In 2010, the Association of American Medical Colleges lists 17 accredited MD-granting medical schools in Canada.
In Canada, a medical school is a faculty or school of a university that offers a three- or four-year Doctor of Medicine (M.D. or M.D.C.M.) degree. Generally, medical students begin their studies after receiving a bachelor's degree in another field, often one of the biological sciences. Minimum requirements for admission vary by region from two to four years of post-secondary study. The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada publishes a detailed AFMC.ca, guide to admission requirements of Canadian faculties of medicine on a yearly basis.
Admission offers are made by individual medical schools, generally on the basis of a personal statement, undergraduate record (GPA), scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and interviews. Volunteer work is often an important criterion considered by admission committees. All four medical schools in Quebec and two Ontario schools (University of Ottawa, Northern Ontario School of Medicine) do not require the MCAT. McMaster requires that the MCAT be written, though they only look for particular scores (6 or better) on the verbal reasoning portion of the test.
The first half of the medical curriculum is dedicated mostly to teaching the basic sciences relevant to medicine. Teaching methods can include traditional lectures, problem-based learning, laboratory sessions, simulated patient sessions, and limited clinical experiences. The remainder of medical school is spent in clerkship. Clinical clerks participate in the day-to-day management of patients. They are supervised and taught during this clinical experience by residents and fully licensed staff physicians.
Students enter into the Canadian Resident Matching Service, commonly abbreviated as CaRMS in the fall of their final year. Students rank their preferences of hospitals and specialties. A computerized matching system determines placement for residency positions. 'Match Day' usually occurs in March, a few months before graduation. The length of post-graduate training varies with choice of specialty.
During the final year of medical school, students complete part 1 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE). Upon completion of the final year of medical school, students are awarded the degree of M.D. Students then begin training in the residency program designated to them by CaRMS. Part 2 of the MCCQE, an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, is taken following completion of twelve months of residency training. After both parts of the MCCQE are successfully completed, the resident becomes a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada. However, in order to practice independently, the resident must complete the residency program and take a board examination pertinent to his or her intended scope of practice. In the final year of residency training, residents take an exam administered by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, depending on whether they are training for specialty or family practice.