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University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) vs University of Manitoba

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Hey everyone,

I am OOP from Alberta and have just been accepted off the Saskatchewan (Saskatoon campus) waitlist and am currently on the waitlist for Manitoba. If I do happen to get off the waitlist for Manitoba, I would have to make a fairly quick decision on which school to accept. I know there was a thread about this from 2015 and I have read it, but I'm interested in current opinions as programs can change quite a bit in 3 years.

I just wanted to see if any current or former students could tell me a bit about their experiences at these schools (specifically at the Saskatoon campus for Saskatchewan). I'm also interested in what anyone has to say about living in Saskatoon vs living in Winnipeg. I do not know what field of medicine I want to go into right now and I would want to pick the best school for keeping all of my options open, as well as for potentially returning to Alberta for residency. I have considered that Manitoba has substantially cheaper tuition and that Saskatoon is closer to home for me. 

Thanks in advance!

Update: I was given a Saskatoon spot (preferred) instead of Regina, presumably due to a decline. 

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Saskatoon USASK student who is quite familiar with Winnipeg - in terms of the city itself, Saskatoon is about 1/2 the size of Winnipeg so there's a bit less shopping/no IKEA that kind of stuff. It's still big enough to have pretty good amenities though (if you like sports the SK Rush play here lots and the SMA buys tickets for groups of students, movie theatres, OK shopping, pretty good restaurants considering the size of the city, lots of pubs but not a great "bar/club scene" if that's what you're into, beautiful river valley for walks/runs/canoe/kayaking). Crime-wise the area closest to the main teaching hospital RUH where you will attend all your lectures and most of your clerkship rotations is very safe, compared to the areas around Winnipeg's hospitals (again, this is my perception as someone who doesn't live in Winnipeg). But you will spend some rotations at St Pauls which is more of an inner city/"less safe" kind of neighborhood (never had issues myself, though). One thing you might want to consider is that there are less options for domestic and international flights out of S'toon. Can make for some shitty layovers. Whereas Winnipeg is bigger and obviously has a bigger airport.

In terms of the program I would imagine they're fairly equivalent both being prairie schools. A little less academic, a little more opportunity for independent clinical decision making and procedural skills practice. Overall my experience at the U of S has been pretty good and I don't have a lot of complaints. Any complaints I have are super typical based on chats with med students from all over the country. We all have to deal with the same BS at some point, basically. The main negatives for Saskatoon would be: parking around RUH/College of medicine buildings (there is none, or if there is it's $3/hr pay parking; across the main road from campus for about a 6-8 block radius it's only 2 hr free parking, and unlimited free parking is usually found 10 blocks away); construction - this will be getting better soon, but they're renovating the health sciences building which cuts down on the spaces for pre-clerkship students to hang out; split campus classes - as you know, the class is split after 1st year into regina and saskatoon... this makes for some technical difficulties at time during lectures when broadcasting isnt working (dedicated tech people for CoM classes though so it's usually dealt with quickly), weirdness for planning social events, and a pretty disjointed class overall with sometimes very different experiences at the sites (saskatoon admin tend to be more "strict" with following the book on us requesting days off, leaves of absence, etc., regina tends to get much less teaching during clerkship years because it's not the academic center of the province, etc.). Positives would be: great teaching, tons of hands on experience (even more if you wanna do your clerkship at the Prince Albert site although they tend to get much less didactic teaching there), not a ton of residents/fellows so you get to do more procedures but still enough to help you out and supervise, brand new state of the art anatomy lab that just opened a couple years ago, nice new renovated classrooms and a really nice new health science library for studying (although you share with a lot of students from other colleges), really nice SIM labs they let us use pretty frequently (at least 2-3 times per year and in pre-clerkship like... 5-6 times in 3rd year), brand new clinical teaching resource center in the health science building that has simulated clinic rooms for standardized patient clinical skills learning in pre-clerkship. So basically, the facilities are nice, and I think the teaching quality and volume is quite good.


Overall, I would be surprised if the U of M program isn't fairly equivalent. Mostly just depends on where you'd rather live. But the cities are pretty similar aside from size. Good luck deciding if it comes to that!

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