OMSAS – University of Ottawa

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.

Last updated: September 14, 2020

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Note:  The University of Ottawa reviews the information in this document annually and reserves the right to change these requirements from time to time, without notice, when circumstances dictate.

For updated information, consult the Faculty of Medicine website.

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Non-Academic Requirement: Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer®)

If you are applying to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, you are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer). You will be required to take CASPer in the fall of the application year.

Your application will not be considered if CASPer is not completed.

Note: You must complete CASPer in the language of instruction selected when submitting your application to the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program. If you fail to complete CASPer in the language you chose, you will be disqualified.

For more details, read the CASPer requirement under “Selection Process”.

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Social Accountability Initiative

In the spirit of social accountability and responsibility, and to devise appropriate strategic objectives and commit the necessary resources to address the current socioeconomic disparity in medical school admission, we have created 2 low socioeconomic status (LSES) reserved seats. This initiative is a first step in an attempt to decrease barriers, offer fairness and provide all candidates with equal access opportunity.

If you wish to be considered for the reserved LSES seats, you are required to submit additional documents, including the Social Accountability Initiative Form [PDF].

Read more about LSES reserved seats.

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First Nations, Inuit or Métis Candidates

We have established a dedicated selection process for candidates of Indigenous ancestry as part of our mission to improve access to better health care for First Nations, Inuit or Métis peoples and to better serve society’s needs.

First Nations, Inuit or Métis candidates who meet the stipulated admission eligibility requirements will compete for a designated number of admission positions. Currently, we reserve up to 7 seats through this admission process and students will compete for a position within this cohort only.

Admission bursaries and other financial assistance may be available for successful applicants, pending needs. We invite you to self‑identify on your admission application if you are First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

If you self-identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis on your application, you must provide:

  • Proof of Indigenous ancestry. Acceptable proofs of ancestry include (but are not limited to):
    • Status or Treaty card
    • Membership card in a Métis registry, recognized by the Métis National Council (the Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta and Métis Nation British Columbia)
    • Nunavut Trust Service card
    • Inuit Roll Number
  • A letter that declares Indigenous ancestry and provides specific information about First Nations, Treaty, community or organizational affiliation. In your letter, you should request consideration under the alternative process and expand on your academic and personal background, and reasons and motivation for wishing to become a physician.
  • A letter of recommendation from the First Nations, Band Council, Tribal Council, Treaty, community or organizational affiliation.

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Francophone Candidates From Provinces Other Than Ontario and Quebec – The Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS)

Through the mandate of the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS), Francophone minority students in Canada who originate from provinces other than Ontario and Quebec have access to postsecondary studies leading to practice in the health care field. We admit these students over and above the quota of the Ministry set by the Government of Ontario for our faculty.

Admission to the medical program of studies is possible if you meet all the eligibility criteria.

If you apply through the CNFS program, you will be subject to the same application process, application and institutional fees, methods of payment and selection procedures as other applicants.

Apply through OMSAS.

Note: You must send an introduction letter directly to the Faculty of Medicine to indicate that you applied for admission with the CNFS through OMSAS. You must email your letter to the Admissions Office.

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Canadian Armed Forces Candidates

If you are a currently serving Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force member and interested in the Military Medical Training Program (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 application eligibility requirements, including the completion of the necessary prerequisite courses. You must complete the OMSAS application 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 the Canadian Armed Forces. You must email your letter to the Admissions Office.

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, it is strongly encouraged that you also contact:

Name: Major Tina Lipcsey
Title: Staff Officer Attraction and Retention, Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters
Telephone: 613-901-1558
Email: tina.lipcsey@forces.gc.ca

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Combined Program for Degrees in Medicine and Philosophy (MD/PhD)

Read more about the University of Ottawa’s MD/PhD Program.

If you apply for consideration to the MD/PhD Program, you are required to submit the following supplemental documents:

  • Letter of interest that focuses on the reasons for pursuing the combined MD/PhD Program and that states the research area of interest.
  • 2 letters of reference that attest to graduate research potential (additional to the 3 Confidential Assessment Forms requested by the MD Program).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV).

