OMSAS – Northern Ontario School of Medicine

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

Last updated: July 13, 2017

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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 Aboriginal/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 Aboriginal/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, case-based learning. 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 the following:

  • 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 for the delivery of the curriculum.

Integrated Community Experience

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

  • In year 1, ICE is a 4-week experience in an Aboriginal/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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Admissions Policies and Procedures

Note: NOSM reserves the right to review and change the admissions 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 are from 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 Aboriginal/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.

NOSM does not designate seats for residents of Northern Ontario or other rural and remote communities, out-of-province applicants, or military (Canadian Forces) applicants.


You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) prior to October 1, 2017, 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 need accommodation for the medical program, review the OMSAS Essential Skills and Abilities Required. Contact the Learning Assistance Office at Lakehead University or the Special Needs Office at Laurentian University for more information.

English-Language Proficiency

NOSM students must be proficient in written and spoken English. Application materials must be submitted in English with the exception of reference letters, 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 2, 2017
OMSAS must receive the following documentation:

  • The completed OMSAS online application, by 4:30 pm (ET).
  • All transcripts and academic documents.
    Note: Receipt of the TRF by October 2, 2017, 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 and the letters of reference your referees submit by October 2, 2017.

Note: It is not possible for OMSAS to notify you of any outstanding transcripts before October 2, 2017. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives all transcripts and registrar statements by October 2, 2017.

October 2, 2017
OMSAS must receive all payments.

December 30, 2017
If you completed a graduate degree and want to be eligible for the 0.2 addition to your GPA, you must submit a transcript to OMSAS by this date, indicating proof that the graduate degree was granted.

May 8, 2018
First date for offers of admission.

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

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False Application Information

  • 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.

Other medical school admissions committees will be notified of your name and the nature of the offence.

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Admissions Selection Process

Applications are initially screened and scored based on 3 components:

  1. Grade point average (GPA)
  2. The Autobiographical Sketch and school submission questions
  3. Context

Context is primarily based on your Canadian place(s) of residence of 1 year or more. Advantage is given to those who have lived in Northern Ontario, rural and remote areas in the rest of Canada, and Aboriginal/Indigenous and Francophone applicants.

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 admissions interviews.

The final selection of applicants receiving an offer of admission is based on a combination of the pre‑interview (50%) and the interview (50%) scores and a complete file review by the Admission Selection Committee. It is at this point in the selection process that reference letters 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 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, 2018.

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 at the university degree level at the time you apply.

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 who complete a 4-year undergraduate degree will be assessed based on their 4-year undergraduate degree.

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 credits or, a combination of at the university degree level at the time you apply.

You will have the opportunity to further elaborate on your experiences by completing an additional question in the “School Submissions” section of the application.

NOSM will accept your applications if you pursued your undergraduate studies on a full-time or part‑time basis, and completed your course work in the spring/summer term or by distance education.

Overall Grade Point Average

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 2, 2017.

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 (Masters/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 December 30, 2017, to be considered for the 0.2 addition.

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


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 the electronic Transcript Request Form, or by mail. Failure to report all courses, programs or grades on the Academic Record will result in the application being disqualified.

If you submit transcripts for postsecondary education completed at universities outside of Canada or the US, you are required to have your foreign documents assessed by World Education Services (WES).

The evaluation must include a program equivalency conversion, an overall grade point average conversion for each year of study, and a course-by-course conversion.

If you completed foreign course work for 2 semesters or less (exchange programs), a WES evaluation is not required.

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 2, 2017.

Note: Transcripts do not always report the in‑progress or winter 2018 courses you are registered in. In this situation, you must arrange for the Registrar of the institution you attend to send a statement of registration and a list of courses to OMSAS by October 2, 2017.

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 December 30, 2017, to be awarded the 0.2 addition to your GPA.

Credentialing of Non‑Canadian Transcripts

If you submit transcripts for postsecondary education completed at universities outside of Canada or the United States, you are required to have your foreign documents assessed by WES.

The evaluation must include a program equivalency conversion, an overall grade point average conversion for each year of study, and a course-by-course conversion. This requirement will be waived if you are completing foreign course work for 2 semesters or less (exchange programs).

To meet NOSM’s minimum admission requirements, WES must evaluate your studies to be equivalent to a 4-year undergraduate, Canadian university degree (3-year degree for mature applicants).

Find more information about WES evaluations.

Note: Your WES report and a copy of your verified transcript must be sent directly from WES to OMSAS by October 2, 2017.

Course Prerequisites

While there are no course requirements, NOSM values applicants who present evidence of a broad undergraduate education.

  • If you have a major in science, you are expected to have completed at least 2 full course equivalents in arts, social sciences and/or humanities within your degree programs.
  • If you pursue majors in arts, social sciences and/or humanities, you are expected to have completed at least 2 full course equivalents in science within your degree program.

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 Questions

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

  • growing up in a city, town, or in Northern Ontario;
  • demonstrated interest in living and working in Northern Ontario;
  • demonstrated interest in working with underserviced populations (no matter where they are);
  • ability to identify community needs and a willingness to play a part in filling these needs;
  • demonstrated interest in cross-cultural experiences; and
  • involvement in volunteer work and extracurricular activities.

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. A verifier for each of the activities listed must be provided.

Verifiers/Contacts for Activities in the 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 Sketch and school submission questions.

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

Aboriginal/Indigenous Admissions Stream Applicants

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

At the earliest stages of development, NOSM engaged the Aboriginal/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 Aboriginal/Indigenous students into and throughout medical school.

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

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

If you wish to be considered in the Aboriginal/Indigenous Admissions Stream, you must do the following:

  • Write a letter that declares your Aboriginal/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 Aboriginal/Indigenous Admissions Stream;
    • details about your cultural and personal background; and
    • examples of how you are culturally connected to your Aboriginal/Indigenous community.
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from your First Nations, Band Council, Tribal Council, and 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 Aboriginal/Indigenous ancestry.

This documentation must be sent directly to OMSAS by October 2, 2017.

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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, which 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 one (1) of the following criterion, you:
    1. Have a Francophone parent and minimum of eight (8) years of French-language school attendance (French immersion is not applicable), or
    2. 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.

If you only meet criteria “iii”, you will be required to: 1) provide a recommendation letter; and 2) answer an additional question in the application about your connection to, and involvement in, the Francophone community. Being able to speak French is not sufficient to fulfill this criteria. A letter of recommendation, written in French, attesting to your connection to the Francophone community is required. The author of this letter should not be a family member and should possess 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, telephone 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. Please include details such as the nature of the activity, the frequency (daily, weekly, etc.) as well as the duration of said activity/activities.


  • This documentation must be sent directly to OMSAS by October 2, 2017. 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, and should you be successful in the admissions process, you will be identified as a Francophone student. Therefore, you will be required to include NOSM’s Francophone communities in the lottery ranking for their Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) site selection process.


You will be invited for an interview based on your total pre-interview score (GPA + Sketch and questions score + context score). Achieving the minimum requirements does not guarantee that you will be invited for an interview.

Interviews will be conducted in March/April 2018. NOSM uses the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) format. If you are invited to interview, you will receive a description of the interview process in your invitation to interview package.


Three confidential assessment forms and letters of reference submitted by 3 referees are required. It is strongly recommended that 1 of these letters come from a member of the community or from a community organization, and at least 1 academic reference. References written in French will be accepted.

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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.

The police information check, including a Vulnerable Sector Screening, is required.

Offer of admission is contingent upon provision of the above 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 a police information check with Vulnerable Sector Screening, please 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 information check.


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

First Aid and CPR

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 enrolment 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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Unsuccessful Applicants

If you proceed to the interview, you will receive notification about your application status in January/February 2018. If you are unsuccessful at this stage, you will also be notified in February.

If you are interviewed, you will receive notification about your application status (i.e., admitted, wait listed, unsuccessful) on May 8, 2018.

Applications are not held from one 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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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
Telephone: 807-766-7463
Fax: 807-766-7368

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