Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine

Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University
Established 1966
Dean Dr. John G. Kelton
Students 203 per year
Location Hamilton, ON, Canada
Website Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine

The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is McMaster University's medical school, located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is operated by the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences. It is the third largest medical school in Canada, and is one of two medical programs (along with the University of Calgary) in Canada that operates on an accelerated 3-year program, without interruption for the summer, instead of the traditional 4-year MD Program.

The school was founded in 1966, and began its first classes in 1969.[1] It ranks 1st in Canada and 14th worldwide for medicine, according to the 2012 Times Higher Education Rankings.[2] The school is widely acknowledged to be a world leader in innovative learning and testing systems. Since its formation, the school used small-group, case-based learning, instead of the traditional lecture-exam model in its curriculum. This educational model, colloquially known as the McMaster Model, would later become formally known as problem-based learning, having an enormous global impact on medical education and redefining the way medicine is taught to learners. McMaster also developed the MMI or Multiple Mini Interview system for medical school admissions which has been adopted all over the world.

Facilities and Teaching Sites

St. Joseph's Hospital, Charlton Campus.

The school is located at McMaster University's main campus in Hamilton, Ontario, housed within the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, and the adjacent Health Sciences Centre. The DeGroote facility is shared with the Centre for Function Genomics, Centre for Gene Therapeutics, Institute for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Research, Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory, Centre for Asthma and Allergy Research (Allergen) and North American Headquarters for West Nile studies, as well as the Bachelor of Health Sciences undergraduate program.[3]

The Health Sciences Centre/McMaster Children's Hospital is a multi-use research facility and pediatric teaching hospital. The hospital is home to the second-largest neonatal intensive care unit in Canada, and the third largest child and youth mental health unit in the country.[4]

The medical school currently operates three campuses; the main Hamilton campus, as well as the Waterloo Regional Campus and the Niagara Regional campus, located in Waterloo, Ontario and Niagara, Ontario respectively. All three campuses offer the same curriculum and lead to the same degree, but differ in patient populations and teaching locations.

Hamilton General Hospital

The school is affiliated with the following Ontario hospitals, where students rotate and train during their clerkship:

Educational Influence

The medical school is a pioneer in its teaching and admissions philosophies through the Program for Educational Research and Development, renowned internationally for grounding educational practice in evidence.[5] McMaster created a revolution in health care training by pioneering the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum, which has since influenced health care education worldwide. The instructional strategy focuses on student-driven learning, which occurs in groups, to foster critical thinking, higher retention, and stronger cognitive competencies including coping with uncertainty and communication skills. Most medical schools in Canada and more than 80% of medical schools in the United States now employ PBL in their curriculum, and many international universities are continuing to do to the same.[6]

In the early 1990s, the School of Medicine developed the personal progress index (PPI) as an objective method for assessing acquisition and retention of knowledge for students in the medical program. The PPI is administered at routine intervals to all students in the program, regardless of their level of training, and plots students' increases in scores as they move through the program. Students typically score under 15% on their first write, and increase 5-7% with each successive write. Students are able to monitor the changes in their scores and receive formative feedback based on a standardized score relative to the class mean. Due to the overwhelming success and research supporting the use of the PPI as an evaluation tool, it is now used in Canada, US, Europe, and Australia.[7]

In 2004, McMaster developed the multiple-mini interview to address long standing concerns over the standard panel interviews as being poor reflectors of performance in medical school.[8] This format uses short, independent assessments in a timed circuit to obtain aggregate scores in interpersonal skills, professionalism, ethical/moral judgment, and critical thinking to assess candidates. The MMI has consistently shown to have a higher predictive validity for future performance than traditional interviews.[9] By 2008, the MMI was being used as an admissions test for the majority of medical schools in Canada, Australia, and Israel, as well as other medical schools in the United States and Asia.

