Last Updated on July 9, 2020

Everything You Need to Know When Applying to UBC Medical School

MedApplications: UBC Admission Requirements, GPA, and More

If medical research is your passion – and you love the mountains and coastline of the western Canada, UBC medicine may be the school for you. 

The University of British Columbia’s medical school is one of the best medical schools in Canada. Founded in 1950, it has since expanded to include an extensive network of campuses, hospitals, and medical facilities throughout BC.

UBC’s undergraduate MD program is the first of its kind in North America. It distributes UBC medical school students to four unique locations. Each location focuses on specific research and a curriculum that’s designed to address region-specific demands.

This student distribution makes UBC medical school a very desirable place for students looking for experience in research at the cutting edge of medicine.

UBC medical school’s main campus is located in Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest city, and a hub for clinical research. UBC medical school’s downtown campus, combined with their three other locations, provides students with very diverse academic opportunities.

Most students attend the downtown campus, while others are distributed to different areas in BC. These distinct campuses provide the same high standards as the downtown campus while serving diverse communities.

As the only Medical School in BC, UBC has affiliations with hospitals across the entire province, allowing for their unique distributed MD program.

Each location offers unique learning opportunities for students; the 288 students admitted yearly are sent to the following areas:

The Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program in the Greater Vancouver Area

The majority of the program’s class (192 out of 288) will be studying here. The large, urban location of Vancouver provides students with traditional, discipline-based rotations in clinical settings throughout Vancouver.

Students study in clinical academic settings like Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, and the Royal Columbian Hospital. There they gain general clinical knowledge as well as the chance to study specific areas of medicine.

UBC medical school also has new facilities like the Life Science Centre at UBC, and the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre. These facilities provide students with state-of-the-art equipment, technology, lecture halls, and experiential learning opportunities.

Vancouver is a world leader in health science research, and the UBC Faculty of Medicine is right in the center of it. Students will be given vast opportunities for research and projects.

The Southern Medical Program in UBC’s Okanagan Campus

Located in BC’s interior, this campus only accepts 32 students per year. Here, students share the same curriculum as with UBC’s other campuses while studying in state of the art facilities.

Students study in the Health Science Centre, a $28 million dollar, 4,266 square-meter building located on campus, and a 3,200 square-meter building located at the Kelowna General Hospital, which serves as the clinical campus for the school.

Students are given first-rate clinical opportunities across the province, including its interior region. Affiliated hospitals include the Royal Inland Hospital, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, and the Penticton Regional Hospital.

The Northern Medical Program

In partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia, 32 UBC students are sent to their Prince George Campus in northern BC.

The NMP provides students with clinical learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. At the NMP, a strong emphasis on rural and family medicine is taught. Chances for independent learning and hands-on experiences not common in large programs are emphasized.

 The Island Medical Program

The IMP, in collaboration with the University of Victoria, offers 32 UBC medical school students a place on their campus. Students are taught lectures, anatomy, and experiential learning modules here.

Students gain clinical experience across Vancouver Island and serve a diverse number of communities. These communities include mid-sized urban populations alongside smaller rural areas.

The IMP blends community medicine with state-of-the-art facilities and specializations found on the Vancouver campus.

UBC Undergraduate MD Admission Requirements

Preference for admission into the program is given to BC residents, with only 9% of students admitted from out-of-province. To be considered a BC resident, you must hold a valid BC Services Card by the application deadline.

  • Canadian citizenship OR permanent residency is required. The UBC Faculty of Medicine does not accept international students. Exceptions can be made if applicants are claiming refugee status in Canada. Refugees can be admitted into the school, but they cannot start classes until the permanent resident status is conferred. You may defer your acceptance to obtain permanent residency, then begin the following year.
  • A minimum of 90 UBC credits of an undergraduate degree must be completed. This translates to 3 full-time years of study. A 75% minimum average for BC residents and an 85% average for out-of-province residents is required. However, the average of admitted students is 88% or above. UBC medical school converts your cumulative GPA into a grade out of 100 for use in the application. You may also qualify to have your worst performing year dropped when your average is calculated.
  • Prerequisite classes during your undergraduate degree must be completed. The only requirement is English. However, biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry are strongly recommended. These must all be full-year courses.
  • MCAT exam results that are no older than four years. Averages of admitted students on the MCAT are 514 cumulative, 127 CARS, 129 CPBS, 129 PSBB, and 129 BBFL.
  • Submit a report of Non-Academic Experiences. This includes information which will demonstrate your well-rounded development outside of the classroom. Information like employment history, research done, awards received, and any other pertinent facts.
  • If invited, attend an interview. In this interview, you will be evaluated on academic and non-academic criteria by approximately ten interviewers. These interviewers will come from diverse backgrounds and can consist of clinicians, academics, and upper-year students.

In the interview, students may select which of the 4 locations they would like to study. Admission is location-specific. If a location is full, applicants will be waitlisted.

How to Best Portray Yourself in a Non-Academic Context

How you portray your achievements is equally important as what you’ve actually accomplished in your non-academic life. Selling yourself short or poorly describing yourself can cost you admission, regardless of how excellent a candidate you are.

MCAT scores, academic averages, and non-academic achievements are all essential to a successful application. Knowing how to communicate your worth, however can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Be specific about your achievements and outcomes of what you’ve done:

Instead of speaking broadly about your extracurricular merits, you should tackle the task, activity, scope, and outcome of each event in your description. Make sure to include concrete figures of your achievements, their context, their results, and their reach in your statement.

It is equally vital for you to show your confidence and ability to communicate well in your in-person interview. To leave an impression on the Admissions Committee, you’ll need to demonstrate that you know how to plan, act out, and execute your goals, with concrete examples.

This principle extends from everyday jobs like customer service, to impressive tasks like leading research teams. 

For example, if you’ve been a waiter, you shouldn’t downplay the vital experience you’ve gained. Think of it: you weren’t just a waiter, you demonstrated your interpersonal skills by professionally serving customers at peak hours, maintaining a schedule, and being attentive to the needs of your customers at all times. These are personal service skills you’ve honed that are applicable to the medical field too.

MedApplications – Simplify and Strengthen Your UBC Med Application Today

After all the hard work and countless hours you’ve spent studying, doing extracurriculars, and stressing over the MCAT, you deserve the best results. Imagine the peace of mind you’ll have in submitting the strongest application possible – giving it your best attempt.

Remember, you must be able to sell yourself as a well-rounded applicant, so you can cut through the thousands of others competing for those coveted UBC med school seats.

At MedApplications, we specialize in fine-tuning your application, so you can excel and rise about the rest. Our team of experts works directly with admissions offices to know exactly what they’re looking for in successful applications.

Our doctor advisors will refine your extracurricular descriptions, guide you on your letters of reference, and help strengthen personal essay statements. You’ll also get personal coaching from a doctor matched to your needs, along with mock interviews so you can build your confidence for the face to face!

Knowing what is going to happen is one thing, but practicing it will give you the confidence and calm frame of mind to do it easily.

Book an appointment now and let our team make you the best candidate you can be.

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