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;


  1. Students first apply to the MD program as described on Undergraduate website
    • 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 also submit a letter of interest directly to the MD/PhD program committee (see contact information) indicating their research experience and scientific topic(s) of interest, and facilitate the submission of their CV and 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.
  1. Students must fulfill all of the requirements of the MD program within the specified time frame in order to be eligible to formally transfer into the PhD program. The course requirements (first two years) are completed as for the MD program alone.
  2. In addition, MD/PhD students will also take one (or two) graduate school course during their elective time in the first two years of their undergraduate MD curriculum (see outline above), or at the latest, during year 3 of the combined program.
  3. Years 3 and 4 of the medical school curriculum (i.e., years 6 and 7 of the combined MD/PhD program) are completed following completion of the PhD graduate studies.


  • Graduate program representatives of the MD/PhD program committee review only applications to the combined program that have been selected and invited 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 are ranked by the committee.
  • 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.

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

  1. BSc Honours degree in a field related to population health (for example epidemiology, human kinetics, audiology, physiotherapy, nursing, law, environmental studies, sociology, psychology, biology).
  2. For the PhD programs in Biochemistry, Biology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Human and Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology and Neuroscience applicants must have a BSc Honours degree in one of the following disciplines (Note, the BSc Honours must include a research project course in a laboratory):
    • Biology
    • Biochemistry
    • Biopharmaceutical
    • Health Science
    • Human Kinetics
    • Microbiology
    • Neuroscience
    • Pharmacology
    • Physiology
  3. BSc Honours degree of minimum A- GPA or equivalent average. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to undertake an independent research project.
  4. Several key areas of knowledge are required of applicants: health sciences, social or behavioural sciences, advanced research methods, graduate level statistics and epidemiology. Additional graduate courses may be required. To be determined by the Program Director.
  5. A total of eleven terms on a full-time basis must be spent on a supervised research project: two summer terms (after years 1 and 2 of the MD program, greater than 16 weeks total) and nine terms (three years, i.e., Years’ 3–5).
  6. 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). Graduate courses will be taken within the first two years of the undergraduate medical school program during elective time. These will be coordinated with the office of the Director of the undergraduate medical school curriculum.
  7. 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.
  8. One original research seminar must be delivered in the home department prior to thesis submission.
  9. The Thesis Advisory Committee assesses the initial research plan of the student during the first summer term in the graduate study program after year 2; the Thesis Advisory Committee 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 member of the MD/PhD program committee will be part of the Thesis Advisory Committee.
  10. The end of year 3 of the combined program should pass the 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.
  11. The submission of a thesis based on the student’s original research will be completed near the end of Year 5 of the graduate program or during the first semester of re-entry into the undergraduate medical school program (in year 6; see also outline of the typical curriculum).
  12. If a student decides to withdraw from the graduate program prior to sitting for the comprehensive examination, he/she will not be eligible to obtain a PhD (or MSc) degree from the Faculty of Medicine. The student must then discuss and plan with the Director of the undergraduate medical school curriculum how soon the last two years of medical school can be completed.
  13. 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. The MD/MSc student will be assisted by the MD/PhD program office to devise a plan with the Director of the undergraduate medical school curriculum as to how soon the last two years of medical school can be completed (given that his/her time spent in the graduate program is less than the scheduled three years).
  14. A student who has passed the comprehensive examination, but fails to complete the research project and fails to submit the thesis during the first semester of year 6 must discuss with the PhD program director(s) the option to complete his/her graduate studies during the summer after completion of year 6 in the combined program or after the final two years of the undergraduate medical school curriculum (i.e., after year 7). Alternatively, the student may seek to contact the Clinician Investigator Program (“CIP”) at the University of Ottawa. The CIP is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada-approved program (Director, Dr. Jonathan Angel) that offers MD graduates the opportunity to enter a program that sees the completion of clinical residency training and the pursuit of graduate work (CIP Website).
  15. The MD/PhD program committee assists the admitted students in finding a supervisor appropriate to their research interests. The graduate program and supervisor must be identified during year 1 to facilitate selection of the appropriate graduate course(s).
  16. The MD/PhD program committee, in consultation with the PhD supervisor, will determine the required course work of each student depending on his/her background upon admission or soon thereafter.


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

  1. Letter of interest or intent focusing on the reasons why you wish to pursue the combined program MD/PhD 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) and research topic(s) you are interested in 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

The application deadlines are published at the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) website under the OMSAS application. The deadline is usually on October 1st preceding the year of admission.

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 a 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.

Students who are already registered in a graduate degree program have to seek consent from their supervisor before applying to the MD/PhD program. Students who have completed the PhD requirements at the end of Year 4 of the combined program cannot expect to be automatically allowed to return to the MD program in year 5 rather than year 6. (Explanation: The required 3-year period of the core graduate program in our MD/PhD program is linked to the forecasting needs by Faculty of Medicine for all enrolled medical students at the University of Ottawa and their clerkship rotations during their last two years of undergraduate medical education).

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

  • 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.