You must use 1 of the following 2 options to submit your additional documents:

  1. Upload them using Secure Application Messaging (SAM).
  2. Send them by email to the Admissions Office.

Note: The letter of interest and the CV can be sent using 1 of these 2 options; however, the 2 letters of reference can only be sent by the referee via email at: admissmd@uottawa.ca.

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Transfers Within Faculty of Medicine Programs: MD Program, MD/PhD Program

Once you accept an offer of admission to either of these programs, a transfer to the other program will not be permitted.

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Admission Policies

Introduction

The Faculty of Medicine’s Admissions Committee has the following responsibilities:

  1. examining and evaluating the applications and
  2. selecting, on a competitive basis, the eligible candidates who are best suited for training in medicine in accordance with the criteria approved by Faculty Council. It is highly desirable that the candidate who has had a broad exposure to the biological and physical sciences also has a broad exposure to the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Policies

The selection criteria are based on:

  • eligibility requirements,
  • all of the academic parameters,
  • Confidential Assessment Forms,
  • CASPer performance,
  • Autobiographical Sketch review and
  • the interview.

These criteria are further defined in the Selection Process.

As long as the conditions for eligibility are met, we do not give preference to the discipline of the academic program taken at a recognized university.

Age, gender, race, religion and socio‑economic status play no part in the selection process, unless it is specified in the criteria for designated seats.

Applicants who submit fraudulent applications will be disqualified and may be subject to prosecution.

Other factors being equal, we will give preference to candidates who have an active knowledge of both official languages (English and French) of the University of Ottawa.

Given the extremely competitive nature of the admission process, and out of respect for applicants who have adhered to our policies, we will not consider letters sent to us detailing special or unusual circumstances. We are unable to make any exceptions to our stated policies.

Incomplete Applications

The OMSAS instructions refer to the importance of OMSAS receiving the application materials and required documentation by the published deadlines.

You must ensure that OMSAS receives your transcripts by the stated deadline so that the file can be reviewed in sufficient time to allow any errors or omissions to be addressed.

If your transcript issues are not resolved before our selection process begins, it will not be possible to insert the file into our process, and we may assign a disqualification status to your application.

Admission Irregularities

We may, at our discretion, refuse to accept future applications to the MD Program from a candidate who has submitted a false, misleading or fraudulent application in the past to any medical school.

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Language of Instruction

We offer the medical program in both official languages in the Faculty of Medicine, where both the Francophone and Anglophone teaching activities correlate. These teaching activities enhance the development of linguistic skills in both French and English.

In view of the increasing use of information technology in our instructional program, you are expected to be computer literate and are required to use a laptop in class from day 1. You are required to purchase your own laptop and ensure that it meets the requirements mandated by our medical eCurriculum.

We will provide further information in the offer of admission package.

Choice of Language of Instruction

To apply for admission to the MD Program of study, you have the opportunity to submit your application to the English or French stream regardless of your mother tongue or first language learned. You must indicate your choice of language stream in the application.

Note: Once you submit the application, you are not allowed to change your choice of language of instruction.

We conduct interviews in the language of instruction you chose in your application. We will scrutinize the proficiency skills in your chosen language of instruction, as the spirit of this policy is to allow you to complete your medical studies in the language of your choice.

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to assess your written language proficiency skills, if required.

Once admitted, you are not allowed to switch from one language of instruction to the other. You will commit to participating in, and following, all teaching activities in both pre-clerkship and clerkship of the 4 years of studies in your chosen language of instruction.

Note: You must be proficient in both oral and written communication for the language of application.

Bilingualism

A bilingual applicant is one who speaks both of Canada’s official languages: English and French.

Note: If you claim bilingual status, we will assess your ability to have a functional conversation in both languages at the time of the interview.

