OMSAS – University of Ottawa

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

For updated information, consult the faculty website.

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Non-Academic Requirement: CASPer™ Test

All applicants to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer™). Applicants 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: Applicants must complete CASPer in the language of instruction selected when submitting their application to the MD Program. Failure to complete CASPer in the language chosen will result in disqualification.

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, the University of Ottawa has created 2 low socioeconomic status (LSES) reserved seats as a first step in an attempt to decrease barriers, offer fairness and provide all candidates with equal access opportunity.

For more details about LSES reserved seats, consult the faculty website.

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First Nations, Inuit or Métis Candidates

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa has established a dedicated admission process for candidates of Indigenous ancestry as part of its 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, up to 7 seats are reserved 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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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. These students are admitted 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: Candidates must send an introduction letter directly to the Faculty of Medicine to indicate that they applied for admission with the CNFS through OMSAS.

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Canadian Armed Forces Candidates

Currently serving Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force members interested in the Military Medical Training Program (MMTP) can obtain more information by consulting the Officer Specialist Training page on the Director Military Careers Policy and Grievances’ intranet website.

Military candidates who apply through the MMTP must meet all application eligibility requirements, including the completion of the necessary prerequisite courses. These candidates must complete the OMSAS application and follow the same application procedures as all other applicants. The application fees and institutional levy will apply and the candidates must follow the same method of payment as all other applicants.

An introduction letter must be sent directly to the Faculty of Medicine indicating that they have applied through OMSAS for admission through the MMTP with the Canadian Armed Forces.

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 Sweet
Title: Staff Officer Attraction and Retention, Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters
Telephone: 613-901-1558
Email: tina.sweet@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 references requested by the MD program).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Send your supplemental documents to the Graduate Office:

MD/PhD Program
University of Ottawa
451 Smyth Road, Room 2016
Ottawa ON  K1H 8M5
Canada

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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

  1. 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.
  2. Policies
    The selection criteria are based on:

    • eligibility requirements;
    • all of the academic parameters;
    • 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, no preference is given 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 may be subject to prosecution.

    Other factors being equal, preference will be given 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 and a Verification Report can be released for your review 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 a disqualification status could be assigned to your application.

Admission Irregularities

The Faculty of Medicine may, at its 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

The University of Ottawa offers 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 the Faculty’s medical eCurriculum.

Further information will be provided in the offer of admission package.

Choice of Language of Instruction

To apply for admission to the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program of study, you have the opportunity to submit your application to the English or the 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 the choice of language of instruction.

Interviews are conducted in the language of instruction chosen by the candidate on the application. The proficiency skills in the chosen language of instruction will be scrutinized, 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. Medical students will commit to participating in, and following, all teaching activities in both pre‑clerkship and clerkship of the 4 years of studies in the 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 bilingual status is claimed, your ability to have a functional conversation in both languages will be assessed at the time of the interview.

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Selection Process

Eligibility Criteria

Applications are accepted 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:

  • 6 units in Humanities/Social Sciences
  • 6 units in Biology or Physiology
  • 3 units in Organic Chemistry
  • 3 units in Chemistry
  • 3 units in Biochemistry
  • 3 units in Statistics

Laboratory requirement:

  • Applicants 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.

A full‑time academic year in which you take the equivalent of 4 courses per semester is accepted and counted in the Weighted Grade Point Average (WGPA) calculation only if the missing course/unit is completed either as an additional course within another academic year or as a summer course.

Individual courses taken during a summer session are accepted for the unit value in this instance; however, the mark obtained is not counted in the calculation of the WGPA. Any year with fewer 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.

You are allowed to complete missing prerequisite courses during the academic year preceding admission to the medical program but, as with all courses, not during the summer before registration.

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.

Professional degrees earned at Canadian institutions are generally considered undergraduate degrees. Applications will be individually assessed during the evaluation process once you submit your application to OMSAS. Full‑time studies completed by distance education will not be recognized, 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.

Students from a Quebec CEGEP 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. The college (or CEGEP) studies will be recognized as being equivalent to 1 year of postsecondary university studies, provided that you obtained your diploma.

For more information, see CEGEP Studies under Eligibility Requirements.

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 WGPA 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

Applications will not be accepted from applicants who are not Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents, 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 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.

Consideration of your application is greatly facilitated by the WES evaluation; 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.

