10 Best Medical Schools in Canada

With its great reputation for research and education in general, Canada is a fantastic place to study medicine. Some of the world’s best clinical medicine programs are based in Canada, where you will also have access to first-class hospitals and clinics for practical study and internships.

As a student in Canada, you’ll enjoy a great standard of living and some wonderfully diverse cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal. If you’re interested in the outdoors, there’s no better place to study as you will also be close to some fabulous mountain destinations for summer or winter activities. Here, we will take a look at top medical schools in Canada.

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Is it expensive to study medicine in Canada?

Medicine is one of the most expensive courses of study in Canada. While universities tend to have generous scholarships and funding opportunities, there is great competition to obtain these. The average tuition fee is c. $11,000 per year, added to the cost of living which can be quite high in cities.

How can you get admission to medical school in Canada?

In order to apply to a medical program, you need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree – the equivalent for a three-year undergraduate study in Canada, or four-year program if you’re an international student according to Global Scholarships. Your courses should have covered life sciences and social sciences (this varies with the university). You also have to have obtained a minimum GPA and pass the MCAT test.

If your first language is not English, you will have to be able to prove that you are fluent in English, too.

How many years does it take to study medicine in Canada?

The clinical medicine program is typically four years long, and you will obtain an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree.

Top Medical Schools in Canada

1. University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine is the best medical school in Canada. Located near Queen’s Park in Toronto, the campus houses one of the oldest institutions of medical studies in Canada, and it is known for the discovery of insulin, stem cells, and the site of the first single and double lung transplants in the world.

The program of Doctor of Medicine is a 4-year program split into two years known as “preclerkship” (when you will be taught basic biomedicine and human anatomy), and then two years with a significant time spent in hospitals and clinics for practical instruction.

It is extremely competitive to gain admission to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. There is also an opportunity to expand your studies into an MD/PhD joint degree, as well as to study for a number of Master’s programs in public health etc.

2. McMaster University – Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine

Within the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences, the medical school at McMaster University is the second-best medical school in Canada. It is located in Hamilton, Ontario, and offers an accelerated 3-year MD program, unlike most programs requiring four years of study.

McMaster University developed an approach to teaching called problem-based learning (PBL) – a small-group, case-based learning curriculum which is applied to most of their programs of study. This is also evident in the medical school. They also invented the term “evidence-based medicine.” McMaster were also the first university in the world to offer an MD curriculum over three years – made possible by the fact that classes are held all year round.

McMaster have two major teaching hospital groups: Hamilton Health Sciences (second in Canada for research hospitals) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Within these, there are multiple institutions where practical training can be undertaken in a variety of specializations.

3. University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

The MD program at the University of British Columbia is extremely popular, being the second-largest undergraduate medical education program in Canada. It usually ranks 2nd or 3rd in the country.

The Faculty of Medicine was established in Vancouver in 1950 and has expanded gradually to take on research and training facilities at hospitals and clinics throughout British Columbia. The MD program is split across four different sites: the Island Medical Program, Northern Medical Program, Vancouver Fraser Medical Program, and Southern Medical Program. There is also the option of an MD/PhD joint degree.

4. McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine’s motto is “Patient at heart, Science in hand” – they focus on the patient while always using the best and newest scientific technology. Within the Faculty of Medicine, they offer an MDCM Program which lasts four years and is spread across three main themes:

  • Social Accountability, Population Health and Health Advocacy
  • Professional Identity and Practice (Physicianship)
  • Basic Science, Critical Thinking and Knowledge Translation.

The program covers the fundamentals of medicine in the first two years, with a transition to clinical practice in the second half of the second year, allowing you to prepare for your clerkship. The latter takes place during years 3 and 4.

5. University of Montreal Faculty of Medicine

The University of Montreal has a Faculty of Medicine which has been active for 170 years and been instrumental in the development of health research and services in the province of Quebec. This medical school in Canada plays a leading social role in Quebec and has recently opened a department of public health to support the education of those medical professionals interested in being public servants as well.

The program of medicine at the University of Montreal is based on a French style of university education and can take four or five years, depending on previous studies and experience. The Faculty of Medicine has an extensive network of hospitals and clinics for practical training, which makes it an excellent place to combine tuition with hands-on experience during your studies.

The number of international students admitted in this program is regulated by governmental decree, and tuition is mostly in French.

6. University of Calgary – Cumming School of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary was established in 1967 and is one of two medical schools in the province of Alberta. Following on from the model of McMaster University, they also offer a three-year medicine program.

The Faculty’s mission statement is to be an innovative medical school committed to excellence and leadership in education, research and service to society. There is, therefore, a strong focus put on how the medical profession interacts with society as a whole.

The pre-clerkship element of this program is taught year-round, in order to allow students to graduate in three years, a great fact about this top medical school in Canada.

7. University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Established in 1913, this school is one of the oldest medical schools in Canada and has numerous specialized departments and research institutes. They have an impressive research budget and are a great place to delve into your area of particular interest, in one of the 24 research centers and institutes or 9 research groups.

The University of Alberta offers a 4-year doctor of medicine program, as well as a doctor of dentistry, bachelor of science in medical laboratory science and a diploma or bachelor of science in dental hygiene. It boasts many famous alumni who went on to make significant breakthroughs in their field.

8. University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

This bilingual medical school in Ottawa was founded in 1945. It offers a 4-year MD program both in English and in French. All courses are offered in both languages and students can attend any course they choose, so if you are fully bilingual this is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the medical terminology in both languages. Exams as well can be taken in either language.

The University of Ottawa ranks 5th in Canada among medical schools for research intensity and impact – so they are also a great destination for further research and specialization after the medical degree.

9. Western University – Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

The medical school at Western University is combined with the dentistry school under the name of Schulich School. Founded in 1881, the Schulich school consistently ranks among the best medical schools in Canada and very highly worldwide. A notable fact is that they do very well in residency matches, which means that they have a high match rate for their graduates (in the high 90%).

10. Laval University – Faculty of Medicine

The final university in our list of top medical schools in Canada is the Laval University Faculty of Medicine. Located in Quebec, Canada’s French-speaking province, Laval University offers studies in French. The “first cycle” of medical studies is four to five years long and lays the foundation for anyone looking to join the medical profession. The course is split into pre-practice sessions which last 2 years, and the internship stage which is 20 months long.

You will need to be fluent in French to study at Laval, as the whole program is offered in French and all admissions-related information is also in French. There is only one place per year available for non-Canadian full-time medical students.


I hope that this article on studying was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Canada Scholarships Page!