How to Study Medicine in Canada for Free

Here, you will get full details of different ways to study medicine in Canada for free. However, in some cases, you may have to pay for your flight and living expenses but your medical tuition fees will be free.

Firstly, you should understand that there aren’t any tuition free universities in Canada whether you are a foreign student, resident or citizen of Canada you must pay the required tuition fees for your study.

Although you can study for free when you apply for certain scholarships, financial aids and bursaries which may be provided by the Canadian government, Canadian universities and colleges, charity foundations, alumni and the government of your own country if you are an international student.


About Studying Medicine in Canada

How much does it cost to study medicine in Canada?

The cost of medical studies in Canada depends on if you are a graduate or undergraduate degree student.

The cost of medicine in Canada for undergraduate student ranges from $8,500 – $18,300 while for graduate students, it ranges from $13,500 – $22,000 per semester. The cost of medical tuition in Canada vary between individual universities and particular fields of medicine.

You should know exactly that medical schools in Canada are graduate programs. For undergraduate studies leading to medical school, you have to take up undergraduate degree programs like biology or related programs. This is what will grant you access to a medical school in Canada.

How many years does it take to study medicine in Canada?

Studying medicine in Canadian universities generally takes 4 years to complete except at McMaster University and the University of Calgary where programs run for 3 years without interruption for the summer.

Can a foreigner study medicine in Canada?

Most Canadian universities do not accept foreigner students who are not permanent residents in Canada into their medical school and the ones that do, accepts just very few and these few are even accepted based on special contract agreement between the school and the government of the students home country.

Aside this situation, getting admission for a medical career in Canada as an international student is almost impossible. The total of admission slots available for international students in the 17 medical schools in Canada put together may not even be up to a dozen and those that get in, pay very huge amounts up to a hundred thousand dollars plus.

So as a non-Canadian citizen, the best way to get admission to become a doctor in Canada is to either have permanent residency, have huge money and try as much as possible to squeeze in or just back-off entirely.

Requirements to Study Medicine in Canada

The following are the general basic requirements to study medicine in Canada;

  • Firstly, to enrol in medical school in Canada the student must have completed a bachelor’s degree in biology or another related field.
  • Students must take the English proficiency test like the TOEFL or IELTS and pass the average score set out by their host institutions.
  • International students should have a valid student permit
  • Students will take the acceptance tests like the MCAT or CASPer test and pass the average score set out by their host institution. Some universities accept both the MCAT and CASPer, some accept just the MCAT or CASper
  • Pass the GPA set out by your preferred institution and prepare every other required documentation for your application, some of these documents are;
    1. Letters of recommendation
    2. Essays
    3. Academic transcripts
    4. Clear passport photograph
    5. Authentic identity card
    6. Statement of purpose.

These are the general basic requirements for getting into a medical school in Canada, the documents and test scores vary by institutions and your faculty or preferred branch of medicine may ask for more requirements.

So, it is important that you check with your host institution concerning further requirements that your program may require.

Medical Schools in Canada

There are 17 medical schools in Canada and they award the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree which is required to become a physician or a surgeon in Canada. These schools are;

  • The University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
  • University of Calgary Cumming, School of Medicine
  • The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine
  • University of Manitoba Max Rady, College of Medicine
  • The Memorial University of Newfoundland, Faculty of Medicine
  • Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine
  • McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine
  • Northern Ontario, School of Medicine
  • Queen’s University, School of Medicine
  • Western University Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine
  • The University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine
  • Laval University, Faculty of Medicine
  • McGill University, Faculty of Medicine
  • The University of Montreal, Faculty of Medicine
  • The University of Sherbrooke, Faculty of Medicine and Sciences
  • The University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine.

You can find a detailed listing of all the medical schools in Canada here.

How To Study Medicine In Canada For Free

Before you talk about studying medicine in Canada for free, you should first certain if you even eligible to get admission in Canada to study medicine. Like I wrote earlier, admission into any medical degree program in Canada is very difficult for international students.

However, for those who qualify, below are some very valid tips to help you study medicine in Canada for free or at least at a reduced or subsidized cost.

1. Scholarships and Financial Aids

From the research I have carried out, one of the ways to study medicine for free in Canada is by applying for scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial aids that will assist with your medical tuition fees.

While there are fully-funded scholarships out there for students who want to study in Canada, there are also partially-funded scholarships and you should know the difference exactly.

Fully-funded scholarships, just as the name implies, are scholarships awarded to students who pass the eligibility requirements and criteria of that scholarship and the funds cover tuition fees, living expenses, school materials, flight fee (for international students) till the end of the students’ study; that is if the student keeps up with a satisfactory academic performance set out by the scholarships committee.

Fully-funded scholarships are rare or few, there aren’t very much of it and they are really competitive to get and also awarded to very few amount of student, maybe 50 students at the highest. Scholarships of this kind also come with lots of criteria and requirements that students must possess before they can win it.

