Evaluation Criteria

No particular degree program is considered ideal or preferred in preparation for entry to the MD Program, nor is any preference given to a particular institution attended; we welcome applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds. As each year there are many more qualified applicants than positions available, students should enroll in programs which reflect their strengths and interests and to have an alternative career option should their application be unsuccessful.

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 academic average (AGPA): In the adjusted academic average, the academic year up to 30 credits with the lowest academic average will be dropped. If more than 30 credits are presented in the worst academic year, the 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 application3.

1 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.

Students who took full year courses in the 2019-2020 school 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.


  • 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

3 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.

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 Examples

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

To determine eligibility:

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

Example 2:
GPA credit total = 105
Worst 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
Worst year credit total = 33
120 – 90 = 30, so we will remove up to 30 credits of the worst year

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

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


For the adjusted academic average calculation:

• 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 worst 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.

Grade Conversion: These Grade Conversion Tables will be used to convert applicants’ 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 by applicants to convert grades from their transcripts to the percentages shown. This will assist in determining eligibility to apply to the MD Undergraduate Program. However, applicants should be aware that in the event of a discrepancy between their calculations and those of the Admissions Office, our decision is final.

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


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. Applicants 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: All aspects of applicants’ files are looked at. The Admissions Selection Committee will consider that applicants, whatever their particular academic background, have demonstrated they are likely to perform well in the rigorous curriculum and case-based format of the program. Assessment of academic performance also includes reviewing trends in grades from year to year as well as senior undergraduate and graduate level achievements completed by application deadline.

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.

The evaluation of non-academic criteria is based on the following:

  • 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

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. Within each category, a variety of factors are considered when assigning a score. 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 which 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.

Applicants are evaluated on their 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 health care setting, in paid or volunteer positions. The intensity of the activity as well as the time commitment are just two aspects which are considered by evaluators. Please note that just as applicants are required to demonstrate above-average academic abilities, a good NAQ score requires demonstration of above-average non-academic qualities.

*Note about 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.

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.

The Faculty of Medicine will interview a sub-set of applicants, based on results of file reviews of academic and non-academic evaluations. The interview is an important component of the admission process. The interview process follows the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) model which exposes an applicant to approximately 10 interviewers and requires that he/she deal with a carefully pre-selected scenario/situation within a determined timeframe. 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.

Candidates are selected after review and decisions are made by committee consensus. Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. The number of qualified applicants significantly exceeds the number of available positions. Students considering applying to the program should review the detailed statistics on our website and compare their profiles. Due to the intense competition, and limits on the incoming class size, not all qualified applicants will be offered admission. Qualified candidates who are not admitted are welcome to reapply in any subsequent year.

The selection of candidates for admission to the UBC distributed MD undergraduate program is governed by guidelines established by the MD Admissions Subcommittee and Senate of UBC. 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 Executive Associate Dean, Education oversees the selection process to ensure that all applicants are given careful consideration without regard to age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital, or economic status. The Admissions Selection Committee reviews and discusses interviewed applicants. At present, admission is limited to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. A maximum of 29 positions may be made available to out-of-province applicants in the medical program each year. In completing the online application, candidates will provide information to help determine their suitability for the Northern Medical Program.

The applicant will have the opportunity to indicate their site preferences after their interview. Members of the Selection Committee are not aware of an applicant’s site preference during the selection discussions. Following an admissions decision, applicants offered admission are allocated to sites based on their preferences. The site choice of the accepted student is given priority, unless the available positions at that site have been filled, in which case he/she would be wait-listed for a preferred site(s). Acceptance of admission to the MD undergraduate program is site specific.