2022-02-01T17:00:44-05:00February 3rd, 2022|

Best Canadian universities for medicine and healthcare programs

As an international student, getting a Canadian degree in medicine or healthcare can unlock exciting career opportunities. Medical and healthcare professionals are in demand in nearly all Canadian provinces and, with a Canadian degree in these fields, you’ll obtain both academic and practical knowledge.

If you’re in the process of identifying universities you hope to attend, this resource showcases some of the best Canadian universities for medicine and healthcare programs. This article also provides an overview of graduate and undergraduate programs offered in these fields, tuition fees for international students, and general admission requirements for these programs.

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Eligibility criteria for admission into medicine and healthcare programs

Undergraduate programs in medicine and healthcare

In Canada, the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree is an undergraduate degree, despite the “doctor” in its name. You can only qualify for admission into an MD program after you complete a non-medical bachelor’s degree equivalent to a four-year Canadian undergraduate program. This means that, unlike in some other countries, you cannot enrol in a medical program right after high school.

Admission to Canadian medical schools is extremely competitive and you need an undergraduate score of 85 to 90 per cent (or a 3.5 above grade point average) to qualify for most MD programs. Many universities also require a minimum qualifying score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) test

To qualify for medical and healthcare study programs in Canada, applicants need to complete courses in biology, chemistry, physics, humanities, mathematics, and English during their undergraduate program. In addition, you may be asked to submit an academic explanations essay, personal essays, autobiographical sketches, references, and appear for personal interviews.

Besides the MD program, many other undergraduate programs in healthcare do not permit direct entry from high school and, depending on the program you choose, you may need to complete one to four years of undergraduate studies before you qualify. Some programs may also require qualifying test scores, such as the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) and CASPer test.

As an international student, you may also need to show proof of French or English language proficiency by providing eligible language test scores.

Tips Icon Tip:
Read our healthcare job market analysis to learn about Canadian career opportunities in medicine and healthcare.

Graduate programs in medicine and healthcare

Canada offers a wide range of graduate programs in the fields of medicine and healthcare. After completing your MD (or equivalent in your home country), you may be eligible for post-graduate medical education (PGME), such as residency, fellowship, or Areas of Focused Competence (AFC) programs in your chosen area of specialisation. 

If you completed your undergraduate degree in medicine in a different country, you need to take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCEE or MCCQE1) to qualify for PGME programs. Many medical schools require applicants to have funding from a sponsoring agency for residency programs. In addition, you may need to submit reference letters, personal statements, and your curriculum vitae, along with your medical school transcripts.

Before you apply for professional graduate programs, such as master’s or doctoral programs in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Nursing, or PGME programs, you require a licence to practice from the appropriate provincial regulator in Canada.

The admission requirements for other graduate programs in healthcare vary based on the program you choose. However, you will need to complete a relevant undergraduate program, covering required courses, and meet certain GPA requirements to qualify. 

Most master’s and doctoral programs also require applicants to submit research proposals, statements of interest, personal or academic essays, professional or academic references, and more. Applicants whose first language is not English or French may also need to take the IELTS, TOEFL, TEC Canada or other eligible language tests as part of the application process.

Top Canadian universities for medicine and healthcare programs

Note Icon  Note
Unless otherwise specified, the fees listed in this section are total program tuition fees for students applying in the admission year 2021-2022. As an international student, you’ll also need to account for non-tuition fees, taxes, and living expenses. Please check your university website for the latest fee estimates.

Canada is home to several of the world’s best universities for medicine and healthcare programs. Here are some of the Canadian universities that appear in the top 200 of the QS World Rankings 2021 list for medicine:

University of Toronto, Ontario

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD), which includes two years of foundational science and clinical education and two years of clerkship. University of Toronto also offers an integrated MD-PhD program that lasts eight to nine years.
  • Graduate programs: Three to six year residency programs in various fields of anaesthesia, family medicine, pathology, radiology, cardiology, paediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and more. 

Other programs in healthcare:

  • Undergraduate programs: 32-month Bachelor of Science in Medical Radiation Sciences (MRS) program, two-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
  • Graduate programs: The department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology offers Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) courses. The University also offers MSc programs in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology, but these programs do not currently accept international students.

International student tuition fee:

  • For the MD program, the international student tuition fee is $91,760 CAD per year. The MD-PhD program costs around $50,000 CAD per year and the tuition fee for the MRS program is $32,370 CAD per year. The BSc Nursing program has an annual tuition fee of $45,164.88 CAD for international students.
  • International students who apply for residency training require sponsorship support from a foreign government or government-funded agency. This funding will cover the cost of your post-graduate medical education, as well as your salary. Self-funding is not permitted for these programs. If you’re interested in laboratory medicine, the annual international student tuition fee for MSc programs is $28,735.99 CAD and for PhD programs is $8,735.99 CAD. For the Master of Nursing program, the annual tuition fee is $34,189 CAD.

McGill University, Quebec

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (MDCM), seven-year MDCM and PhD combined, six-year MDCM and Oral and Maxillofacial surgery (MD-OMFS) joint program. McGill also offers a Med-P program, which includes a preparatory year in the Faculty of Science followed by the four-year MDCM program.
  • Graduate programs: The University offers a range of post-graduate medical education (PGME) programs, including over 75 residency and 250 fellowship programs across various fields of medicine. In addition, students can also opt for advanced training in Areas of Focused Competence (AFC) in Cytopathology and Adult Thrombosis Medicine.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year BSc Rehabilitation Science in Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy, four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc N) or Bachelor of Nursing (Integrated).
  • Graduate programs: Five-term MSc (Applied) programs in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Nursing.

International student tuition fee:

  • The MDCM program as well as the joint MDCM-PhD and MDCM-OMFS programs have an annual tuition fee of $49,274.82 CAD for international students. The tuition fee for BSc programs is $23,464 CAD per year.
  • PGME programs, including fellowships and residencies, have an annual tuition fee of $33,072 CAD. Students applying to AFC and fellowship programs require a scholarship from a non-profit to cover the cost of their education and salary. For MSc (Applied) programs, the annual tuition fee for international students is $12,862.50 per term.

Note Icon  Note:
Proof of French proficiency may be required for admission into some courses at McGill University.

University of British Columbia, B.C.

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). While UBC has a four-year MD program, it’s not currently offered to international students.
  • Graduate programs: Two-year MSc in Interdisciplinary Oncology, Craniofacial Science, and Experimental Medicine.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Bachelor of Nursing and BA Speech Sciences, two-year Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc).
  • Graduate programs: Two-year MSc program in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, one-year Master of Health Science (MHSc), two-year Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT), 26-month Master of Physical Therapy (MPT), two-year Master of Nursing.

International student tuition fee:

  • The DMD program has an annual international student fee of $74,925 CAD. The fee for the BMLSc program is $53,701 CAD per year, while the BA Speech Sciences program costs $41,156 CAD per year. The Bachelor of Nursing program has a fee of $49,462 CAD per year.
  • The MHSc program costs $22,439.97 CAD for the year-long curriculum, while the MOT and MPT programs have an international student tuition fee of $46,567.20 CAD per year. The tuition fee for the Master of Nursing program is $86,528 CAD for the entire program. The other master’s programs at UBC have an annual tuition fee of about $9,131 CAD per year.

McMaster University, Ontario

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: Three-year MD and a seven-year MD-PhD.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc), four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and four-year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (MRSc).
  • Graduate programs: Two-year thesis-based MSc and four-year thesis-based PhD in Medical Sciences, two-year MSc and four-year PhD in Nursing, two-year MSc programs in Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physiotherapy (PT), 23-month MSc Speech-Language Pathology.

International student tuition fee:

  • The tuition fee for the MD program is $96,000 CAD per year, while the BHSc program costs $44,541.60 CAD per year. Bachelor’s programs in Nursing and Medical Radiation Services have an international student tuition fee of $43,437 CAD and $39,196 CAD per year, respectively.
  • For MSc and PhD programs in Medical Sciences, the annual tuition fee is $17,096 CAD and $6,307 CAD, respectively. Graduate programs in Nursing cost around $43,437.60 CAD annually. The international student tuition fee for the MSc OT,  PT, and Speech-Language Pathology programs is $58,350.66 CAD per year. Funding is available for PhD programs.

