requirement that you, individually or in groups of 2 or more, be relocated from your assigned campus for ICE.

  • In year 1, ICE is a 4-week experience in an Indigenous community.
  • In year 2, there are 2 placements in select remote/rural communities for a minimum of 4 scheduled weeks.
  • In year 3, you must complete an 8-month longitudinal Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) experience in 1 of the many communities throughout Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario.

Communication Information Technology

Communication information technology is essential to the success of our undergraduate medical program. Many of your learning materials are provided through electronic communications, making full use of the wealth of educational resources available.

Whether you are located in the large regional centres of Thunder Bay and Sudbury or in the smallest, most remote communities, you will have the same access to information and educational resources as you would in a large metropolitan teaching hospital.

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Admission Policies and Procedures

Note: We reserve the right to review and change the admission requirements at any time without notice.

We strictly observe all application deadlines. This applies to receiving the application and all relevant documentation. We advise you to follow the application instructions precisely.

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

We offer 64 places: 36 at Laurentian University in Sudbury and 28 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

You apply to the School without designation of preference for a particular campus. If you proceed to the interview, you will be asked to indicate your preferred campus.

Note: While we will endeavour to assign you to your preferred campus upon admission, we cannot guarantee you will be offered a seat at your preferred campus.


You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) prior to October 1, 2020, to apply.

Advanced Standing or Transfer

Due to the integrated nature of the curriculum, we cannot accept transfer students.

If you are accepted to the medical school, you must complete the full 4 years of the medical program.

English-Language Proficiency

To be a student, you must be proficient in written and spoken English. Application materials must be submitted in English with the exception of the Confidential Assessment Forms (CAFs), which may be submitted by referees in French.

The school reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant whose facility in written and spoken English is judged to be inadequate.

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False Application Information

We reserve the right to determine the veracity of any and all statements in the application.

  • If any application information is found to be false or misleading, concealed or withheld, your application will be disqualified.
  • If this is discovered after your offer of admission is sent, your offer will be withdrawn.
  • If these circumstances are discovered after you are admitted into the medical program, you will be required to withdraw from the program and barred from applying to NOSM for 5 years.

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Admission Selection Process

Applications are initially screened and scored based on 3 components:

  1. Grade point average (GPA)
  2. Autobiographical Sketch and Supplementary Questions
  3. Context

Context is scored based on each of the following geographic or cultural criteria:

  1. Rural background, based on years lived in a rural community anywhere in Canada that is defined using the Statistics Canada classification of communities.
  2. Northern background, based on years lived in Northern Ontario or another Canadian northern region.
  3. Self-identified Francophone or Indigenous applicants who apply through the NOSM Indigenous application stream.

Note: We do not have any “out-of-province” spots or quotas. We consider all applicants by the same criteria, as listed in Admission Selection Process.

The scoring weight of each component is approximately 1/3. The combination of the scores from these 3 components will determine if you are offered an interview. We invite approximately 300 of the top-ranked applicants to participate in the admission interviews.

The final selection of applicants receiving an offer of admission is based on a combination of the pre‑interview (50%) and interview (50%) scores and a complete file review by the Admission Selection Committee. We review CAFs at this point in the selection process.

Incomplete applications and/or those that do not meet the minimum requirements will be disqualified.

These items are not considered in selection:

  • Age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, religion, sexual orientation
  • MCAT (you are not required to write the MCAT to apply to NOSM)

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Academic Eligibility

The minimum admission requirement is a 4-year undergraduate university degree, or equivalent, from a recognized institution in any discipline. We do not give preference to any 1 particular discipline over another.

You may apply in the final year of your 4-year degree program; however, you are required to complete the program and provide proof of receiving your degree by June 30, 2021.

If your 4-year degree is completed through a transfer of credits from a college, you must have completed a minimum of 10 full-course credits, 20 half-course credits or a combination of course credits required.

Mature Applicants

If you are 25 years old or older by the application deadline, you are eligible for admission consideration based on completing a 3‑year undergraduate university degree in any discipline.

If you are a mature applicant and have completed your 3- or 4-year degree through a transfer of credits from a college, you must have completed a minimum of 10 full-course credits, 20 half-course credits or a combination at the university degree level at the time you apply.

Overall Grade Point Average (GPA)

You must achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 on the 4.0 scale. Grades will be converted to a 4.0 scale according to the OMSAS Undergraduate Grade Conversion Table. The GPA is calculated on all converted undergraduate course grades completed at a recognized institution as of October 1, 2020.

  • 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 higher GPA would provide you with a more reasonable chance of admission. Grades for supplementary, spring, summer and part‑time study and distance education courses will be included in the GPA calculation.
  • We will not consider courses reflected on the transcript as “Pass” with no grade indicated 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 10 full-course credits, 20 half-course credits or a combination of course credits are required.
  • You are required to verify your average in the “Document Tracking” section of the OMSAS application. We may also review this average.
  • We will not include individual grades received for course work taken as part of a graduate degree in the GPA calculation.
  • If you repeated a course and both course grades appear on your transcript, both the past grade and the repeated grade will be included in the GPA calculation.
  • If you have foreign grades or transcripts (from outside of Canada or the United States), including graduate work, refer to International Transcripts – Credentialing International Grades.

Applicants with a Graduate Degree

If you have a graduate degree (Master’s/PhD), you will not be considered for admission as part of a separate applicant pool. You will be assessed based on the minimum requirement of a 4‑year recognized undergraduate university degree (3‑year degree for mature applicants) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the 4.0 scale.

After the initial GPA calculation, an additional 0.2 will be added to the undergraduate GPA to ensure compliance with the cut-off.

Your graduate degree must be conferred and NOSM must receive your final transcript indicating graduation by January 4, 2021, of the potential enrollment year to be considered for the 0.2 addition.

You will not receive the additional 0.2 for more than 1 graduate degree.


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 NOSM that you requested transcripts in a timely fashion.

  1. We require that you provide transcripts for all postsecondary courses/programs attended including graduate degree work. 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.

If you fail to report any courses, programs or grades on your Academic Record, your application will be disqualified.

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

International Transcripts – Credentialing International Grades

If you have foreign grades or transcripts (from outside of Canada or the United States), including graduate work, you must have your credentials assessed for Canadian equivalency by World Education Services (WES).

If you are completing/completed foreign course work of 2 semesters or less, a WES evaluation is not required. We will not include grades that you obtained during the 2 semesters or less in the GPA calculation. In this case, however, the international university must send the transcript directly to OMSAS by the deadline.

Credentialing assessment means converting international academic credentials into their Canadian educational equivalents. Foreign transcripts must have a Canadian WES evaluation; the evaluation must include a program equivalency conversion, an overall GPA conversion for each year of study and a course-by-course conversion.

If you have an international university education and meet the minimum academic degree requirement and course number requirement with Canadian or US undergraduate/Graduate university degree level work, we will not use your international grades in calculating the GPA. You are still required to have your credentials assessed for Canadian equivalency by WES.

If your WES evaluation includes a copy of your official transcript, you are not required to request a transcript from your registrar.

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

Read more about WES evaluations.

Course Prerequisites

While there are no course requirements, we value applicants who present evidence of a broad undergraduate education. It is expected that:

  • If you have majors in science, you have completed at least 2 full-course equivalents in arts, social sciences and/or humanities.
  • If you have majors in arts, social sciences and/or humanities, you have completed at least 2 full-course equivalents in science.

Designation of a course as Arts, Social Science, Humanities or Science is determined by the institution you attend/attended.

If you are unsure of a course designation, check with the registrar’s office at the institution where the course is/was offered.

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Autobiographical Sketch (ABS), Supplementary Questions and Confidential Assessment Forms (References)

When reviewing the ABS, supplementary questions and CAFs, we assess attributes, activities and achievements in relation to NOSM’s mandate and values and the MD Program competencies.

Competitive applicants will demonstrate a high level of self-motivation, be self-directed and thrive in a small group, case-based, distributed learning environment.

The criteria we will examine include, but are not limited to:

  • demonstrated interest in living and working in Northern Ontario and/or rural, remote areas in the rest of Canada,
  • demonstrated interest in working with under-serviced populations (no matter where they are),
  • structured and non-structured experiences that demonstrate an ability to determine needs in your community and a willingness to play a part in filling those needs,
  • demonstrated interest in cross-cultural experiences and
  • employment, volunteer and extracurricular experiences are all equally valued.

You must provide a verifier for each of the activities listed.

