Canadian Contemplating US Schools

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Jon Davis

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Hello, I'm a Canadian going to an American university. I have a 3.97 gpa and I'm in my second year. I've been researching medicine as a career for 3 years now. I feel that I will specialize in a field rather than become a GP. My question is, where do I learn about the differences between US and Canadian schools? I read that "Thewonderer" is a Canadian/US medical student and so if you can please respond. Any one else in the same position as "Thewonderer" please respond. (Cost is NOT an issue.)


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My knowledge of Canadian med schools is limited, but I have undertaken an elective overseas, as a US med student.

In general, I think that medicine is medicine, no matter which country you attend. The training itself varies, but in the end, we are (or should I say will be) trained equally well. Moreover, within the US, there are SO many different models, the choice of which school in the US to attend is a major debate in itself. As a Canadian med school graduate, you would enter the Match as an independent applicant. If you want to get a US residency, I would look at the match statistics - In 2001, 67.5% of Active Canadian applicants matched. More detail can be found at:


If specializing is your goal, I would compare what % of Canadians eventually get into your specialty of interest (as compared to in the US) - and also temper the time to getting into your specialty.... I know that in many countries, there can be very long waits (ie many years as a registrar) to get a preferred training position.

In anycase, you could always apply to both and make your decision after interviewing!


PS - must be nice to NOT have to worry about cost - Wish I could say the same!


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I don't go to canadian med schools so I cannot be that sure. As far as I know, there is not much difference between canadian v.s american med schools.

Some "possible" differences:

1) admissions: I personally felt that UBC and Mac might have some pretty unique admissions procedures. more subjective than other canadian schools and many american schools. MCAT also does not seem to play as big of a role in Canadian admissions than in American admissions.

2) length of studies: calgary and Macmaster are both 3 year programs leading to MD after being in schools for 11-months per year.

3) education:

some say that canadian students have more responsiblities on the wards than american students because a) canadian hospitals tend to be not as well staffed as American hospitals and b) lack of litigation and private teaching hospitals in Canada. Some people (i.e. McGill) use it as a selling point for canadian schools.

maybe more primary care based education in canada? for one thing, GP is more FAVORED while specialty spots are more LIMITED in Canada.

see the quota below....


less technology use in canada?

more push for specialty as a career choice (instead of primary care) AND research at top 10 US med schools (this, I can be pretty sure....)

4. post-grad education: easier to obtain job visa in the US when you gradute from american med school (this is a non-issue for americans who go to canada for med school b/c they don't need job visa afterwards!)

my previous post:

"if you want to be a fresh Canadian med school grad coming to the US for residency, you need an J-class working visa. Howeve,r with that class of working visa, you will be forced to go back to Canada for two years before being allowed to come back to the US to work (this is called the home-residence requirement). It is meant to protect Canada for obvious reason. There are three ways to by-pass that. One is to hold an American green card then you don't need a working visa in the states at all! Two is to graduate from an American med school and by that, you can opt to go after H1B class working visa after you graduate and work in the states as a resident without worrying about the home-residency requirement. Three, Canadian med school grad can bypass J-class and go straight to H1B IF they pass USMLE step III. The key here is that you are not eligible to write step III until you finish first year of residency. So that does not help much, does it?"

Please see the following link: