Pre-med is one of those paths in education that can seem a little bit confusing, especially for students who might be going into different fields of medicine like physical therapy or research.
In reality, a pre-med path can take on many different shapes depending on the path a student wants to take.
At some schools, pre-med is not a major, but rather, a self-directed course a student must take to give themselves the best chance of admission into a graduate medical school.
Pre-med can take the form of advising, clubs, courses, preparatory tracks for medical school admission, and more.
The most crucial thing in a pre-med program is researching what a student’s medical field of interest requires for getting into their professional programs.
Students can do this by looking at the requirements for specific degrees or even by looking at the general requirements released by accrediting agencies like the AFMC.
Whatever medical field a student chooses, the list of pre-med programs below are some of the best options for finding the resources and support for getting on the right track to a professional medical degree.
Here are our picks for 10 of the best pre-med schools in Canada.
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)
The University of Alberta lets students know right away that pre-med isn’t a degree but a process of gaining the needed requirements to be prepared for a career in a medical-related field.
As a result, students can pursue a ‘pre-med’ pathway through many different degrees, thus opening the door for students to pick a program that fits their passion.
Students can achieve the requirements for a pre-med path at the University of Alberta, whether they want to pursue being a chemist, a doctor, a paleontologist, or a little bit of everything with an interdisciplinary degree.
Whatever path a student takes, they will have access to a wide range of research institutions that will give them the hands-on experience they need to move forward with a medical career successfully.
Pursuing a pre-med path at the University of Alberta means studying with faculty that have developed technology to help students learn in safer and more advanced ways about the human body’s inner workings.
With a wide range of options available to students, a pre-med path at the University of Alberta is an individual journey that meets students where their interests are.
Queen’s University (Kingston, ON)
The Queen’s University is known for its unique equity-focused pre-med program, QuARMS.
QuARMS is set up so students can eventually gain the necessary skills to apply for Medical School at Queen’s University. Students who pursue medical school through this program can waive the MCAT requirement.
By pursuing their medical education through QuARMS, students who might not consider pursuing their medical degree have a whole new opportunity opened up to them.
On top of this, students will also have access to several scholarships that can help them finance this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
University of Guelph (Guelph, ON)
The University of Guelph prides itself on being the best in a well-rounded way.
From its ranking as number one for student living, money received for research, and Veterinary Sciences to its high percentage of female STEM graduates, Guelph has several excellent opportunities for pre-med students.
For instance, if they have or are currently finishing the Pre-Health Science Pathway to Advanced Diplomas and Degrees, students can use this towards a degree at Guelph.
Other unique opportunities at the school include the One Heath program, which gives students exposure to multiple medical disciplines and the option to apply to Guelph’s top-ranked veterinary program.
Outside of the classroom, students will find support from their peers through the pre-med club.
The club offers a supportive community that provides opportunities for members to learn more about how to get into med school, what different careers are available in medicine, and even events that let students ask questions of current med students.
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
The University of Toronto has a robust pre-med society that offers students access to resources, mentorship, and a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
The University of Toronto Pre-Medical Society strives to be a non-competitive community that focuses on helping out fellow pre-med students.
Students can visit the society’s website where they will find information on research opportunities, scholarships, study abroad, and preparation help for taking the MCAT and medical school interviews.
The group also offers students the chance to be mentors or mentees. This allows medical students to give back and help fellow pre-med student find their way through the medical school process.
Mentees will have the benefit of being paired with someone who has “been there, done that” and can give a more personal understanding of what the medical school process will look like.
McGill University (Montreal, QC)
McGill University is home to one of the leading medical research institutions in Canada and provides training in a variety of areas, including nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
Those who are interested in pursuing their medical education at McGill have several resources available to them, including the Med-P Qualifying Year and the pre-med society at McGill.
The Med-P Qualifying Year is for those students who have graduated from the Quebec Collegial system. This year-long program serves as a preparation for the McGill undergrad medical program.
If a student doesn’t get into the Med-P program or doesn’t qualify, they can still find support while pursuing their education requirements through the McGill pre-med society, the Medical Direction.
This opportunity gives pre-med-focused students the chance to make connections, participate in a shadowing program, and access a curated guidebook that provides students with the inside scoop on navigating the rigors of preparing for medical school.
York University (Toronto, ON)
Though York University doesn’t have a designated pre-med program, the university’s Faculty of Health school comes with the guarantee that all its degree paths have the prerequisite courses needed to go into most health professions.
York University’s Faculty of Health school approaches education with the application as its number one focus. Using an Experiential Education approach, the university gets students active in their field of interest immediately.
Students are paired with local organizations and can do a range of projects, volunteer service, and paid internships.
For students who feel like they might benefit from some preparatory work to get them ready for their courses, York offers first-year students YU Prep. Even before students start at the university, they will be able to take online courses in math, science, and a specialized course on transitioning to college life.
York University knows that the best pre-med program is one that equips students with real experience and the academic prerequisites that medical programs are looking for.
Students who attend York will find they gain the resources they need to build a successful application as they move into a professional medical degree.
University of Montreal (Montreal, QC)
The University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine has been an established part of Quebec for 175 years and is currently an alma mater to a third of the province’s physicians and healthcare professionals. That said, the university knows a thing or two about preparing students for medical professions.
Students who would like to pursue a pre-med path at the University of Montreal can go through the university’s preparatory year program. This path puts students through a sequence of courses that will prepare them for the rigors of medical school, regardless of what medical field they decide to go into.
The University of Montreal’s unique offering is its nutrition department, the only medical department that offers a nutrition degree in Canada. Students who are interested in exploring this critical area of medicine will have unique access to the department’s labs and expert faculty.
The University of Montreal is a French-language university, so students should make sure to brush up on their French-speaking skills before jumping in!
University of Windsor (Windsor, ON)
The University of Windsor has a thriving pre-medical society that students can become part of on their way to pursuing their medical degrees.
Among the services the society offers are online resources, mentorship, and community.
Students who would like to learn more about how to study for the MCAT and the CASPer will find information on the society’s website that explains what the tests cover and how to start preparing for them.
Of particular note is an in-depth breakdown of the MCAT sections; by looking through this resource, students will better understand what they will face on test day.
Mentorship is a huge part of what it takes to have a successful pre-med experience, and students who are part of the University of Windsor’s pre-med society have several great options.
The group offers students access to academic coordinators and mentors already in med-school to help them navigate the pre-med process.
The most important thing about the society is that it provides students with a community of individuals who are going through the same thing they are. At the University of Windsor, pre-med students can be confident that they will find the support they need to succeed.