Considering our mission and values and the self-directed, small group, distributed learning environment, you are required to select 3 of the entries you listed in your ABS and explain how they have specifically prepared you for being a medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

In addition, you will be required to answer the following 4 supplementary questions:

  1. Please describe how you have developed resilience and coping mechanisms. How will you utilize these skills to support yourself during your medical training in making informed and rational decisions when faced with difficult circumstances?
  2. Please describe an experience you have had interacting with individuals from backgrounds different from yours. How would this experience translate to working within a health care environment and/or with patients?
  3. What types of feedback do you prefer to enhance your learning in and outside of academic environments? Why?
  4. NOSM’s Social Accountability mandate is to improve the health of the people and the communities of Northern Ontario. Describe how you plan to embody this mandate as a medical student and future physician, and how this has factored into your decision to apply to NOSM.


The office of Admissions may wish to verify additional information about activities that are described in your ABS or supplementary questions.

You must provide the name, address, phone number and email for each verifier.

Let your verifiers know that they may be contacted by the office of Admissions.

Activities that do not have a verifier are not included in scoring the ABS.


You are required to ask 3 different individuals to provide a reference on your behalf by completing a CAF. You should select referees who have extensive personal knowledge of you and are in a position to make statements concerning your character, personal qualities, academic capabilities and special circumstances, if applicable. Referees may not be in a position to evaluate all of the characteristics requested; however, in choosing your 3 referees, ensure that all the subject areas are covered.

At least 1 referee should be a non-academic/character referee.

It is recommended that 1 of the references come from a member of the community or from a community organization, and at least 1 be an academic reference.

We will accept references written in French.

You should send requests for references to your referees by September 15 to allow enough time for them to submit the CAF by the deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives the 3 required CAFs from your referee by December 1, 2020. If your CAFs are not received by the deadline, your application will be disqualified.

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Canadian Armed Forces – Military Medical Training Program (MMTP) Stream

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s MD Program participates in an agreement with the Department of National Defense (DND) in creating 2 additional training positions for Regular Force Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) subsidized under the MMTP. Canadian Forces Staff who are supported and funded by the DND would be eligible to apply for these positions and offers of admission will be made to those that qualify.

If you are a currently serving Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force member and interested in the MMTP, you can obtain more information by consulting the Officer Specialist Training page on the Director Military Careers Policy and Grievances’ intranet website.

If you apply through the MMTP, you must meet all of NOSM’s application eligibility requirements. You must complete the OMSAS application, indicate in the OMSAS application that you are applying as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and follow the same application procedures as all other applicants. The application fees and institutional levy will apply and you must follow the same method of payment as all other applicants.

You must send an introduction letter directly to the Faculty of Medicine indicating that you have applied through OMSAS for admission through the MMTP with Canadian Armed Forces. You must submit your letter by email.

For additional information regarding the MMTP application process, contact your local Personnel Selection Office.

For additional information regarding Medical Officer recruitment, roles, responsibilities and prospective military service in Health Services, we strongly encourage you to also contact:

Name: Major Tina Lipcsey
Title: Staff Officer Attraction and Retention, Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters
Telephone: 613-901-1558

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Indigenous Voluntary Identification and Indigenous Admissions Stream

At the earliest stages of development, we engaged the Indigenous communities of Northern Ontario as part of our mandate to be accountable to the cultural diversity of Northern Ontario.

Our Indigenous Affairs Unit encourages and nurtures Indigenous students in and throughout medical school.

We designate 4 seats in each year for Indigenous students as an indication of our commitment to recruiting Indigenous students; however, this is a minimum, not the total number of Indigenous students that we will admit.

Persons of Indigenous ancestry (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) may:

  • voluntarily identify themselves and not apply to the Indigenous Admissions stream or
  • voluntarily identify themselves and apply to the Indigenous Admissions stream.

We consider all Indigenous applicants under the General Admissions Stream, unless they chose to apply to the Indigenous Admissions Stream.

If you have applied to the Indigenous Admissions Stream, you must:

  • Write a letter that declares your Indigenous ancestry and gives specific information about your First Nations, Treaty, community or organizational affiliation. You should include the following information in your letter:
    • why you would like to be considered as a candidate in the Indigenous Admissions Stream,
    • details about your cultural and personal background and
    • examples of how you are culturally connected to your Indigenous community.
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from your First Nations, Band Council, Tribal Council, or Treaty, community or organizational affiliation. Choose someone who knows you well and can comment on your character and your suitability for medicine.
  • Provide proof of Indigenous ancestry.

You must submit the documentation directly to OMSAS by October 1, 2020.

