Faculty of Medicine


The first medical school in Canada with a social accountability mandate, the northern ontario school of medicine (NOSM) has become a world recognized leader in the field of health professional education. Its unique model of distributed, community-engaged medical education and research is producing highly sought after physicians, residents, physician assistants, dietitians, and other health-care professionals.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.



The following document provides a brief overview of the MD curriculum at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine: Overview of the Four Year Undergraduate Medical Education Program 

The entire undergraduate medical curriculum is organized around the following five integrated themes: 

  • Theme 1: ‘Northern and Rural Health’ covers the teaching of cultural competency especially in relation to populations in Northern Ontario such as Francophone and Aboriginal peoples, history and geography of Northern Ontario and the history of medicine in the North, health care and service issues in Northern Ontario, and the challenges, benefits and rewards for practicing medicine in Northern Ontario.   


  • Theme 2: ‘Personal and Professional Aspects of Medical Practice’ covers professionalism, medical ethics, medico-legal issues and historical developments related to medicine and health, including the practice of medicine and health in Northern Ontario.  


  • Theme 3: ‘Social and Population Health’ covers concepts of health and illness, public and community health, social determinants of health, research skills, public health policy, and the organization of health care in Canada.    


  • Theme 4: ‘Foundations of Medicine’ covers all of the basic sciences in medicine including the disciplines of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry, and immunology.  


  • Theme 5: ‘Clinical and Communication Skills in Health Care’ covers communication skills, components of the health history and physical examination of body systems related to various aspects of the life cycle. 


The five Themes are integrated into every module and clerkship of the MD program for both teaching and assessment. The reinforcement of concepts across the Themes ensures key learning outcomes are being achieved with an emphasis on medical and clinical topics. 



Phase 1 


Phase 1, the first of three curriculum phases in the four-year Undergraduate Medical Education program at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, encompasses the first two years of the program. Phase 1 is organized around eleven Case Based Modules (CBMs), each of which covers a major body system. In keeping with the focus of the school on preparation of students for life and practice in any Northern setting, each CBM also has either a remote, regional, rural or aboriginal setting focus. Teaching is carried out using a mix of small and large group sessions, labs and community-based clinical experiences including a 4-week placement in an Aboriginal community at the end of year 1 and two small community placements in year 2. Learners also undertake a longitudinal program of community and interprofessional learning. 


Phase 2 


Phase 2 (year 3) of the MD program is dedicated to a single Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) that takes place in medium-sized communities across Northern Ontario. Learners undertake a wide range of clinical learning activities throughout the community as well as engaging in group teaching sessions including virtual academic rounds (VARs) and distributed topic sessions (DTS). Learners also undertake a reflective research project based in the needs and dynamics of their host communities.


Phase 3 


Phase 3 (year 4) takes place in the academic health science centres in Thunder Bay and Sudbury and is organized around a series of specialist clerkship rotations: Surgery, Internal Medicine, Children’s Health, Women’s Health, Mental Health, Emergency Medicine, and Family Medicine. The integrated exposure to various specialties and subspecialties in Phase 3 provides learners with the opportunity to assess various specialties which they may choose to pursue as career choices. There are also opportunities to experience medicine in different settings through electives.


The Faculty of Medicine includes the following academic programs: