APPLICATION TO THE MD/PhD PROGRAM

We accept applications to the MD/PhD program from candidates who have followed one of the three streams below:

  1. Applicants who hold a BSc Honours degree (with a grade point average of A- or above) and have a proven record of research conducted during their undergraduate years (as documented in letters of recommendation and their curriculum vitae);
  2. Applicants who have already obtained a Master’s degree;
  3. Applicants who are currently in a Master’s program and who have completed all requirements except for the thesis. These students will have the opportunity to fast-track into the PhD component of the MD/PhD if they meet the necessary requirements already established by their graduate program;

MD

1. Students first apply to the MD program as described on the Undergraduate website. Please consult https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-medicine/undergraduate

At the time of application to the undergraduate MD program applicants have the opportunity to register their interest in the MD/PhD program, which will prompt the initiation of the review process by the MD/PhD program committee.

Applicants must also submit a copy of their CV plus a letter of interest directly to the MD/PhD program committee (see contact information). The letter of interest must indicate their research experience and scientific topic(s) of interest. Applicants must also facilitate the submission of two letters of recommendation from previous science teachers/supervisors to be sent directly to the MD/PhD program office.

2. Initial assessment of the application by the MD program

The application is first assessed by the admissions committee of the undergraduate MD program at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa. Note: Students cannot be admitted to the MD/PhD program if they have not been successfully assessed by the MD program during its initial review process.

Requirements for MD portion

Admission requirements for the MD portion of the MD/PhD program are the same as for the MD program. Please see https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-medicine/undergraduate

PhD

Assessment of the application by participating graduate programs

  • Graduate program representatives of the MD/PhD program committee review only applications to the combined program that have been selected for an interview by the MD Program admission’s committee at the University of Ottawa.
  • A committee formed by members of the graduate programs reviews applicant files from the MD admission committee. The files are reviewed for overall scientific potential, documented research accomplishments by the applicants and students’ general admissibility to participating graduate programs. Candidates deemed admissible to the graduate programs are then invited for an interview.
  • The MD/PhD program applicants are interviewed along with other MD applicants. A representative of the MD/PhD committee will participate in all interviews of applicants to the combined program.
  • Upon admission, the directors of the graduate programs assess the background of dual degree students regarding the PhD program of their choice versus its specific academic requirements.

Requirements for PhD portion

For general information and requirements, see:

https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-medicine/graduate-postdoctoral

Admission requirements for the PhD portion of MD/PhD program:

  1. BSc Honours degree with a minimum A- GPA or equivalent.
  2. BSc Honours must include a research project course in a laboratory. That is, the applicant must have demonstrated the ability to undertake an independent research project.

BSc Honours must be in one of the following disciplines:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biopharmaceutical
  • Health Science
  • Human Kinetics
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

STRUCTURE OF THE MD/PhD PROGRAM

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine is undertaking a revitalization of the MD/PhD program. Whereas students in the combined program previously completed their PhD between their pre-clerkship and clerkship years in the MD program, students will now first complete their PhD and then complete their MD uninterrupted. Completing the 2 degrees in succession will provide a better and more focused learning experience.

  • Students in the combined program must complete their PhD in one of the follow four graduate programs: Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, or Neuroscience.
  • Students who are invited for an interview should immediately start contacting potential PhD thesis supervisors. A meet-and-greet can be arranged between students and potential supervisors at the time of the interview.
  • Please consult the following website: https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-medicine/graduate-postdoctoral
  • Between being admitted to the program in the spring and starting their PhD in September, successful applicants must have secured a thesis supervisor. 

Structure of the MD/PhD program

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine is undertaking a revitalization of the MD/PhD program. Whereas students in the combined program previously completed their PhD between their pre-clerkship and clerkship years in the MD program, students will now first complete their PhD and then complete their MD uninterrupted. Completing the 2 degrees in succession will provide a better and more focused learning experience.

  • Students in the combined program must complete their PhD in one of the follow four graduate programs: Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, or Neuroscience.
  • Students who are invited for an interview should immediately start contacting potential PhD thesis supervisors. A meet-and-greet can be arranged between students and potential supervisors at the time of the interview.
  • Between being admitted to the program in the spring and starting their PhD in September, successful applicants must have secured a thesis supervisor.

PhD Degree

Students will begin their combined program with their PhD and register with graduate studies in one of the four graduate programs listed above (BCH, CMM, MIC, NSC).

  1. It is expected students will spend 11 terms on a full-time basis on a supervised research project. This will be divided as 9 consecutive terms (3 years) beginning in September of the year of admission, plus 2 summer terms following year 1 and year 2 of the MD program. The first 9 terms should be focused on data generation and analysis. The two summer terms provide students the opportunity to write and defend their thesis as well as publish.
  2. In exceptional circumstances, students may complete their PhD in less time.
  3. When needed, a one-year extension to complete the PhD (4 years total) may be considered. Students wishing to extend their PhD and defer commencement of the MD by one year must submit a written request clearly outlining the reasons why the extension is necessary. A letter of support from the student’s research supervisor must accompany the request and clearly indicate ongoing financial support for the student. The request must be submitted by March 15 and approved no later than April 30 of the year the student would have otherwise transitioned to the MD program. Requests submitted after March 15 will not be considered. Submitting a request does not guarantee approval.  Extensions beyond one extra year will not be considered.
  4. During graduate studies, three (for students admitted with an MSc) or six (for students admitted with a BSc) credits of graduate course work must be completed (each graduate course equals 3 credits).  One seminar course is mandatory during the PhD program. Participation in and successful completion of seminar course requirements will be administered according to the rules of the individual participating graduate programs.
  5. One original research seminar must be delivered in the home department prior to thesis submission.
  6. The Thesis Advisory Committee assesses the initial research plan of the student during the first term in the graduate study program and annually monitors the progress of the MD/PhD student. The composition and the role of the Thesis Advisory Committee will be governed by the rules of the participating graduate programs with one exception: a clinician-scientist within the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine will be included as part of the Thesis Advisory Committee.
  7. By the end of year 1, students in  the combined program should pass their comprehensive examination. The scheduling of the comprehensive examination early in the course of the PhD program is designed to assist students with the completion of studies within the time allocated to the PhD program. The comprehensive examination will be governed by the rules of each participating graduate program. The successful completion of the comprehensive exam is a prerequisite to proceeding with the doctoral program.
  8. Once an offer of admission to the MD/PhD program is accepted, transfer to the MD program will not be permitted. Only under exceptional circumstances would a request to do so be considered. Under such exceptional circumstances, a student wishing to withdraw from the MD/PhD program and transition early to the MD program must first discuss their request with the director of the combined MD programs. If approved to move forward, the student must then submit a written request outlining their reasons for withdrawal to the UGME Student Promotions Executive Committee (SPEC). The written request must be submitted no later than March 15 and approved no later than April 30 of the year the student wishes to transition to the MD program beginning in the fall semester. Requests submitted after March 15 will not be accepted. Submitting a request does not guarantee approval.
  9. In the event of failure to pass the comprehensive examination, even after a second attempt within the permitted time frame of one semester, the student must withdraw from the PhD program. The student may have the option to complete an MSc degree based on successful completion of the graduate course work, the generation of original research data appropriate for this degree, and the writing of an MSc thesis.  Where completion of an MSc instead of PhD leads to earlier transition to the MD program, the student must submit a written request for early transition to the MD program to the director of the combined MD programs and to the UGME Student Promotions Executive Committee (SPEC). A letter of support from the student’s research supervisor agreeing to completion of an MSc must accompany the request. The written request must be submitted no later than March 15 and approved no later than April 30 of the year the student wishes to transition to the MD program beginning in the fall semester. Requests submitted after March 15 will not be accepted. Submitting a request does not guarantee approval.
  10. A student who has passed the comprehensive examination but fails to complete the research project and fails to submit the thesis within the allotted 3-4 years must discuss with the PhD program director(s) the option to complete his/her graduate studies after completion of the undergraduate medical school curriculum (i.e., after year 7).

MD Degree

Upon completion of their PhD (within 3 or potentially 4 years), students in the combined program then register with the office of Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) and commence their medical training in September. Medical training is comprised of 2 pre-clerkship years followed by 2 clerkship years.

Please see: https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-medicine/undergraduate

Apply

Candidates who apply for consideration to the MD/PhD program are required to submit the following additional documents:

  1. Letter of interest focusing on the reasons why you wish to pursue the combined MD/PhD program and stating the area of research that interests you. There is no form or format to follow. We recommend you indicate the graduate program(s), research topic(s), and potential research supervisors that interest you as well as any previous research projects or laboratory experience.
  2. Two letters of reference attesting to graduate research potential (additional to the documents requested by the MD program). The two letters of recommendation for the MD/PhD program may be from the same referees, however copies must be sent separately to the address below. The letters must be from previous science teachers or supervisors and it is recommended they discuss the applicant’s research abilities and/or lab experiences.
  3. CV/resume

Notes:

You will not be automatically considered for the MD/PhD program. On the MD application, applicants will have to register their interest in the MD/PhD program; this will prompt the initiation of the review process by the MD/PhD application committee.

You do not need an M.Sc. to start the MD/PhD program. Eligible applicants must have a minimum of a B.Sc. Honours (or equivalent) to be admissible to the MD/PhD program. If selected and invited for an interview by the MD program admission’s committee, applicants to the MD/PhD program will then have their educational background assessed by the MD/PhD program committee for admissibility per the specific requirements of the PhD program selected.

International Students

As the MD program only accepts applicants who are Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents, international students are not eligible to apply for the combined program. Please refer to the MD Admission Eligibility Requirements website for more details.

You must use one of the following two options to submit your additional documents:

  • Upload them using Secure Application Messaging (SAM)
  • Send them by email to: [email protected]

Admissions timeline

The application deadlines are published on the OMSAS website under the OMSAS application. The deadline is usually on October 1st preceding the year of admission.

  • Following the completion of interviews, the MD/PhD program committee members rank the candidates and submit the list to the Faculty of Medicine’s office for the Dean of Admissions.

The MD program is responsible for sending the offer of admission to the combined MD/PhD program to each student candidates as soon as possible.