Evaluation Criteria

You’ve put a lot of work into considering your academic path ahead and you bring a unique set of experiences and academic history to the application process. At the Faculty of Medicine, our priority is to encourage and support diversity throughout our evaluation of applications to the MD Undergraduate Program to create a more inclusive, caring community of students who will go on to become an empathetic, diverse group of doctors in the future.

In our evaluation of applicants, we consider the whole person and that includes a blend of academic criteria and non-academic experience. Becoming a doctor requires unique traits and qualities of compassion, empathy, determination, curiosity and a desire for excellence—there is no ‘ideal’ preparation or institution that is preferred for the UBC Medical undergraduate program.

We encourage you to explore the evaluation process and connect with us at any point if you have questions. The Admissions team is here to support you throughout the preparation of your application to the MD Undergraduate Program.

Kamloops pediatric teaching

Kamloops pediatric teaching

Academic Criteria

Being evaluated can feel challenging but know that we have put in place a fair and equitable process in order to evaluate your academic history. There are many details to understand, so we’ve tried to present these as simply as possible.

How we calculate and evaluate your academic history

About your Grade Point Average (GPA):

These academic evaluations are calculated:

  • Overall academic average (OGPA):
    Will be based on all university transferable courses attempted with letter or percentage grades1 (excluding Term 2 of the 2019-2020 academic year (or equivalent term) courses and courses taken in the summer of the year of application2).
  • Adjusted grade point average (AGPA): 
    For the adjusted grade point average, up to 30 credits from the academic year with the lowest academic average will be dropped. If more than 30 credits are presented in the lowest performing academic year, up to 30 credits with the lowest grades will be removed, provided 90 graded credits remain. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Term 2 of the 2019-2020 academic year (or equivalent term) courses do not count toward the AGPA or the calculation of 90 graded credits, nor do courses taken after June 1 of the year of application.

About your overall academic average and adjusted academic average calculations:

AP, IB and A Level credits are not included in GPA calculations.

2 Courses taken during the summer of the application year are treated as courses in progress. They are excluded from academic average calculations and do not count toward the credits needed for the AGPA, but will ultimately count for credit towards the 90 minimum credits and/or completion of the English requirement.  Summer courses from past years are included in the academic evaluation.

GPAs are calculated the same way for all applicants, with the exception of disability-related accommodations granted in coordination with the Centre for Accessibility. Exceptional circumstances that are not adjudicated by the Centre for Accessibility are not considered for academic accommodations.

Adjusted Academic Average Calculations Examples

The application system will calculate your GPA for each academic year (September to August) and will identify the year with the lowest GPA. If you are eligible for the AGPA, up to 30 credits from that year will be excluded and the GPA recalculated.

GPA Scenarios

To determine your eligibility, here are various GPA examples:

Example 1:
GPA credit total = 90
AGPA is not applicable to this applicant

Example 2:
GPA credit total = 105
Lowest year credit total = 33
105 – 90 = 15, so we will remove up to 15 credits from the worst year

Example 3:
GPA credit total = 120
Lowest year credit total = 33
120 – 90 = 30, so we will remove up to 30 credits of your lowest year of academic performance

Example 4:
GPA credit total = 108
Lowest credit total for the year = 18
108 – 90 = 18, so we will remove up to 18 credits of the worst year (in this case, the entire lowest year of academic performance)

Example 5:
GPA credit total = 152
Lowest year credit total = 30
152 - 90 = 62, we will remove up to 30 credits of the worst year (in this case, the entire lowest year of academic performance)

How the adjusted academic average calculation works:

  • the academic year is considered to be the beginning of September to the end of August;
  • credit totals are calculated using courses with grades only (no pass/fail, no thesis courses without grades, etc.) and are converted to UBC units. This applies to both the credit total of the lowest performing year and the GPA credit total,
  • if the academic year with the lowest academic average includes more than 30 credits, no more than 30 credits (those with the lowest grades) will be excluded,
  • if the academic year with the lowest academic average includes less than 30 credits, no further additional credits from other years will be eliminated,
  • if an applicant has more than 90 credits following removal of the worst year up to 30 credits, no further additional credits from other years will be eliminated,
  • if any English or recommended science courses are eliminated from the AGPA calculation, these do not have to be retaken.

COVID-Related Exceptions

Generally, Pass/Fail, Credit/No Credit courses do not count towards the GPA, nor the minimum 90 credit requirement. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we will be accepting courses that are Passed or received Credit from the Winter 2019-2020 Term 2 (or equivalent term) and including them in the calculation of your 90-credit minimum requirement in the 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 application cycles. Grades from Term 2 of the 2019-2020 academic year (or equivalent term) will not be included in the calculation of GPA.

Students who took full year courses in the 2019-2020 academic year, and are not able to have grades listed on their transcript for Term 1 (or equivalent term), will have their final course mark included in the calculation of their GPA for the appropriate number of Term 1 (or equivalent term) credits.

Examples
  • A 6-credit full year course with a grade of 80% will have 3 credits at 80% included in the GPA calculation
  • A 24-credit full year course with a grade 87% will have 12 credits at 87% included in the GPA calculation

About Grade Conversion

These Grade Conversion Tables will be used to convert your letter grades to a percentage. Depending on the grading scheme of a particular institution attended, each letter grade will convert to the same percentage grade as per the appropriate table. These conversion scales were approved solely for use in academic evaluations of applications to the UBC MD Undergraduate Program. The resulting averages may differ from those calculated by your institution. Grades from schools using a percentage system will not be converted.

These tables may be used to convert grades from your transcripts to the percentages shown. This will assist in determining your eligibility to apply to the MD Undergraduate Program. However, you should be aware that in the event of a discrepancy between your calculations and those of the MD Admissions Office, our decision is final.

Note: Table 1 is used for institutions that award an A+; Table 2 is used for institutions that do not.

Table 1
Letter Grade Converted Value
A+ 95
A 87
A- 82
B+ 78
B 74
B- 70
C+ 66
C 62
C- 58
D+ 54
D 50
D- 46
F 25

Table 2
Letter Grade Converted Value
A+ n/a
A 92
A- 84
B+ 78
B 74
B- 70
C+ 66
C 62
C- 58
D+ 54
D 50
D- 46
F 25

GPA Calculator

For your reference, you may find it helpful to use this GPA calculator provided by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. When calculating your GPA, please do not follow the calculation instructions listed on the linked GPA calculator page, as these instructions are only applicable to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and not the Faculty of Medicine.


MCAT Scores

The minimum MCAT requirement for applying to our program is a score of 124 in each section (CARS, BBFL, CPBS and PSBB) on one exam. Applications with scores lower than 124 in any section will be made ineligible. You should review our statistics for an indication of competitive scores.

If you have written the MCAT more than once, we will evaluate your best eligible exam. Please note that our evaluation is based on only one exam; we do not take sub-scores from individual sections of different exams.


Pre-Interview

The first cut-off for invitation to interview is based on a score derived from applicants’ Overall Academic Average or Adjusted Academic Average (if applicable) and a Non-Academic Qualities Score. At this stage the academic and non-academic scores are weighed equally. MCAT scores, so long as minimum requirements have been met, are not taken into consideration at this stage.


Post-Interview

At this stage, all aspects of your files are reviewed. The Admissions Selection Committee will consider that at this stage that you have demonstrated you are likely to perform well in the rigorous curriculum and case-based format of the program.

Non-Academic Criteria

At the UBC Faculty of Medicine, we’re a diverse community of people from around the world and we want our future students and doctors to be as diverse as the communities they will end up serving. Motivation, social concern and responsibility, creativity, scientific and intellectual curiosity, attitude toward continuing learning, maturity, integrity, and realistic self-appraisal, are just a few examples of important non-academic qualities.

In an effort to select well rounded, mature, empathetic and caring individuals who will be best suited for success in medicine, the non-academic section of the application is given significant weight in our evaluation. We look at a number of criteria, including:

  • Report of Non-Academic Experiences
  • Employment History
  • Research
  • Awards
  • Interview, when offered
  • Three references (only for applicants invited for an interview)
  • Indigenous Essay, if applicable
  • Rural Remote Suitability Evaluation, if applicable

Non-Academic Categories

Activities and achievements are reported and evaluated using the following categories: leadership, service ethic, capacity to work with others, diversity of experience, and high performance in an area of human endeavor.

