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In September 2005, the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University introduced a completely new curriculum called The COMPASS curriculum. The curriculum focuses on the mastery of fundamental concepts of in medicine. The COMPASS curriculum aims to ensure that our graduates have a good working understanding of biological, psychological and social mechansims and processes, as well as their impact on health and disease, based on principles of learning drawn from cognitive psychology. The COMPASS curriculum is structured to allow the integration of critically important fundamental concepts in medicine and affords an opportunity for students to have the time to practice applying these concepts to multiple different clinical problems.

In the summer of 2019, the School of Medicine plans to roll out curricular changes that build upon the tenets of the current COMPASS curriculum.  This curriculum renewal is the culmination of a multi-year process that responds to the feedback and experiences of its faculty and students, much of which reflects broader changes in healthcare research, the healthcare and medical education systems, and the professional responsibilities that physicians fulfill.  Taken collectively, the curricular changes aim to help medical students more effectively build, consolidate, and integrate their knowledge and skills, thus offering an opportunity to measurably enhance students’ clinical transfer of concepts introduced in the pre-clinical curriculum, increase student readiness for clerkship, and improve student performance on high stakes summative examinations such as the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part 1, thereby positioning graduates with the capability to provide responsive and dynamic patient-centered care as they continue on their professional journeys.


Curriculum Outline



UGME Program Competencies

The  competencies outlined here represent the range of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours required to earn an MD degree at McMaster.  They represent the foundations for generalist MD students who are able to enter any residency/post-graduate training program.

  • 1. Patient Care

  • 2. Knowledge for Practice

  • 3. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  • 4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • 5. Professionalism

  • 6. Systems-Based Practice

  • 7. Collaboration

  • 8. Personal and Professional Development:

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