If you’re a Canadian student with your sights set on medical school, you may know the admission challenges ahead. Canadian schools, for instance, have an acceptance rate lower than 20%. And while admission to U.S. medical schools for Canadians isn’t a breeze either, there are significantly more programs available in America. What’s more, a medical degree from a U.S. school offers the opportunity for U.S. training, which may boost your chances of a U.S. medical residency and employment — both of which can be harder to obtain with a degree from a Canadian medical school.
Because medical education in Canada and the U.S. are similar, Canadians often have an easier time getting into U.S. medical schools than other international candidates. Yet not all U.S. medical schools let international students apply. Given the time and financial commitment involved in applying to medical school, it’s worth understanding which schools are the most “Canadian-friendly.”
This list highlights schools that consider Canadians “out-of-state” U.S. citizens or have an explicit admissions policy that includes Canadian/international applicants.1
Acceptance rates at the top U.S. medical schools for Canadians2
|Boston University School of Medicine
|Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
|Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
|State University of New York Upstate Medical University (SUNY)
|University of Illinois College of Medicine
|University of Virginia School of Medicine (UVA)
|Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSM)
|Wayne State University School of Medicine
|Weill Cornell Medical College
|Yale School of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
The Boston University Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine boasts a thriving research program, broad commitments to education and a very active clinical program. The Boston University School of Medicine website states: “International students who have a degree from a U.S. or Canadian accredited institution located within Canada or U.S. are welcome to apply.”
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
The Perelman School of Medicine allows medical students to customize their education to suit their interests – and more than 50 percent of each class remains at Penn beyond four years to take advantage of resources for dual degrees, certificates, global health experiences and research. Student selection considers a holistic review of candidates, including academic performance, breadth and depth of life experiences and personal attributes.
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
The Medical School’s proprietary LEARN curriculum provides the opportunity for integrated training in six basic medical sciences and eighteen clinical disciplines of medicine. The Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University welcomes Canadian applicants. Unlike other schools, it does not require international medical students to study for a year at a U.S. college or university.
SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Norton College of Medicine
Upstate Medical University’s College of Medicine welcomes applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, foreign citizens, and individuals eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) process. Applicants must have at least 90 semester hours of coursework in the United States or Canada at an accredited institution. The university considers academic accomplishments, extracurricular interests, unique talents, background and personality in their admissions process.
University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM)
University of Illinois College of Medicine is one of the largest public medical schools in the U.S., with approximately 1,400 students enrolled across its three campuses in Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford. For admission purposes, UOICM treats Canadian students as out-of-state U.S. applicants.
University of Virginia School of Medicine
The UVA School of Medicine has a diverse student body, and a significant number of its students come from backgrounds in the humanities or social sciences. About half of the students take a year after their undergraduate degree to take on employment, volunteer or research opportunities.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSM)
WUSM encourages candidates to have a diverse background, and while many applicants have pursued an undergraduate science or engineering degree, WUSM accepts applications from those who have studied humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students must have completed 90 hours of undergraduate study at an accredited U.S. or Canadian university or an American College Overseas as defined in the AMCAS Applicant Guide.
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Wayne State University boasts an experiential approach to medical education, offering hands-on clinical instruction in the heart of Detroit and taking medical students out of the classroom and into operating rooms, bedsides and communities. The school accepts undergraduates who are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, Canadian citizens and any student who has completed a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree at Wayne State University, regardless of citizenship.
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College offers small class sizes, clinical and research opportunities and a downtown New York City location. In addition to thorough preparation in the basic sciences, the college requires applicants to have a broad liberal arts education, with demonstrated accomplishment in the humanities and social sciences. Weill Cornell accepts international students, requiring students with degrees earned outside Canada or the U.S. to complete additional coursework in the U.S.
Yale School of Medicine
The sixth-oldest medical school in the U.S., Yale School of Medicine, is one of the world’s leading centers for biomedical research, advanced clinical care, and medical education. It offers the Yale System of Medical Education, which — in place since 1931 — remains unique among medical schools. Coursework can be completed in a U.S., U.K. or Canadian college or university.
Applying in the U.S. as a Canadian medical student
When applying, remember that American schools look for well-rounded students, evaluating candidates beyond quantitative measures. A diverse range of extra-curricular activities (including research, community service and clinical experience), exceptional references, high MCAT scores and strong GPAs in both science and humanities all factor into the assessment of a student’s application.
There is a world of opportunity south of the border for aspiring Canadian medical students. Understanding which programs are most receptive to Canadian students is a big step towards narrowing your list of schools and focusing your applications.
1 2023 Association of American Medical Colleges. 2024 Medical School Admission RequirementsTM (MSAR®) Report for Applicants and Advisors: Applications Accepted Information
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