My Answers to some common Premed Questions
Last edited July 31, 2001


I don't see there being any huge gaps in the UBC Med program, but then again, I've only completed one out of the four years. I'll try to address your points sequentially.

I think it is important to remember that this incoming class of 2004 will be the fourth class under the new program. Should you be entering as the class of 2005, there will have been four generations of students ahead of you, and consequently four years of continuous adjustments and improvements.

Regarding funding cuts, I don't think there is a university in Canada that has not suffered in this respect. Just for an example, you note that that UBC's Anatomy Labs have taken a dramatic loss in funding. This year, there were eight students assigned to each cadaver, and there were many prosections available for study. Contrast that with U of Calgary, which relies solely on prosected material.

In second year, there is expected to be a significant drop in the number of available prosections, which could cause a problem, or it will simply force students to prepare earlier before labs, and to be more careful while dissecting cadavers.

The last point, regarding UBC's standing compared to other Canadian medical schools. I just returned from Quebec, where I met up with a second year McGill medical student. He and I are both close to the same minds on this issue. Simply, the first two years or so of medical education can be learned anywhere. What you are doing is covering the basic physiology, anatomy, and pathology of the human body, and how it reacts to drugs and micro-organisms. That material doesn't change as you cross the border to another province.

Therefore, the measure for learning in the first two years is yourself. The medical school's influence on your ability to master the material is not that great. In the third and fourth years, you are learning clinical material. Here, it's crucially important that you are educated in a state of the art facility, as the skills you learn here will be used throughout residency and your practice. In this case, living in a major metropolitan city like Vancouver is a huge advantage. There's more specialists, a very diverse population base, and no other local medical schools to compete for training opportunities.

Strengths and weaknesses are something I can't really comment on as this is the only program with which I've had any experience. I will say that at UBC, I saw my first patient within two weeks, which pretty much sums up the program here. The entire program is oriented towards learning clinically-relevant information.

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