Also, fully-funded scholarships are provided by any medium even some Canadian universities provide such aids to students and it is, in most cases, open for application to both domestic and international student. You should always go through every scholarship requirement before you apply to make sure it is the type of scholarship that you want.

For the partially-funded scholarships, this kind of aids cover only a part of the students financial needs. It may cover only tuition fees or only school materials and in very few cases, both. But, it never covers for living cost and flight fees, if they do, then it is very certain you will have to, pay tuition fees by yourself. Partially-funded scholarships can never cover all expenses.

Scholarships of these kinds are rampant and are offered to a large number of students, in most cases, the partially-funded scholarships come only once in a lifetime while the ones that come annually are only awarded once in a lifetime to a student.

This is done so that every student would at least get a fair chance to enjoy the benefits of a scholarship program. Whatever the kind of scholarship that comes your way, it helps in funding your education and helps you to think less about how to pay some fees, even if it’s just once.

Financial aids may come in the form of free school materials and equipment, cash prizes and other prizes it is also a form of encouraging students too. Bursaries are mainly given to students from impoverished backgrounds, war-torn homes and countries, although some come in little packages, nevertheless, they still help.

So, these are the scholarship-related ways you can study medicine in Canada for free as an international or domestic student. When applying for the scholarship, you must meet up with the scholarship eligibility requirements and these requirements vary by institutions and the scholarship body presenting the scholarship or award.

Although the scholarships have different requirements, they share general requirements, applicable to all applicants, which you should know about and they are;

  • Applicants must possess excellent academic performance, involved in extra-curricular activities and possess leadership skills.
  • Graduate applicants must possess a strong research potential and must have had some few years of working experience.
  • Applicants must excel in the English proficiency exams
  • Graduate applicants must excel in the GMAT or GRE exam
  • Applicants should have a high GPA, it is a key factor for awarding students scholarships.

Search and apply for fully-funded scholarships in Canada and also apply for scholarships to study for free in Canada, always apply for more than one scholarship and submit your applications early. These tips will help you get a scholarship that can help you study medicine in Canada for free.

Medical Scholarships and financial aids in Canada

There is a very wide range of medicine scholarships in Canada, they vary by institution and faculties there are also lots of in-course scholarships sponsored by universities and alumni. The popular scholarships are;

  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • B. Wiswell Scholarship (Dalhousie University)
  • J Douglas Scholarship in Community Health and Epidemiology (Queen’s University)
  • F. Lloyd Roberts Scholarship
  • Adiel Steacy Memorial Scholarships (Queen’s University)
  • AE Bowie Scholarship in Medicine (University of Alberta)
  • Alan Tarshis and Nancy Goodman Scholarship in Medicine (Dalhousie University)
  • Albert A. Butler Award in Orthopedics (McGill University)
  • College of Medicine Graduate Scholarship (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Douglas and Jean Bailey Scholarship (University of British Columbia)
  • Donald and Christina Jolly Scholarship in Medicine (University of Alberta)
  • Alex Peepre Memorial Scholarship (University of Guelph)

2. Student Loans

You can get loans from banks, private loan companies and other financial institution to pay for your education cost while studying and pay back afterward, maybe when you are done with schools and have a paying job. This option may not seem like much but a lot of students have utilized it and it certainly worked well for them.

A lot of medical graduates used this means to achieve their academic goals and after a few months, you can pay all your debt back once you start working.

To make this option much easier, take loans from financial institutions and platforms that have low-interest rate and fits students so that paying back the debt won’t be too much of an issue on you. We have a published article that fully details how you can secure international student loans in Canada.

3. Attend Affordable Universities

Apply for universities with low tuition to help cut the cost of your medical degree. This helps a very long way. Some schools have tuition fees for medical studies more than $10,000 cheaper than another and this is a huge save for students.

In such schools, some monetary scholarships that may cover just just part of your academic expenses could end up covering all thereby aiding you to study medicine in Canada for free.

With the tips I have given, the option of applying for and attending an affordable university will help you to study medicine in Canada for free.

4. Work While Studying

Working while studying is another way to help with your medical studies cost although this option won’t completely cover your entire cost of study if you undertake a regular degree program.

But, if you are going for part-time education, a very good support job could cover your entire study cost and still leave you with some pocket money. This is the option many international students seek when they are not able to secure fully funded scholarships but the truth is, this doesn’t come easy too.

You can check out our post on how to study and work in Canada.

Conclusion on How to Study Medicine in Canada for Free

These medical universities in Canada all have internal scholarships and scholarships that come from other sources like the Canadian government and alumni associations and some of these scholarships though rare can help you abate all cost enabling you to study medicine in Canada for free without any hidden fees.

So, you should always check the scholarship page of these universities to find out which of the scholarships you at least qualify for and have a fair chance of being selected.

Medicine is a highly rated field of study and expensive too, mainly because it concerns human life which certainly needs just the best hands.

Also, getting an MD degree from a Canadian institution will give you a fair edge in the medical job field in most places in the world.

Through this article, you get to know how to reduce the cost of your medical study entirely or at least,  considerably.



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