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Selection Process

Eligibility Criteria

We accept applications from students in good standing who have successfully completed, prior to the beginning of June preceding registration, at least 3 years of full‑time studies (5 courses per semester each year) in any undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree, at a recognized university, including specific prerequisite courses, completed with a minimum Grade of “B” (CEGEP equivalent 70%).

Course requirements:

Note: Units are equivalent to credits
  • 6 units in Humanities/Social Sciences (see examples)
  • 6 units in Biology (we also accept Anatomy and Physiology courses)
  • 3 units in Organic Chemistry
  • 3 units in Chemistry
  • 3 units in Biochemistry
  • 3 units in Statistics
Note: 3 units (credits) are equivalent to a 1-semester course, and 6 units (credits) are equivalent to either 1 full-year course or 2 semester-long courses.

Humanities/Social Sciences Examples: You may fulfill the Humanities/Social Sciences requirements with any courses that are not science based. These include, but are not limited to: Sociology, Psychology, Math, Religion, Administration, English Literature, English Writing, etc.

Note: We will not accept any second language courses toward the Humanities/Social Sciences requirements.

Laboratory requirement:

  • You must demonstrate an exposure to laboratory work. You must have a laboratory component in 2 of the science courses from the categories listed, or have completed an exclusive lab course that is the equivalent of 6 units (credits).

Any academic year comprised of 4 courses per semester will be accepted as full-time and counted in the cumulative grade point average (cGPA) calculation provided that the missing courses (credits) are completed within another academic year or as summer course(s). Individual courses taken during a summer session are accepted and the marks obtained are counted in the calculation of the cGPA, if completed during the last 3 years of full-time undergraduate studies leading to a bachelor’s degree. Any year with less than 4 courses per semester will not count as a full-time year of study. A full-time summer semester does not replace a semester of studies within an academic year (except for Co-op programs). Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and transfer units are not recognized as fulfillment of full-time studies requirement.

You may complete missing prerequisite courses during the academic year preceding admission to the medical program. However, you must complete all courses by the end of the winter term (January-April) before entering medical school.

Note: An academic year consists of 2 regular terms: Fall and winter (September to April).

Furthermore, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to assess, in your program, the level of difficulty of the courses, the pertinence of the courses for future medical studies at the University of Ottawa and the performance you achieve in these courses.

We generally consider professional degrees earned at Canadian institutions as undergraduate degrees. We will assess applications individually during the evaluation process, once you submit your application to OMSAS. We will not recognize full‑time studies completed by distance education, since the spirit of the full‑time studies requirement is to be able to assess and compare how you succeed in a full‑time course load and to predict how you will perform and cope with the rigorous demands of the medical program.

If you are a student from a Quebec CEGEP, you are not eligible to submit an application to the first medical year of the University of Ottawa. If you have obtained the diplôme d’études collégiales from Quebec (CEGEP), you must have also completed 2 years of full‑time studies (minimum of 5 courses per semester each year) in an undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree at a recognized university, including the necessary prerequisite courses, completed with a minimum Grade of “B” (CEGEP equivalent 70%).

The same policy applies if you completed studies at a community college. We will recognize college (or CEGEP) studies as equivalent to 1 year of postsecondary university studies, provided that you obtained your diploma.

For more information, see CEGEP Studies.

Co-op Education

If you are registered in a co‑operative education program (co‑op), you are eligible to apply if you meet the prerequisites. To satisfy the 3 years of full‑time studies requirement, you are also required to complete 2 academic terms within each trimester year (fall, winter and summer).

Any academic year where you completed 2 work terms will not count as part of the 3 prerequisite years of full‑time studies and, therefore, the grades obtained for the 1 semester of academic work completed within this year will not be used in the cGPA calculation.

For more information, see Co-operative Education Programs.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is not an admission requirement for the medical program of the University of Ottawa.

Citizenship

We will not accept applications from applicants who are not Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents (landed immigrants), with the exception of eligible children of University of Ottawa alumni who have completed studies at the Faculty of Medicine.

