Education Goals and Competencies

Education Goals

The MD Program aspires to prepare graduates who are:

  • clinically competent and prepared for life-long learning through the phases of their career
  • ethical decision-makers dedicated to acting in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism
  • adaptive in response to the needs of patients and communities from diverse and varied populations
  • engaged in integrated, team-based care in which patient needs are addressed in an equitable, individualized and holistic manner
  • reflective and able to act in the face of novelty, ambiguity and complexity
  • resilient and mindful of their well-being and that of their colleagues
  • capable of and committed to evidence informed practices and scholarship, and a culture of continuous performance improvement

Achievement of these goals is supported by the MD Program competency framework, which is summarized below.


Competency Framework

The U of T MD Program competency framework consists of key and enabling competencies that are classified according to the seven CanMEDS roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional. These roles constitute the competency frameworks of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Learning within each of the CanMEDS roles is facilitated by pursuing the relevant key competencies listed in the chart that follows. Each of the key competencies is in turn supported by achievement of enabling competencies, which are available on our MD Program competencies webpage.

Work is ongoing to ensure that the MD Program competency framework aligns with the development of AFMC Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for the Transition from Medical School to Residency. The AFMC EPAs are pan-Canadian core clinical activities that all medical students should be able to perform with an indirect level of supervision (supervisor is not in the room but is available to provide assistance) on day one of residency. Each AFMC EPA maps to multiple CanMEDS roles. The MD Program has developed Foundations EPAs, which operationalize the attainment of the MD Program competencies at the point of entry to clerkship and anticipate the achievement of the AFMC EPAs by the end of clerkship. Both the competency framework and EPAs inform how the MD Program assesses that U of T medical students have demonstrated level- and context-appropriate achievement of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and activities required to progress through and graduate from the MD Program.

The key and enabling competencies that comprise the competency framework function as the MD program’s education objectives (i.e. statements of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other attributes that medical students are expected to demonstrate upon satisfactory completion of the MD program).


Key Competencies 

Key competencies

Medical Expert

  1. Apply medical knowledge, clinical skills and professional attitudes to the provision of patient centred care.
  2. Perform a patient-centred clinical assessment.
  3. Propose and participate (under appropriate supervision) in implementing management plans.
  4. Understand and participate in continuous improvement in health care quality and patient safety.
  5. Contribute to improving population health.


  1. Establish professional therapeutic relationships with patients.
  2. Use patient-centred skills to seek, gather, select and interpret accurate and relevant information of the clinical situation, incorporating the perspectives of patients and their families to inform management.
  3. Engage patients and their families in developing plans that reflect the patient's health care needs and goals.
  4. Share health care information and plans with patients and their families while adhering to principles of confidentiality and consent.
  5. Document and share written and electronic information about the medical encounter, and share this information orally, with other members of the health care team, to optimize clinical decision-making, patient safety, and privacy.


  1. Work effectively with physicians, trainees and other colleagues in the health care professions.
  2. Consult effectively with physicians, trainees and other colleagues in the health care professions to provide care for individuals, communities and populations.
  3. Work with physicians, trainees and other colleagues in the health care professions to prevent misunderstandings, manage differences, and resolve conflicts.
  4. Effectively and safely transfer care to another health care professional.


  1. Contribute to the improvement of health care delivery in teams, organizations and systems.
  2. Engage in the stewardship of health care resources.
  3. Demonstrate leadership in professional practice.
  4. Manage one’s time and plan one’s career.

Health Advocate

  1. Respond to the individual patient’s health needs by advocating with the patient within and beyond the clinical environment.
  2. Respond to the needs of the communities or patient populations they serve by advocating with them for system-level change.


  1. Engage in the continuous enhancement of professional activities through ongoing learning.
  2. Teach learners and other colleagues in the health care professions.
  3. Integrate best available evidence into practice.
  4. Contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge and practices applicable to health.


  1. Demonstrate a commitment to patients by applying best practices and adhering to high ethical standards.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to society by recognizing and responding to societal expectations in health care.
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to the profession by adhering to standards and participating in physician-led regulation.
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to physician health and well-being to foster optimal patient care.