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Best Pre-Med Courses in Canada

Nov 10, 2022

Study Pre-Med in Canada: Top Courses, Universities, Cost, and Eligibility for International Students

Pre-med courses in Canada prepare students for a Canadian medical degree– the MD (Doctor of Medicine). They train students in the basics of medical education and ready them for the rigors of university life. However, it should be noted that there is no “specific degree” for pre-medical education. In fact, according to the University of Alberta, the pursuit of a pre-med program is a myth.

The Canadian MD program states a bachelor’s degree as an essential criterion. The degrees usually correspond to life sciences, health sciences, and other relevant fields. These degrees in themselves constitute the pre-medical education necessary for an MD.

Keep reading to learn more about popular degrees, top universities, their cost, and admission criteria.


Programs offered BSc, BHSc
Duration 4 years
Basic Eligibility Criteria 10+2 with Maths and any two of Biology, Physics, and Chemistry
Average Annual Cost USD 40,400

Popular pre-med programs in Canada

MD aspirants usually choose among the following bachelor’s degrees

  • Bachelor of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology
  • Bachelor of Science in General Science

The choice of a bachelor’s degree is conditional upon whether its curriculum is helpful for MCAT.

Most students choose degrees that overlap with the MCAT syllabus. Such planning can significantly cut down the time needed to prepare for MCAT.

Another factor influencing the choice of a bachelor’s degree is its career scope. Many students are aware that medical programs in Canada are highly competitive. Students choose degrees that align with their interests and have a good career scope to ensure their medical studies stay on track. For example, a BSc in psychology or health sciences can be followed by an MSc and can lead to a specialized career even without an MD degree.

Best Canadian universities for pre-med programs

The following universities offer a range of degrees in Biology, Pharmacy, Psychology, Health Sciences, etc. Most of these programs are open to international students.

National Ranking 2022

(US News Ranking)

QS Ranking 2022


University Name
1 10 University of Toronto
3 22 McGill University
2 27 University of British Columbia
4 37 McMaster University
6 70 Université de Montréal
7 83 University of Calgary
5 90 University of Alberta
8 111 University of Ottawa
12 151-200 Dalhousie University
16 151-200 Queen’s University at Kingston
14 151-200 Université Laval
10 151-200 Western University
15 201-250 University of Manitoba
20 401-450 University of Saskatchewan
24 401-450 Université de Sherbrooke
13 451-500 University of Victoria (UVic)
22 501-550 Memorial University of Newfoundland

Admission requirements for international students

  • 12th certificate (CBSE/CISCE/State Board)
  • Required high school courses- English, Mathematics and any two of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
  • Must have achieved an overall 75-80%
  • Secondary school transcripts
  • English proficiency score 6.5 in IELTS or other equivalent scores
  • Personal Statement 

Cost of pre-med courses for international students

The below table summarizes the tuition fees for selected universities. The fees correspond to undergraduate degrees in science or health sciences. 

Tuition costs tend to be higher for high-ranking universities. However, actual costs will be higher depending on the choice of courses or electives within a degree.

University Name Estimated Annual Tuition Fees (CAD) Estimated Annual Tuition Fees (USD)*
University of Toronto 59,300 46300
McGill University 52,100 40700
McMaster University 49,000 38270
University of British Columbia 46,870 36600
Western University 36,200 28280
University of Alberta 30,000 23430
University of Manitoba 22,400 17500

* Please note that tuition fees in USD are converted from CAD at the exchange rate of 1 CAD = 0.78 USD. Exchange rates change periodically.

Cost of living in Canada

The cost of living in Canada is much more affordable than in the UK or the US. Moreover, according to EduCanada, the country ranks #1 in quality of life.

Actual living costs depend on the city of residence. For example, Toronto and Vancouver are pricier than the capital, Ottawa. If students choose to find off-campus residences, their accommodation costs will be higher.

The University of British Columbia provides a brief summary of living cost estimates for an international student.

Particulars Estimated Cost in USD*
Accommodation $8,600
Food $3,000
Transport $400
Books $430
Other Living Expenses $560
Total Estimated Living Cost $12,990

* Living costs are converted to USD from CAD at the exchange rate of 1 CAD = 0.78 USD. Exchange rates are subject to change from time to time.

Cost of pre-med courses for Indian students

The annual tuition cost for Indian students can range from INR 13,57,000 to 35,90,450*. The annual cost of attendance for one year is approximately INR 23,64,420-45,97,800*.

Cost of pre-med courses for UAE students

The annual tuition cost of BSc degrees for students from the UAE will range from AED 64,280 to 170,000*. The annual cost of attendance is AED 111,990-217,780*

* Costs in INR and AED are converted from USD at exchange rates of 77.55 INR/USD nad 3.67 AED/USD. Exchange rates are subject to periodic change.

Scholarships for international students

There are quite a few scholarships available for international students. Although government-funded scholarships are currently limited, universities, too, provide funding aid to undergraduate international students. Some of these scholarships are listed below.

International Scholars Program (University of British Columbia)

Need-and-merit awards are given to four international students under different categories. These categories correspond to 

  • Students with academic merit and exceptional leadership
  • Students from war-torn countries/regions
  • Students with a commitment to social justice
  • Students with academic excellence but do not meet English language requirements.

International Major Entrance Scholarship (University of British Columbia)

Academically distinguished students entering UBC from high school are awarded this scholarship. The amount is awarded in the first year and is renewable for the next three years. The number and value depends on the amount of funds available. 

International Admission Scholarship (University of Alberta)

The University of Alberta offers top students a scholarship value of CAD 5000 (USD 3910)*. The list of top students is determined using the admission average. 

Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship (University of Toronto)

Outstanding students who have been nominated by their high school for this scholarship are considered. The scholarship amount covers tuition, accommodation, books, and incidental fees for all four years of study. 

Entrance scholarships (McGill University)

International undergraduate students entering McGill for the first time to study a full-time undergraduate program are eligible for these scholarships. These scholarships have two categories. 

One-year scholarships: Non-renewable scholarships with a one-time value of CAD 3000 (USD 2347)*.

Major scholarships: Renewable up to 3 or 4 years. The scholarship amount is between CAD 3,000 and 12,000 (USD 2347-9388)*. 

Several other universities provide funding for undergraduates. International students should check university websites for scholarship updates.

* Scholarship amounts mentioned in USD are converted from CAD at 1 CAD = 0.78 USD. Please note that these values are subject to change due to fluctuations in exchange rates.

Future prospects with pre-med/BSc degrees for international students

Canadian and International students require a bachelor’s degree to pursue MD. These degrees are usually bachelor’s of science in a range of relevant subjects. Biology, Biochemistry, Health Sciences, Psychology, Pharmacy are all popular choices.

Although medical universities in Canada have several seats available for Canadians, international students are often left with minimal seats to compete for. The competition can be very high, with many unable to secure admissions.

A back-up plan for such international students would be to pursue an MSc. A postgraduate degree will enable international students to gain in-depth knowledge. They can specialize in the subject and work in relevant fields.

Popular graduate level degrees

Here are some of the popular graduate degrees international students can pursue-

  • MSc in Medical Physics
  • MSc in Microbiology and Immunology
  • MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • MSc in Psychology
  • MSc in Physiology, Cell, and Developmental Biology
  • MSc in Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • MSc in Pharmacology
  • MSc in Biochemistry

Popular career options 

Science undergraduates can have a wide range of careers. Their employers can be government agencies, research centers, non-profit organizations, or private corporations. Typical jobs can be-

  • Biomedical/Clinical/Forensic Scientist
  • Medicinal/Analytical Chemist
  • Researcher/Associate Researcher
  • Pharmocologist
  • Food Scientist
  • Food Safety Analyst
  • Toxicologist
  • Professor
  • Technical Marketing Associate
  • Sales Representative
  • Environmentalist

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There are no specific pre-med degrees or courses in Canada. Bachelor’s degrees in science are usually deemed pre-med degrees and are also a prerequisite for an MD in Canada. Many universities accept international students for undergraduate programs in science and health sciences.

Some popular bachelor’s degrees for studying MD are BSc in general science, health sciences, biology, biochemistry, psychology, and pharmacology. That’s not all, students can choose any other science discipline of interest.

Candidates must have completed their high school with subjects of English, Mathematics, and any two of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Candidates must also prove their English proficiency at IELTS 6.5 level. Please note that bachelor’s degrees in science often make up the pre-medical education required for MD in Canada.

Pre-med courses (BSc degrees) in Canada can range anywhere from USD 17,500 to 46,300. This range covers only tuition costs per academic year.

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