You must forward proof of permanent resident (landed immigrant) status to OMSAS at the time you submit your application.

Credentialing of Foreign Grades

You must have your foreign transcript assessed by World Education Services (WES) if:

  • you have a permanent residence in Canada and
  • you do not meet our eligibility requirements relative to completing Canadian or US studies.

The WES evaluation greatly facilitates the consideration of your application; however, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to apply its own conversion.

The evaluation must include a program equivalency conversion, an overall grade point average conversion and a course‑by‑course conversion. The application will be considered only if the WES evaluation is provided.

Read the Assessment of International Academic Credentials.

Undergraduate Degree or Certificate of 1‑Year Duration

Since we require at least 3 years of undergraduate full‑time studies in any program leading to a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university within our eligibility requirements, we will convert only the most recent 3 years of studies pertinent to your bachelor program of studies and not convert any undergraduate degree and/or certificate of 1‑year duration.

We also do not convert studies leading to a diploma, certificate or to MD degrees.

Non-Eligible Candidates

You will not be eligible if you previously registered in, and withdrew or were excluded from, a medical program leading to an MD degree. Exceptions may be considered for exceptional or medical circumstances.

Excellence of Marks

Each year, we set a minimum cGPA for the current application pool. The required minimum cGPA is 3.50/4.00 and upwards according to the following list of categories (not necessarily in this order):

  • Anglophone stream (varies according to the different geographical status)
  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS)
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis
  • Francophone stream (varies according to the different geographical status)
  • Social Accountability Initiative

These categories reflect our mission statement. We will use the Autobiographical Sketch and the permanent address listed in your application to determine your geographical status. We may ask you to provide evidence of geographical status.

If you meet the required minimum average set for your category, your application will advance to a complete file review. Those who do not meet the minimum cut-off will not advance further.

The quantity and the quality of the applications that we receive determine the minimum cGPA cut-offs. If you would like to learn the cGPA cut‑off for your category, email the Admissions Office.

When calculating the school GPA to assess excellence in marks for admission to the MD program, we will use the cGPA based on the applicants most recent 3 years of full-time (5 courses per semester per year) undergraduate studies completed toward a bachelor’s degree in any recognized university. The cGPA will include all full-time courses taken during the regular academic year (fall and winter semesters) and individual courses taken during the summer semester during that period. Marks obtained in an academic year where a candidate has completed a semester (or full year) abroad as part of an exchange program will not be included in the cGPA calculation.

In order for the academic year to count towards the cGPA calculation, a maximum of 1 pass/fail graded course per semester may have been completed in accordance with the 5 courses per semester each year requirement. Therefore, an academic year in which more than 1 pass/fail graded course was taken in 1 semester is not considered in the cGPA calculation. Online courses taken within the most recent 3 years of full-time study, which are used to calculate the cGPA, will be included in the assessment. Any online courses taken outside the most recent 3 years of full-time requirement will not be included in the cGPA. Prerequisite courses with the minimum grade of “B” (equivalent to 70% at CEGEP) completed outside of the most recent 3 years will count toward fulfilling the prerequisite credits, however, the grades will not count toward the cGPA.

CASPer

You are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer) to assist with our selection process. You must successfully complete CASPer to maintain admission eligibility.

CASPer assesses the non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and complements our other applicant screening tools. By implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

To take CASPer, you must have access to a computer with audio capabilities, equipped with a webcam and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken anywhere that you can satisfy these requirements. We will not make exceptions if you are unable to take CASPer online due to an unreliable internet connection occurring as a result of technical or political factors.

CASPer is composed of 10 to 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. A different rater grades each response, which offers a robust and reliable view of the personal and professional characteristics that are important to our program.

You do not need to study for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.

Note: You must complete CASPer in the language of instruction you selected when submitting your application to the University of Ottawa. You will be required to take CASPer in the fall of the application year. If you fail to complete CASPer in the language you chose to apply in, your application will be disqualified.