In 2010, McMaster began using a computer-based simulated test known as CASPer as an admissions tool at the pre-interview stage. This is an assessment of interpersonal and decision-making skills that is more reliable, and predicts much more validity than standard autobiographical submissions. The test involves several video clips lasting 1–2 minutes in length, followed by situational challenges and self-descriptive questions that may or may not be related to the preceding video clip.[10]


McMaster University currently ranks 1st in Canada in clinical, pre-clinical, and health universities, and 14th worldwide, according to the 2012 Times Higher Education Rankings.[11] In the field of clinical medicine and pharmacy, the ARWU in 2012 ranked the program 46th in the world and third in Canada.[12] In the 2012 QS World University Subject Ranking for medicine, McMaster University ranked 30th worldwide and 3rd in Canada.[13]


Admissions into Canadian medical schools is highly competitive, typically requiring a bachelor's degree, a strong undergraduate grade point average (GPA), and strong scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The annual success rate for all applicants applying for admission to McMaster University's medical school is 4.1% and this rate is declining each consecutive year given the fixed number of available seats.[14] The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine received 4793 applications in 2013, which is substantially more than any other school in Canada. [15] Applicants are required to have at least three years of prior university education by the time of admission, and are required to write the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). They are also required to complete a 90 minute computer-based test to assess interpersonal skills and decision-making.[16] The average GPA of entering undergraduates in the Class of 2017 was 3.83 and the average MCAT verbal score was 11.[17]

Interview offers for Ontario medical schools are typically given in January and February. Given McMaster's rigorous pre-interview screening process, only 550 students are invited for interviews to compete for the 203 seats.[18] Applicants go through the Multiple Mini Interview format, a 10-station interview circuit, to increase the validity and reliability of interview scores (see above).


The program is divided into two parts: the pre-clerkship curriculum and the clerkship curriculum, each spanning half of the three years. The pre-clerkship curriculum is divided into five medical foundations, where students meet with a faculty member twice a week in a small group setting for teaching. Learning is done using the Problem Based Learning approach, where students set objectives, complete independent research, and then use their small group sessions to teach others, ask questions, and challenge one another with the guidance of their tutor. Students also complete clinical skills and professional competencies training at this time.

The clerkship curriculum consists of rotating schedule, where students will move through various medical disciplines. These include Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anesthesia, as well as a number of elective blocks for specialties of interest for the student. In their third year, students apply to the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) for residency training after completion of the MD Program.


See McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences

Notable Alumni

  • Roberta Bondar, NASA's space medicine researcher, first Canadian female astronaut
  • Gordon Guyatt, Pioneer of Evidence Based Medicine
  • Richard Heinzl, Founder of Canadian Chapter of Médecins Sans Frontières
  • James Orbinski President of Médecins Sans Frontières, accepted Nobel Peace Prize on their behalf
  • Ross Upshur, Physician and researcher.
  • Elinor Wilson, President of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada
  • Nancy Fern Olivieri, Haematologist, researcher

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Undergraduate Medical Program". 
  2. ^ "Top 50 Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health Universities". Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012. TSL Education Ltd. October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Tour of the Facilities". Faculty of Health Science. McMaster University. 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "McMaster Children's Hospital Twenty years of caring and innovation". 
  5. ^ http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/perd/
  6. ^ http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/55419.php
  7. ^ http://ipptx.org/
  8. ^ Barrick MR, Mount MK. The Big 5 personality dimensions and job performance: a meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology 1991, 44:1-26.
  9. ^ Hofmeister M, Lockyer J, Crutcher R. The multiple mini-interview for selection of international medical graduates into family medicine residency education. Med Educ. 2009 Jun;43(6):573-9.
  10. ^ http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/mdprog/casper.html
  11. ^ "Top 50 Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health Universities". Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012. TSL Education Ltd. October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy – 2012". Academic Ranking of World Universities 2012. Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS BY SUBJECT 2012 - MEDICINE". QS World University Rankings by Subject 2012 2012. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, QS World University Rankings. July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "McMaster University Undergraduate Medical Program Class of 2017". 
  15. ^ "McMaster University Undergraduate Medical Program Class of 2017". 
  16. ^ "CASPer". 
  17. ^ . McMaster University http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/mdprog/documents/Classof2017.pdf. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "McMaster University Undergraduate Medical Program Class of 2017". 

External links

  • Tour of the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Evidence Based Medicine - British Medical Journal

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