Generally, higher scores are assigned to activities that demonstrate significant levels of responsibilities, initiative and commitment over activities with minimal duration or degree of responsibility. We seek activities that showcase intentional, genuine concern for others, demonstrated by long-standing volunteer commitments or employment in a caring industry. No preference will be given for applicants gaining experience abroad, versus those seeking to choose activities close by. We also look for significant involvement and interaction with people from various backgrounds and abilities beyond your normal peer group. We also consider additional skills, competencies, and understandings gained as a result of diverse life experiences.

Each category looks at different experiences with concepts such as life experience in general, life experiences outside one's comfort zone, degree of involvement, roles and responsibilities, levels of accomplishment and duration of activity.

We evaluate non-academic activities and interests which demonstrate the following aptitudes: motivation, social concern and responsibility, creativity, scientific and intellectual curiosity, attitude toward continuing learning, maturity, integrity, and realistic self-appraisal, among other qualities.

If applicants are intending to strengthen the non-academic portion of their application, they should pursue activities that are of interest to them and which will prepare them for a career in medicine. Intentional community involvement is valued and can encompass a variety of experiences within and outside of the healthcare setting, in paid or volunteer positions. The intensity of the activity as well as the time commitment are just two aspects considered by evaluators. Please note that just as applicants are required to demonstrate above-average academic abilities, a good non-academic-qualities score (NAQ) requires demonstration of above-average non-academic qualities.

Physician Shadowing

In accordance with the guidelines put forward by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the MD Undergraduate Program discourages individuals not enrolled as students of health professions regulated by the Health Professions Act or Emergency Health Services Act from participating in physician shadowing. Such activities pose significant concerns to patient privacy and confidentiality and will not result in an increased NAQ score or improved chances of admission.

About Verifiers

Verifiers for non-academic experiences (including activities and employment history) can be contacted at any time from the date of application submission until mid-April of the following year. Verifiers are contacted to confirm specifics of an activity and can also be contacted at random. Discrepancies between the details in your application and those confirmed by the verifier are noted and may affect your file. Applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure the information they provide is accurate.

Applicants interested in pursuing medicine in northern, rural or remote communities are encouraged to complete the Rural and/or Northern Training section of the application, used to help determine the suitability of applicants for the Northern Medical Program and a select number of positions in the Southern Medical Program and the Island Medical Program. Experiences in rural/remote/northern/Indigenous settings, along with community ties and relevant activities, factor into the assessment. Learn more about the Northern and Rural pathway

Interview

Our invitations to interview will be based on the results of reviewing both the academic and non-academic elements of your application. Our interview process follows the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) model that connects you to approximately ten interviewers and requires you to respond to carefully pre-selected questions/scenarios within a determined time frame. The interviewers typically consist of a combination of academics, clinicians, community representatives and UBC 3rd or 4th year medical students, representing diverse geographic areas of British Columbia. Learn more about the interview process

Final Selection

The selection of candidates for admission to the UBC Faculty of Medicine MD undergraduate program is governed by guidelines established by the UBC Senate and is the responsibility of the Faculty of Medicine Admissions Selection Committee and the Associate Dean, Admissions. The selection process reflects the values of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and all university partners in the UBC distributed MD undergraduate program. The process is designed to choose well-rounded students from a variety of backgrounds who meet the goals of the expanded, distributed program; who can be expected to perform well in the rigorous curriculum and case-based learning format; and who can balance and enrich their academic experience with strong non-academic skills and interests.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Vice Dean, Education oversees the selection process to ensure that all applicants are given careful consideration without regard to age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ancestry, place of origin, family status, physical or mental disability, political belief, religion, marital or economic status. The selection of candidates is made by consensus of the Admissions Selection Committee. Preference is given to residents of British Columbia. Up to 10% of seats (maximum 29) may be available to out-of-province applicants in the medical program each year.

Each year, our admissions process is highly competitive. Due to the intense competition, and limits on the incoming class size, not all qualified applicants will be offered admission. Please know that your application is important to us and we encourage you to consider applying again if you are not successful in your first attempt.

Site Preference

You will have the opportunity to indicate your site preferences after your interview. Members of the Selection Committee are not aware of an applicant’s site preference during the selection process. Following an admissions decision, you will be allocated to sites based on your preferences. Your site choice is given priority, unless the available positions at that site have been filled, in which case you will be added to a waitlist for your preferred site(s). Acceptance of admission to the MD undergraduate program is always site specific.