Academic Standards and Essential Skills

Applicants to McGill University's Faculty of Medicine are evaluated and selected on the basis of academic, personal, and extracurricular dimensions. The Faculty admits those candidates who best demonstrate the potential to become excellent physicians. Applicants are therefore expected to demonstrate that they possess the intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities to meet the requirements of the curriculum without altering the essential program elements. Furthermore, the student must meet these requirements within a reasonable period of time. McGill seeks to provide its graduates with broad general knowledge in all fields of medicine and competence required to enter graduate medical training in a variety of specialties and subspecialties.

McGill University will consider for admission to its medical school any applicant who meets its academic and non-academic criteria. Once admitted the student must demonstrate the ability to perform the skills listed in this document. In conformity with the McGill University Policy Concerning the Rights of Students with Disabilities and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (R.S.Q., chapter C-12) eligible students will receive reasonable accommodations appropriate to their disability. Appropriate accommodations are defined and arranged by the Faculty of Medicine in cooperation with the Office for Students with Disabilities.

The essential skills required for matriculation, promotion and graduation at McGill University are defined according to the objectives of our curriculum which in turn are based on the CanMEDS Roles framework of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Four Principles of Family Medicine of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The CanMEDS roles are Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Manager, Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional. The Four Principles of Family Medicine are “the family physician is a skilled clinician”, “family medicine is a community-based discipline”, “the family physician is a resource to a defined practice population”, and “the patient-physician relationship is central to the role of the family physician”.

As a Medical Expert and Communicator, the student must have abilities in the areas of observation, communication, motor, intellectual-conceptual, integration and quantitation.

Adequate skills in observation require that the student be able to accurately observe a patient and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information. The student must be able to decode written documents, use a stethoscope with or without aids, and observe near and distant objects.

To communicate the student must be able to speak, write, hear and perceive non-verbal communication. A student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, and any member of the health care team. A student must also be able to summarize coherently a patient’s condition and management plan verbally and in writing.

The student must possess the motor skills required to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic manoeuvres in a timely manner. It is also desirable that the student be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency medical care.

As a Medical Expert and Scholar, the student must demonstrate the intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities to be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize the information that is gathered, and to problem-solve in a timely fashion.

As a Collaborator and Manager, the student must be able to communicate in an efficient and effective manner with patients, their families, members of the health care team, colleagues and teachers. S/he should be able to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with these individuals. The student should also be able to function in various environments including the ambulatory setting, the hospital and other health care facilities.

As a Professional and Health Advocate, behavioural and social attributes are particularly important and must be mastered. These include the application of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients as well as an ability to adapt to changing environments and to function in the face of uncertainties. S/he must be able to tolerate the physical, emotional, and mental demands of the program and function appropriately under stress. S/he must consistently demonstrate the emotional health required for full utilization of her/his intellectual abilities.

Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that physicians must demonstrate and are expected qualities of students.

The student must conform to the Student's code of Rights and Responsibilities of McGill University and the code de déontologie* (code of ethics) of the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ).

* Access the Quick Links CMQ site