The University of Toronto has the most extensive biomedical and health research resources in Canada and among the best in the world. Medical students are encouraged to explore their interest in research through opportunities organized within the MD Program and through other initiatives offered by individual Departments and Hospital Research Institutes affiliated with the University. The majority of such opportunities are offered during the summer, when first and second year students in particular are able to devote large blocks of time to research projects.
Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS)
CREMS is an umbrella program that allows interested medical students to gain extracurricular research experience in various structured subprograms without interrupting their medical studies. CREMS aims to provide participating students with an opportunity to:
- explore their research interests
- gain valuable hands-on research experience
- prepare for a clinical career with a good research foundation and understanding of biomedical research
- consider a career as a clinician-scientist
For a complete description of the CREMS program, please see: http://md.utoronto.ca/research-opportunities
Graduate Diploma in Health Research (GDipHR)
The purpose of the GDipHR is to provide selected 1st-year medical students an opportunity to participate in the continuum of research – from idea creation to data collection to scientific publication and/or presentation at a scholarly meeting – via a consecutive 20-month longitudinal research program. Students will also be exposed to coursework related to a broad range of research concepts, topics, methodologies, and applications to health care. Established in 2019, GDipHR superseded the CREMS Research Scholar Program, which was introduced with much success in 2010.
For a complete description of the GDipHR program, please see: http://md.utoronto.ca/graduate-diploma-health-research-gdiphr
Other Extra-Curricular Research Opportunities
In addition to research under the umbrella of the CREMS programs, students may participate in other research opportunities made available by individual University Departments and Institutes or by hospitals. These include pure research programs as well as combined research/clinical experiences such as the Department of Paediatrics “PeRCS” (Pediatric Research and Clinical Summer) program. Please note that the application procedures, funding practices, expected time commitment, and eligibility restrictions are at the discretion of the sponsoring Department or institution.
The MD/PhD Program
The goal of the MD/PhD program is to generate physician scientists who are prepared, highly competitive, and productive. Students enrolled in this program complete all requirements of the four-year MD Program and also fulfill the expectations set by the School of Graduate studies for all PhD candidates. MD/PhD students complete year 1 or both year 1 and 2 as full-time students in the MD Program, exit full time medical studies to pursue the PhD – generally for four to five years, depending on the research topic and the outcome of their investigations – and return to complete the remaining components of the MD degree after the PhD thesis has been written.
The program is described in full at: http://md.utoronto.ca/mdphd
In-Course Admission to the MD/PhD Program
Most MD/PhD students apply and are admitted to the joint degree as part of their application to medical school. However, the MD/PhD Admissions Committee also welcomes applications from students currently in the Foundations years who wish to convert from the regular MD stream to the MD/PhD. Potential applicants may wish to meet with the Director, Physician Scientist Programs during the application process.
Details on the process are available in the Admissions section of the MD/PhD Program website.
Research in the MD/PhD Program
MD/PhD students may pursue research in any field related to medicine. The Program is eager to support research training across the breadth of disciplines extending across biomedical science, clinical research, population health, and health policy and services. The research projects of current MD/PhD students are described on the MD/PhD website, along with short profiles of the students themselves.
Students in the combined program participate in a biweekly seminar series for the entire duration of their studies, and also meet periodically with the Director.