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Francophone Applicants

Although English is the language we use for communication, instruction and assessment at NOSM, numerous opportunities are provided to enhance the experience of Francophone students, including educational resources, self-directed study groups, interest groups and elective opportunities. In addition, we offer clinical placements within Francophone communities and/or with Francophone preceptors that provide an excellent opportunity to learn and deliver care in French.

Criteria for Francophone designation in the application process are:

  1. Speak French fluently.
  2. Meet at least 1 of the following criteria:
    1. Have a Francophone parent and minimum of 8 years of French-language school attendance (French immersion is not applicable), or
    2. Have graduated from a French-language high school (French immersion is not applicable) or
    3. Are able to demonstrate the use of French in daily activities and a connection to the Francophone community. Being able to speak French is not sufficient to fulfill this criteria.

If you meet only criteria “iii”, you will be required to:

  1. Provide a recommendation letter. The letter of recommendation must be written in French and attest to your connection to the Francophone community. The author of this letter should not be a family member and should possess the knowledge of your connection and/or contribution to the Francophone community. The author of the letter must include their professional or personal letterhead information (full name, title, address, phone number and email address) and must answer the following:
    • What is your relationship to the applicant?
    • In what capacity do you know the applicant?
    • How many years have you known the applicant?
    • Describe the activity or activities that support the applicant’s connection and involvement with the Francophone community. Include details such as the nature, frequency (daily, weekly, etc.) and duration of said activity/activities.
  2. Answer an additional question in the application about your connection to, and involvement in, the Francophone community.

Note: This documentation must be sent directly to OMSAS by October 1, 2020. If you choose the “Francophone” designation in the NOSM application and you are invited for an interview, you will be required to demonstrate your proficiency in spoken French at the time of the interview.

By identifying as a Francophone applicant, you will be identified as a Francophone student should you be successful in the admission process. Therefore, you will be required to include NOSM’s Francophone communities in the lottery ranking for their CCC site selection process.

Special Circumstances

If you have special circumstances that you would like to have considered as part of your application, you may upload documentation through Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) within your OMSAS application, and it will be added to your application file.


We invite approximately 300 of the top-ranked applicants for an interview based on their total pre-interview score (GPA + Autobiographical Sketch and questions score + context score). Achieving the minimum requirements does not guarantee that we will invite you for an interview. We will notify you in January/February 2021 if you will be or not be invited for an interview.

We will conduct interviews in March/April 2021. If we invite you to interview, we will send you a description of the interview process in your invitation to interview package. You are responsible for your travel expenses.

Accommodation for Interview

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

If we interview you, we will notify you about your application status (e.g., admitted, wait listed, unsuccessful) on May 11, 2021.

We do not hold applications from 1 year to the next. Unsuccessful applicants will be required to re-apply through OMSAS with a new application for the following admission cycle.

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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 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. We will provide information 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 undergraduate degree, you will need to submit proof of receiving your degree by providing a final undergraduate transcript to OMSAS by June 30, 2021.

Deferral Policy

We do not generally grant deferrals of admission, though we will consider deferrals in exceptional circumstances. We receive requests through the office of Admissions and they are forwarded to the Deferrals Committee for consideration. The Committee’s decisions are final and not open to appeal.

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.

You are required to complete and submit the results of your Police Information Check, including a Vulnerable Sector Screening, at your own expense.

At the beginning of each subsequent academic year in the MD program, you will be required to sign a Criminal Records and Disclosure Form to confirm that there has been no change in the information contained in the Police Information Check.

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 a Vulnerable Sector Screening, contact your local police agency.

Immunization/Health Screening

All incoming students must complete the Year 1 NOSM undergraduate Immunization Form. NOSM’s screening requirements meet the current OHA/OMA Communicable Disease Surveillance Protocols for Ontario Hospitals, in accordance with Regulation 965, Section 4, of the Public Hospitals Act RSO 1990. We send more details about health regulations with the offer of admission to the program.

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 before enrollment in the MD program. 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

To fulfill the MD program requirements and to avoid serious risk to the health and safety of patients, you must acquire competency in a wide range of knowledge, skills and abilities.

If you require accommodation for the medical program, review the OMSAS Essential Skills and Abilities Required. Contact Student Accessibility Services at Lakehead University or Accessibility Services at Laurentian University for more information.

If you require accommodation during the admission process, email the NOSM Learner Affairs Office.

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Contact Information

Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Medical School Building, Rm 2003
Office of Admissions & Learner Recruitment
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay ON  P7B 5E1

Toll-free (Canada-wide): 1-800-461-8777, ext. 7454
Fax: 807-766-7368

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