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa also does 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, a minimum WGPA is set for the current application pool. The required minimum WGPA 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)
  • Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS)
  • Francophone stream (varies according to the different geographical status)
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis
  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Social Accountability Initiative

These categories reflect the Faculty of Medicine’s mission statement. The Autobiographical Sketch and the permanent address listed on the application form will be used to determine your geographical status. You may be asked 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 minimum WGPA cut‑offs are determined by the quantity and the quality of the applications that we receive. If you would like to learn the WGPA cut‑off for your category, contact the Admissions Office.

The mark used at the various steps in the selection process is the WGPA the calculation based on your most recent 3 years of full‑time undergraduate studies completed toward a bachelor’s degree at any recognized university.

Marks obtained on supplementary courses taken outside the usual academic session or during a summer session will not be included in the WGPA calculation. Marks obtained in an academic year where you completed a semester (or full year) of studies as part of an exchange program will not be included in the WGPA calculation.

In order for the academic year to count toward the WGPA calculation, a maximum of 1 pass graded course per semester may have been completed in accordance with the 5 courses per semester/year requirement. Therefore, an academic year in which more than 1 pass graded course was taken in 1 semester is not considered in the WGPA calculation. The same rule is applied for distance education (online) courses.

If you completed only 2 years of full‑time undergraduate studies, but are registered in your third year of full‑time studies at the time of application, you will have the second‑year marks counted times 2 and the fist‑year marks times 1.

Marks obtained for courses completed during the current application year will not be used to determine which candidates will be invited for interviews.

Example:

Year 1 3.85 x 1 = 3.85
Year 2 3.82 x 2 = 7.64
Total 11.49 ÷ 3 = 3.83 (WGPA)

If you completed 3 years of full‑time undergraduate studies at the time you apply, you will have the third‑year marks counted by a multiple of 3, the second‑year marks times 2 and the first‑year marks times 1.

Example:

Year 1  3.85 x 1 = 3.85
Year 2 3.82 x 2 = 7.64
Year 3 3.90 x 3 = 11.70
Total 23.19 ÷ 6 = 3.87 (WGPA)

If you completed more than the 3 required years of undergraduate studies, only the 3 most recent years of full‑time studies will be used to determine the WGPA.

Example:

Year 1 3.85
Year 2 3.82
Year 3 3.90 x 1 = 3.90
Year 4 3.85 x 2 = 7.70
Year 5 3.89 x 3 = 11.67
Total 23.27 ÷ 6 = 3.88 (WGPA)

CASPer™

The CASPer™ Test – Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics

All applicants to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa 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 the aforementioned requirements. Exceptions will not be made if you are unable to take CASPer™ online due to an unreliable internet connection occuring as a result of technical or political factors.

The CASPer™ test 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. Each response is graded by a different rater, 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: CASPer™ must be completed in the language of instruction selected when submitting your application to the University of Ottawa. Applicants will be required to take CASPer™ in the fall of the application year. Failure to complete CASPer™ in the language chosen to apply will result in disqualification.

Schedule and take CASPer™.

Detailed Autobiographical Sketch

Within the application, you must complete a detailed Autobiographical Sketch, which provides information that allows an assessor to judge the scope of your activities. The Autobiographical Sketch must be completed online. 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.

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: Verifiers are randomly contacted. The Faculty of Medicine may, at its 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. Interviews are usually held from February to March. Invitations for interviews are based on the file assessment process of academic and non-academic criteria.

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Offers of Admission

Following the interview, preliminary rank order lists are prepared based on the academic and non-academic assessment (a poor interview may not be ranked). In the event of ties in the final scores, candidates with the highest WGPA will be ranked higher.

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 2020.
  • You must successfully complete your current academic year, including having maintained your average (the average must not be lower than the minimum WGPA 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 1, 2020.
  • You must complete all admission requirements by June 2020.
  • 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 that is attached to the interview performance within our selection process, further applications to the MD program from candidates in previous years who have had 3 interviews will not be considered. 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 (certified cheque or money order) 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. This deferral may be granted under limited and special circumstances. The request is granted or refused by the Admissions Office in consultation with the Vice-Dean. Requests for deferrals must be submitted in writing and received before June 12, 2020.

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)

Graduate candidates who are registered in (or have recently completed) a master’s or doctoral degree are allowed to apply to the MD program provided they meet the eligibility criteria, including the necessary prerequisites (sciences/humanities), completed with a minimum Grade of “B” (CEGEP equivalent 70%).

These applications will be assessed like all other applications, based on the academic work during undergraduate studies, CASPer, Autobiographical Sketch 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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