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Degree Requirements for Students Who Entered the Program in 2015/16

The following degree requirements apply to students starting the first year of the program in the 2015/16 academic year (the class expected to graduate in 2019).

The medical program extends over four academic years. All students in the distributed program will follow the same course of studies at the geographically separated campuses. All students will be based in Vancouver for the first half of first year (August – December), after which students in the Island Medical Program, Northern Medical Program, and Southern Medical Program will move to their respective campus to continue their studies.

In order to receive the M.D. degree, students must pass all assessments, all courses, and all years of the four-year MD undergraduate program. For more information about courses, please see the Courses Leading to the Doctor of Medicine section below.

During the program, protected time for independent study has been set aside to allow and encourage students to take responsibility for their own progress in meeting the competencies for the undergraduate medical program.

The first two years of the program are given mainly at the university campuses of UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan, University of Victoria, and University of Northern British Columbia. During third and fourth years, clinical instruction is given in affiliated teaching hospitals and community resources throughout the province.

Students must have the skills and abilities to ensure their own safety and the safety of the patients they encounter during their medical training. Please see Essential Skills and Abilities for the Essential Skills and Technical standards required to complete the MD Undergraduate Program, as approved by UBC Senate. For any questions regarding these technical standards, please contact Student Affairs.


Equipment, instruments, and supplies will be required throughout the four-year program. Computer access via desktop/laptop is essential, and access to a mobile device is recommended. It is recommended that no purchases be made until details concerning the necessary equipment are provided at the beginning of classes by the courses concerned.


Information regarding textbooks will be given before the start of each course. Approximate costs for purchasing textbooks and expendable supplies can be found using the Cost Calculator.

Courses Leading to the Doctor of Medicine

Departmental and interdepartmental courses offered by the Faculty of Medicine are listed in detail in Courses.

The subjects in which instruction is given in the four years leading to the Doctor of Medicine are as follows:

First and Second Year

The first year of the program starts in late August and ends in late May. The second year of the program starts in late August and ends in mid-April. The first two years of the program consist of seven courses:

  • MEDD 410 (Transitions into Medical Education),
  • MEDD 411 (Foundations of Medical Practice I),
  • MEDD 412 (Foundations of Medical Practice II),
  • MEDD 419 (Foundations of Scholarship and Flexible Enhanced Learning I),
  • MEDD 421 (Foundations of Medical Practice III),
  • MEDD 422 (Transition into Clinical Education), and
  • MEDD 429 (Flexible Enhanced Learning II).

MEDD 410 spans three weeks and orients students to the medical profession and the components of the program, presents foundational biological and behavioural/psychosocial concepts, and introduces the learning activities and assessment types that students will engage in throughout the program.

MEDD 411, 412, 421, and 422 are full-time courses, each spanning 14 weeks (August – December or January – April), that offer a variety of learning activities including small group case-based learning, lectures, seminars, labs, clinical skills, family practice office visits, and self-directed learning. Each week, these learning activities will be focused on weekly clinical presentations/topics, and will address foundational program themes including:

  • Clinical Medicine (e.g., infectious diseases and medical microbiology; cardiovascular; pulmonary; fluids, electrolytes, renal, and genitourinary; gastrointestinal; blood and lymphatics; musculoskeletal and locomotor; endocrine and metabolism; integument; brain and behaviour; reproduction; and nutrition, growth, and development),
  • Medical Sciences (e.g., anatomy and embryology, physiology, medical microbiology and infectious disease, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology, pathology, and histology),
  • Diagnostic Sciences (e.g., diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory techniques, and laboratory diagnosis),
  • Treatment Methods (e.g., pharmacology, therapeutics, and complementary/alternative therapies; and non-pharmacological disease management including counselling, surgery, rehabilitation, and nutrition and exercise),
  • Care of Patients (e.g., communication, professionalism, medical ethics, collaboration and inter-professional care, health care system, leadership, quality improvement, patient safety, and eHealth informatics),
  • Populations, Diversity, and Equity (e.g., public health, prevention, and control; geriatrics; first peoples; addictions; palliative care; global health; health advocacy), and
  • Scholarship (e.g., scholarship and evidence-based medicine).

The weekly clinical presentations/topics and associated content progress in complexity from course to course. Also, as these courses progress, there is an increasing focus on preparation for clinical training. MEDD 422 (Transition into Clinical Education) continues to provide students with an enriched learning environment supporting enhanced understanding of foundational medical sciences and culminates in preparing the student to transition from more classroom-based learning to more clinical practice-based learning.

MEDD 419 (Foundations of Scholarship and Flexible Enhanced Learning I) runs longitudinally through first year with weekly half-day sessions concurrent with MEDD 411 and 412, plus a six week block at the end of MEDD 412. MEDD 429 (Flexible Enhanced Learning II) runs longitudinally through second year with weekly half-day sessions concurrent with MEDD 421 and 422, plus a three week block between MEDD 421 and winter holidays. These courses provide a foundation for scholarly inquiry and time to pursue a variety of scholarly and community service projects.

Third Year

Third year typically starts in early June and ends in May the following year. It consists of one course, MEDD 431 (Clerkship), which includes content and clinical experiences in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, anaesthesiology, emergency medicine, orthopaedics, and ambulatory medicine (e.g., dermatology, ophthalmology, geriatrics).

Fourth Year

Fourth year typically starts in mid-July and ends at the end of April. It consists of eight sequential courses:

  • MEDD 441, 442, 443, 444, 445, and 446 (4 week Senior Electives),
  • MEDD 448 (Transition into Postgraduate Education and Practice). This 9 week course supports students to effectively transition from medical school to residency and medical practice.
  • MEDD 449 (Flexible Enhanced Learning III) A four-week course to enable students to engage in scholarly and community service projects.

Information concerning elective offerings may be obtained from the Dean's Office, Undergraduate Education. In addition to formal courses offered by the Faculty of Medicine elective programs arranged by the student may be permissible in individual cases, subject to approval by the Faculty.

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