MD Electives (Year Four)

Explore Your Career Options in Family Medicine

Move beyond the core MD Program curriculum to explore the intricacies and opportunities of family medicine in greater depth. The fourth year of your studies includes a 13 week block of elective study that will allow you to choose your focus. We provide options in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Ontario where you can learn more about your areas of passion or curiosity, in preparation for further studies in family medicine. Electives take place between September and December every year and last between two to six weeks.

Learn more about undergraduate electives in family medicine:

I am not considering family medicine as a career choice. Should I do an elective in it?

You must complete three disciplines as defined by the PGY1 entry level list before you graduate. These can be accomplished using both elective and TTR/selective blocks.

Even if you do not think you are interested in family medicine as a career choice, completing an elective in family medicine may be a good choice as it will provide a wide range of experiences and as such may be relevant to other specialties. 

How do I choose an electives supervisor?

There are a wide range of family medicine experiences listed in the online electives catalogue. You will need to contact the supervisor directly to make arrangements to do an elective with them. You may also arrange an elective with a supervisor not listed in the catalogue. If you have a specific area of interest within family medicine, such as women’s health or ER, you can use the profiles of the preceptors listed in the electives catalogue to help identify a supervisor who includes this scope of practice in their work. 

Can I have access to elective evaluations by other students in order to assist in the process of choosing an elective?

Due to confidentiality concerns, you do not have access to student elective evaluations. Electives in family medicine are subject to periodic site visit reviews by the Family Medicine Electives Coordinator to ensure that they meet minimum standards and provide students with an optimal experience. 

Will I have to travel to do a family medicine elective?

You do not have to travel to do a family medicine elective but you may wish to do so in order to broaden your experience. The family medicine electives offered in the catalogue cover a wide geographic area across Ontario but there are also many in Toronto which are accessible by public transit.

How do I arrange my electives?

Browse through the online catalogue to find an elective of interest. Complete the online registration of your elective and submit to have it reviewed. Approval for the elective must be given by the Electives Office through the online system. Your chosen preceptor will review the request and accept the request. 

Do I need to do a family medicine elective at a teaching hospital to be seen as a good candidate for family medicine in the CaRMS match?

No.  In fact, it will be looked upon favorably if you have a wide range of family medicine experiences which may include community and rural electives.

How many family medicine electives should I have if I want to apply for family medicine in the CaRMS match?

There is no exact number of electives that you need to apply for family medicine. There should be enough to demonstrate that you have a keen interest in the field but a wide range of experiences is also looked upon favorably. Ideally, having at least one family medicine elective is important if you are applying for family medicine in the CaRMS match. 

Can a supervisor that I have worked with for two weeks during an elective write a strong reference letter for family medicine residency?

Yes. Within a two week elective you can make a positive impression on your supervisor that will allow them to write you a strong and supportive reference letter. 

How many letters from family physicians are family medicine residency programs expecting?

There is no specific number of letters they are expecting. You should have at least one strong reference letter from a family physician.

Are there informal family medicine electives for pre-clerkship students?

There are informal family medicine experiences that you can book independently by finding a supervisor who agrees to take you for a shadowing experience. These experiences can be logged as Enriching Educational Experiences (EEEs) on Portal. You can also register for Family Medicine Observership Week which includes three days of afternoon observerships. 

Visit Portal >

Learn about Family Medicine Observership Week >

How do I apply for electives if I am a visiting student from outside of the University of Toronto?

International and domestic visiting elective students must apply through the AFMC Portal for official elective experiences through the University of Toronto. There you will find a comprehensive policy and information on visiting electives.

The University of Toronto does not accept students for core clinical clerkship experiences from outside universities, given the large number of learners that we already accommodate in our system.

Contact the Electives Coordinator

Amita Singwi, BEd, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Undergraduate Electives Coordinator 
Amita.Singwi@uhn.ca

Undergraduate Program Assistant
familymed.undergrad@utoronto.ca

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