Welcome from Dr. Rob Whyte, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
McMaster’s MD Program was founded on the premise that medical students should learn medicine the way that physicians practice medicine. This continues to be our underlying philosophy resulting in a dynamic and engaging program for students. Here are some of the features that continue to set us apart from most other medical schools in the world:
- We don’t have course- or degree-based admissions prerequisites which means that students will study with colleagues from a very broad range of academic and personal backgrounds. This contributes greatly to the coverage of content in small group learning environments.
- We continue to be one of a handful of 3-year medical programs. While this does make for an intense medical school experience, it also provides specific advantages: to those students who wish to take an accelerated pathway to a career in medicine; or to those students who are interested in taking an extra enrichment year without falling behind their colleagues in other 4-year medical schools.
- The majority of learning occurs in small groups with expert tutors or facilitators. This more closely resembles the small group orientation of most clinical practice in both medical and interprofessional healthcare teams.
- Core knowledge is learned by understanding patient presentations rather than in lectures on diseases or pathology. Specific content about diseases, underlying scientific principles, pathology and anatomy is integrated into patient-oriented problems – forming the basis for the school’s signature problem-based learning pedagogy.
- Students are encouraged to work directly with patients in clinical environments from the first month of the program in both core and elective components of the program. This helps to maintain a strong patient orientation and the continued opportunity to apply content that is learned in the rest of the program to real clinical situations.
- We continue to offer more elective time than most other medical schools in Canada. This time can be used to enhance understanding of content being covered in other areas of the curriculum and to explore career choices with respect to medical specialties and location of practice.
There are also many examples of student and alumni achievements with respect to research, community engagement, advocacy, and political engagement, among other areas related to medicine. Our three-campus and community-engaged medical education network provides students with a variety of practice settings to develop a deeper understanding of the complexity of Canada’s healthcare system and to evaluate future types of practice – from urban to rural, from hospitals to ‘private’ practices. All of this, combined with a very dedicated leadership team, faculty, staff, and fellow students provides a robust learning environment to develop a future career in medicine.