OMSAS – Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Note: This application guide contains information for Fall 2020 Admission.

University program information changes regularly. For the most up-to-date details, view the online application.

Last updated: July 9, 2019

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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, Sudbury, and of Lakehead University, 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.

NOSM is 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.

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 (LCE), which is the underlying concept of NOSM’s 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 NOSM’s 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; and
  • a wide range of health service delivery models, with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary co‑operation and the whole health team.

The foundation for our 4-year undergraduate medical education curriculum is based 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

It is an MD program graduation requirement that you, individually or in groups of 2 or more, be relocated from your assigned campus for Integrated Community Experiences (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 one of the many communities throughout Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario.

Communication Information Technology

Communication information technology is essential to the success of NOSM’s 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: NOSM reserves the right to review and change the admission requirements at any time without notice.

All deadlines are strictly observed. This applies to receiving the application and all relevant documentation. You are advised to follow the application instructions precisely.

Failure to meet the deadlines or to follow the application instructions will result in your application being disqualified.

Our aim is to have class profiles that reflect the demographics of the Northern Ontario population. It is NOSM’s 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.

NOSM offers 64 places: 36 at Laurentian University in Sudbury and 28 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

Applications are made 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 NOSM will endeavour to assign you to your preferred campus upon admission, we cannot guarantee you will be offered a seat at your preferred campus.

Citizenship

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) prior to October 1, 2019, to apply.

Advanced Standing or Transfer

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

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

Skills and Abilities for the Medical 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, contact the NOSM Learner Affairs office.

English-Language Proficiency

NOSM students must be proficient in written and spoken English. Application materials must be submitted in English with the exception of the Confidential Assessment Forms, 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.

Deferral Policy

NOSM does not generally grant deferrals of admission, though we will consider deferrals in exceptional circumstances. Requests are received through the Office of Admissions and are forwarded to the Deferrals Committee for consideration. The committee’s decisions are final and not open to appeal.

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Deadline Dates

October 1, 2019
OMSAS must receive the following documentation:

  • The completed OMSAS application by 4:30 pm (ET).
  • All transcripts and academic documents.
    Note: Receipt of an online transcript request by October 1, 2019, satisfies the transcript deadline requirement. Failure to report courses or programs on the Postsecondary Education Form will result in your application being disqualified.

It is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives the 3 required Confidential Assessment Forms from your referees by December 1, 2019.

Note: It is not possible for OMSAS to notify you of any outstanding transcripts before October 1, 2019. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives all transcripts and registrar statements by October 1, 2019.

October 1, 2019
OMSAS must receive all payments.

January 4, 2020
If you completed a graduate degree and want to be eligible for the 0.2 addition to your GPA (see Applicants with a Graduate Degree for more information), you must submit a transcript to OMSAS by this date, indicating proof that the graduate degree was granted.

May 12, 2020
First round of offers of admission are sent out.

Note: Keep verifiable records of requests made for transcripts, referee submissions, letters of support, etc.

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False Application Information

NOSM reserves 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 Application questionnaire (School Submission responses)
  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: NOSM does 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. Approximately 300 of the top-ranked applicants are invited 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. It is at this point in the selection process that reference references are reviewed.

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 Requirements

The minimum admission requirement is a 4-year undergraduate university degree, or equivalent, from a recognized institution in any discipline. Preference is not given 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 of the potential enrollment year.

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.

Mature applicants whose 3- or 4-year degree is completed through a transfer of credits from a college 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 they apply.

Overall GPA

The minimum required GPA is 3.0 on the 4.0 scale. Grades will be converted to a 4.0 scale according to the OMSAS Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table. The GPA is calculated on all converted undergraduate course grades completed at a recognized institution as of October 1, 2019.

Grades for supplementary, spring, summer and part‑time study and distance education courses will be included in the GPA calculation.

Courses reflected on the transcript as “Pass” with no grade indicated will not be considered 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.

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 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.

Transcripts

Official transcripts are required for each college, CEGEP, university, junior college or graduate school you attended. All postsecondary school transcripts are required. All transcripts must be sent directly to OMSAS electronically using an online transcript request or by mail. Failure to report all courses, programs or grades on your Academic Record will result in your application being disqualified.

For courses taken on a “Letter of Permission” at another institution, or for which transfer credit/advanced standing was granted, you must ensure that OMSAS receives a transcript from the original institution with the courses taken and the actual grade(s) achieved by October 1, 2019.

Note: Transcripts do not always report the in‑progress or Winter 2020 courses you are registered in. In this situation, you must arrange for the registrar of the institution you are attending to send a statement of registration and a list of courses to OMSAS by October 1, 2019.

If your graduate degree is in progress at the time you apply, you must submit transcripts, indicating proof that your graduate degree has been granted, directly to OMSAS by January 4, 2020, to be awarded the 0.2 addition to your GPA.

Credentialing of Non‑Canadian Transcripts

Applicants with foreign (non-Canadian and non-US) transcripts, including graduate work must go through World Education Services (WES) for a credentialing assessment. “Credentialing assessment” means converting foreign 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 your WES evaluation includes a copy of your official transcript, you are not required to request a transcript from your registrar.

This requirement will be waived for those applicants completing foreign course work of 2 semesters or less. Grades obtained during the 2 semesters or less will not be included in the GPA calculation.

WES evaluations must be received by OMSAS by October 1, 2019.

Read more about WES evaluations.

Course Prerequisites

While there are no course requirements, NOSM values 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 and Supplementary Questions

We seek applicants who have a genuine interest in helping to fulfill the mandate and uphold the values of NOSM. Criteria that will be examined include, but are not limited to:

  • lived in a city or town in Northern Ontario and/or rural, remote areas in the rest of Canada;
  • 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);
  • ability to identify community needs and a willingness to play a part in fulfilling these needs;
  • demonstrated interest in cross-cultural experiences; and
  • employment, volunteer and extracurricular experiences.

You are advised to list all activities that will give NOSM insight into who you are. Volunteer work is often perceived as only those activities that are formally organized; however, there are many forms of volunteer work.

For instance, if you come from a farming community and helped run a neighbour’s farm for a period of time when your neighbour was ill, this is considered a volunteer activity.

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

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

In addition, you will also be required to answer 4 questions.

Verifiers/Contacts for Activities in the Autobiographical Sketch/NOSM’s Supplementary Questions

You must provide the names of people who can verify the activities you list in your OMSAS application. Instructions on how to provide these names are part of the OMSAS application.

Activities that do not have a verifier are not included in scoring the Autobiographical Sketch and School Submission questions.

Note: Ensure that the verifier phone number you provide is current and accurate.

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Indigenous Admissions Stream Applicants

NOSM is committed to meeting the needs of the people of Northern Ontario and increasing the enrollment of Indigenous students in medicine.

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

The Indigenous Affairs Unit at NOSM encourages and nurtures Indigenous students in and throughout medical school.

Four seats in our entry class are reserved for Indigenous applicants as an indication of our commitment to recruiting Indigenous students; however, this is the minimum, not the total number of Indigenous students we will admit.

Persons of Indigenous ancestry (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) may voluntarily identify themselves as such. All Indigenous applicants are considered under the General Admissions Stream, unless the Indigenous Admissions Stream is chosen.

If you wish to be considered in 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. The letter should include the following information:
    • 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.

Send this documentation directly to OMSAS by October 1, 2019.

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Francophone Applicants

Although English is the language used 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, NOSM offers 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.

Notes:
This documentation must be sent directly to OMSAS by October 1, 2019. 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 Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) site selection process.

References

Three Confidential Assessment Forms submitted by 3 referees are required. Within the combination of your 3 Confidential Assessment Forms, at least 1 of your referees should be academic- or employment-related and 1 should be personal (non-academic). The third reference can be one of your choosing. Confidential Assessment Forms written in French will be accepted.

Interview

You will be invited for an interview based on your total pre-interview score (GPA + Autobiographical Sketch and questions score + context score). Achieving the minimum requirements does not guarantee that you will be invited for an interview. All applicants will receive notification in January/February 2020 if you will be or not be invited for an interview.

Interviews will be conducted in March/April 2020. If you are invited to interview, you will receive a description of the interview process in your invitation to interview package. You are responsible for your travel expenses.

Accommodation for Interview

Any applicant requiring accommodation for a documented disability for the MMI must notify the Admissions Office in writing at least 1 month prior to the first interview date. Complete documentation must be provided to support the request.

If you are interviewed, you will receive notification about your application status (i.e., admitted, wait listed, unsuccessful) on May 12, 2020.

Applications are not held from one year to the next. Unsuccessful applicants will be required to reapply through OMSAS with a new application for the following admission cycle.

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Successful Applicants

Police Record Check

Throughout your medical degree, 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 a Vulnerable Sector Check at your own expense.

Offer of admission is contingent upon provision of the stated checks, at your expense. NOSM will review any files presented with a “Not Clear” check to determine what action, if any, will be taken.

For more information about obtaining Vulnerable Sector Check, contact your local police agency.

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 Record Check.

Immunization

Successful applicants are required to provide proof of up-to-date immunization status. Information about specific requirements will be included with the offer of admission.

Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers

You must complete a “Standard First Aid” course and a CPR/AED Level HCP course and be able to produce valid certificates confirming this before enrollment in the MD program. Specific information will be included with the offer of admission.

Confirmation Deposit

A confirmation deposit of $1,000 is required at the time you are accepted to NOSM. This deposit will be applied to tuition fees.

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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
Email: admissions@nosm.ca

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