How to become a doctor

How to become a doctor

Medicine is one of the most rewarding professions. Many people study medicine because they are called to help others and want to make a difference in their communities. Some decide to become a doctor early on in high school while others wait until university.

It takes years to get the education and develop the skills needed to practise medicine. Below is a checklist of steps to take if you are considering medical school.

In high school:

  • Take courses needed for university acceptance. You need an undergraduate degree to apply to medical school
  • Apply to several universities

In university:

  • Treat studying like a part-time job
  • Establish supports and ask for help when needed
  • Manage your time effectively 
  • Know prerequisites for courses
  • Volunteer with groups that interest you
  • Study what interests you and don’t feel restricted to a science degree; you can become a doctor with a humanities degree, for example
  • Find out if medicine is for you: ask a medical student what medical school is like
  • To prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), you will need a background in chemistry (organic and inorganic), biology and physics

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

You must take the MCAT in order to apply for medical school. You will likely take the exam after completing university-level chemistry (organic and inorganic), biology and physics.

Applying to medical school

Your MCAT score, university transcripts and written application all affect the success of your application. At Dalhousie Medical School, your place of residence and your score on a computer-based (CASPer) test also matter. 

After applying, only a few people will be contacted for an interview. This is the final stage of the application process.

Medical school

The medical school program is four years; you will spend the first two years in classrooms and lectures, and the final two years learning in a hospital setting. Following this you’ll spend two to seven years in residency or specialization. 

Under-represented applicants:

Dalhousie Medical School uses affirmative action to boost the number of graduates from under-represented groups, including African Nova Scotians and Aboriginal Maritimers.

All applicants require admission prerequisites. Applicants applying under the affirmative action policy must self-identify in Section 4 of the application form. They will be assessed on their qualifications to study medicine, but not in relation to other candidates.