Schedule and take CASPer.

Detailed Autobiographical Sketch (ABS)

Within the application, you must complete the online detailed ABS, which provides information that allows an assessor to judge the scope of your activities. It is in your interest to be complete, yet brief and to the point, and be specific in the time period of completion (academic or non-academic) and number of hours. Answers in point form are easier to peruse. You are not writing a personal letter. We want to know what you have done in your life so far, why you did it, and what you have gained from it as a person and as a future physician.

New: You will be prompted to identify the top 3 activities in each category (maximum of 18 in total) that you feel has best prepared you to apply to medicine.

You must provide a verifier for each activity listed on your detailed Autobiographical Sketch. The verifier cannot be a friend or family member.

You must comply with the instructions provided or your application will be disqualified.

Note: We randomly contact verifiers. We may, at our discretion, refuse to invite you for an interview if you submit a false, misleading or fraudulent Autobiographical Sketch. This standard also applies to the names of the verifiers.

Read more about the categories in the detailed Autobiographical Sketch.

Interview

You will not be admitted without an interview. We usually hold interviews from February to March. We base invitations for interviews on the file assessment process of academic and non-academic criteria.

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Offers of Admission

Following the interview, we prepare preliminary rank order lists based on the academic and non-academic assessment (a poor interview may not be ranked). In the event of ties in the final scores, we will give priority to the candidates with the highest cGPA.

The Admissions Committee may take other factors into consideration when ranking each candidate on the excellence list for the offers.

All offers of admission are conditional and are subject to the following conditions:

  • You must provide an official final transcript from the registrar of your university by the end of June 2021.
  • You must successfully complete your current academic year, including having maintained your average (the average must not be lower than the minimum cGPA cut‑off that was established according to geographical status).
  • You must provide the completed immunization form, the Police Record Check form and the Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Provider certification proof by August 2, 2021.
  • You must complete all admission requirements by June 2021.
  • You must provide proof of citizenship (copy only).
  • You must demonstrate the ability to meet the standards for entry into the medical degree program, as stated in the Essential Skills and Abilities Required for Entry to a Medical Degree Program.
Note: The University may revoke the offer of admission if you fail to meet any admission requirements or any 1 of the conditions mentioned.

Unsuccessful Applications

Because of the important weight attached to the interview performance within our selection process, we will not consider further applications to the MD Program from candidates in previous years who have had 3 interviews. This policy applies to all applications regardless of the category applied for.

Institutional Fee

The institutional fee for the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine is $125 and is deductible from tuition fees when you are admitted.

Deposit

A deposit fee of $1,000 must accompany an offer of admission acceptance. The deposit is deducted from your tuition fees when you are admitted.

Deferred Registration

Once admitted in the first year, you may submit a request for deferred registration. We may grant this deferral under limited and special circumstances. The Admissions Office, in consultation with the Vice-Dean, may grant or refuse the request for deferral. If you wish to submit a request for deferral, a detailed letter must be sent to us no later than June 30, 2021.

If another medical school admits you and allows you to defer your registration, you will not be considered for admission to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa, as long as you maintain your deferred registration.

Transfer

Read more about the policy on student transfers.

Clinical Placement Requirements

Read more about Clinical Placement Requirements (BLS, Immunization Record and Police Record Check).

Graduate Applicants (Master and PhD)

If you are a graduate candidate who is registered in (or has recently completed) a master’s or doctoral degree, you are allowed to apply to the MD Program, provided you meet the eligibility criteria, including the necessary prerequisites (sciences/humanities), completed with a minimum Grade of “B” (CEGEP equivalent 70%).

We will assess these applications like all other applications, based on the academic work during undergraduate studies, CASPer, Confidential Assessment Forms, ABS and interview performance.

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Contact Information

Admissions
Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
451 Smyth Road, Room 2045
Ottawa ON  K1H 8M5
Canada

Telephone: 613‑562‑5409
Email: admissmd@uottawa.ca

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