Université de Montréal, Quebec

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year MD offered in French only.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Three-year bachelor’s programs in Physiotherapy, Nursing, and Audiology offered in French.
  • Graduate programs: Master’s and PhD programs in Biomedical Sciences, Master’s in Dentistry, Nursing Sciences, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy (MPO), and PhD in Nursing Sciences. Master’s programs last between one and two years, while PhD programs can be completed in three to four years.

International student tuition fee:

  • The MD program at Université de Montréal costs $164,052 CAD for the entire program duration. Other bachelor’s programs cost between $65,620.80 CAD and $73,823.40 CAD for the full program, depending on the number of credits required.
  • Most master’s programs in healthcare offered by the university cost $27,992.70 CAD per year, with 15 credits per trimester. The two-year MPO in Speech Therapy is an exception and costs around $49,764.80 CAD for the full program. PhD programs in healthcare have a total tuition fee of $50,251.50 CAD.

Note Icon  Note
French is a requirement for all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs at the Université de Montréal.

University of Calgary, Alberta

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: While the university has a three-year MD program, it’s not currently offered to international students.
  • Graduate programs: Post-graduate medical education (PGME) programs are available across many different medical verticals. Students can also opt for two-year thesis-based MSc and four-year PhD programs in Gastrointestinal Sciences and Immunology.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) and Bachelor of Nursing (BN).
  • Graduate programs: 2.5-year Master of Nursing and a four-year PhD in Nursing.

International student tuition fee:

  • The international student tuition fee for the BHSc and BN programs is $25,529.84 CAD per year.
  • PGME programs cost around $3,988.38 CAD per year and typically require funding. Other thesis-based graduate programs have an annual fee of $8,081 CAD.

University of Alberta

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: The University of Alberta does not currently accept international students into its MD program.
  • Graduate programs: Two-year MSc and four-year PhD in Medical Sciences in various fields of medicine, including surgery.

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), four-year BSc in Dental Hygiene or Nursing, three-year BSc in Medical Laboratory Science.
  • Graduate programs: Two-year Master of Nursing (MN), 28-month MSc in Physical Therapy (MScPT), 26-month MSc in Occupational Therapy (MScOT), MSc and PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

International student tuition fee:

  • The international student tuition fee for the BSc Dental Hygiene is $104,008 CAD for the entire program. The DDS program costs $91,046 CAD per year. BSc programs in Medical Laboratory Science and Nursing cost $31,426 CAD and $12,433 CAD per year, respectively.
  • Thesis-based master’s and PhD programs at the University of Alberta cost $8,700 CAD per year.

University of Ottawa, Ontario

Programs offered in the field of medicine:

  • Undergraduate programs: The University of Ottawa offers a four-year MD and seven-year MD-PhD program, but these programs are only available to permanent residents and citizens of Canada.
  • Graduate programs: MSc and PhD in Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Microbiology and Immunology, Epidemiology, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Thesis-based MSc programs are typically two years long, while research-based MSc programs can be completed in one year. PhD programs require an average of four years. The university also offers 72 Postgraduate medical education (PGME) programs, including speciality and subspeciality programs, fellowships, and Areas of Focused Competence (AFC).

Other healthcare programs:

  • Undergraduate programs: Four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Health Sciences.
  • Graduate programs: Two-year Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) programs in Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Speech-Language Pathology, two-year Master of Nursing, and four-year PhD in Nursing.

International student tuition fee:

  • Undergraduate programs in Nursing and Health Sciences have an annual international student tuition fee of $64,411.89 CAD and $54,241.17 CAD, respectively. 
  • The annual tuition fee for MSc programs in Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Microbiology and Immunology, Epidemiology, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine ranges between $25,471.80 CAD and $25,952.40 CAD, while PhD programs in these fields have an annual fee of $6,366.60 CAD. MHSc programs in Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Speech-Language Pathology cost $25,719.09 CAD per year, while the Master of Nursing program has an annual international student tuition fee of $31,419.33 CAD. The PhD program in Nursing costs around $6,676.44 CAD per year.

As a leading study destination, Canada is globally recognized for its programs in medicine and healthcare. Whether you’re exploring a career as a doctor, dentist, or nurse, or leaning towards healthcare research, a Canadian degree will help set the foundation for your professional career and put you firmly on a path to success.