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Caribbean Medical Schools are ranked as the prime destination for Canadians who want to pursue courses in medicine, despite the fact that tuition fees are much higher compared to Canada. Over the last half decade, the number of Canadians medical students in institutions outside Canada is estimated to have more than doubled.

Shortage of Physicians in Canada

Canada is facing a growing physician shortage. With very limited number of seats being offered by Canadian medical schools, annually, over 30,000 applications are denied. Towards managing this shortfall, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences (UMHS) is offering students an alternative route to becoming a recognized MD in Canada. This is through a UMHS affiliation with many hospitals spread across the US, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico.

Canadian students coming from a Caribbean Medical University are free to participate in either the Canadian or US residency match. The Canadian Resident matching Service (CaRMS) estimates that approximately 3500 students from Canada have enrolled in as medical students abroad, many with a desire to practice medicine after returning home.

Benefits of Studying In Caribbean Medical Schools

Students who want to pursue medical courses are discovering that it is easier to achieve their study goals more easily from schools in the Caribbean. Some Caribbean medical schools even promise to admit Canadian students who have lower medical school requirements such as GPAs. Canadian students who have studied medicine in accredited Caribbean Medical Schools can compete directly for residences with their Canadian medical graduate counterparts.

Medical graduates coming from other countries besides the United States have to apply and compete for a limited number of spots. Often, this is tied to specific return-of-service contract that specifies where within Canada they may or not work after completing their residencies.

Barriers on Graduates from Abroad

Medical graduates coming from abroad must sit for national exams prior to applying for Canadian residency positions. This, according Medical Council of Canada, establishes that the clinical skills and medical knowledge acquired are at an equivalent level as that of a local Canadian medical graduate. The goal is to weed out substandard medical graduates.

In particular, Canadians who have studied medicine, even from some of the best international medical schools are now facing new prejudices and barriers when they seek to work in B.C. upon returning home. Rather than the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the government has now allowed universities to choose who gets resident physicians entry-level training jobs.


Medical schools in Canada are fiercely competitive with stringent medical school requirements. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of Canadians seeking medical courses abroad. This has also led, over the past couple of years, to an increasing national interest within Canada in knowing more about Canadians who are studying medicine abroad as well as their Caribbean Medical University of study.

Image Credit: Richmond Magazine


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