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McMaster or Western?


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Hey, I'm in my final year at high school and I'm having a hard time deciding on where I should study for my undergrad. I have been admitted to Western's Biomed program and McMaster's life sciences program. I will be staying in residence, and my average is 93-94% if that matters. I had some questions:

1) I hear that medical schools in Canada don't care where you did your undergrad, but U.S medical schools take your school's reputation into consideration. So, which university do you think has a better reputation: McMaster or Western?

2) To those who are currently in medical school or will be attending medical school: which university did most of the students complete their undergrad? (i.e are most people from Western, Mac, Uoft.... etc)

3) Is it easy to apply to Western's Law School, Dentistry School, or Business school while studying Biological and Medical Sciences at Western?

By the way, I got into UofT Engineering Science and Uoft Life Sciences as well.

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I suggest you read FAQs or use the search function because a lot of questions have been answered:


1) Mac's health sci is a really good program that pretty might feed people into Mac's med school (ie. help them prep for interviews, getting them comfortable for PBL, etc.) . Mac's life sci on the other hand isn't that good. Western's BMSc is a very strong program because it's sponsored by schulich med school so I think if you only have a life sci offer from Mac go to western. Know that biomed at western is competitive so you stream into med sci your second year or bio sci if you GPAs lower... the modules in med sci at western are more competitive so your really not locked into a sepcific program until 4th year.


2) Med students come from universities from across Canada so that question is way to open ended. In the end there might be some bias as med school applications are subjective but overall a good GPA from any university is acceptable (with good MCAT, ECs and interview of course)


3) I don't recommend U of T's life science although it's a really good program, as it's hard to get good GPA. Mac's health sci program have actually been accused of grade inflation at times so keep that in mind if you want to do mac life sci and transfer into health sci later. Like I've said before professional school admissions is subjective but on paper and I believe it is the case in most situations, finishing undergrad at one school will not will you an advantage for professional or masters programs.


take everything I say with a grain of salt, these are my opinions although they are shared by many. I went to BMSc at western BTW so I will be bias


Most common programs I see pre-meds list are (in no particular order):


U of T life sci

UWO med sci

Mac health sci

Guelph Biomed sci

some sort of Kin degree


So I would actually recommend taking a different degree if you enjoy another field. I think doctors are much better if they come from a different background because they will have different skill sets (ie. writing essays, graphic design, etc.). This way you will stand out more. The reason many pre-meds choose these programs is because it's easier to get research experience (eg. UWO makes you do a thesis to get an honors BMSc in most cases) and some would argue people like me who majors in pathology and toxicology might have an easier time during pre-clerkship.

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I just finished the Biology and Pharmacology Co-op program at McMaster, and did some of my co-op terms at UWO's Robarts Research Institute. Since I was only working in research at UWO, I didn't take any courses there, but I can tell you that UWO definitely has a better course selection than Mac lifesci/bio/biochem. However, in terms of research output and funding, Mac outranks UWO. This isn't a huge deal, especially if med school is your goal. From what I hear from my biomed friends, 1st year isn't very challenging, whereas my MAC friends said 1st year was tough.


London is a much nicer city than Hamilton, and UWO's campus is MUCH nicer than mac's. Student life at UWO is also far superior to that of mac's. At Mac, most students will go home on the weekends, whereas UWO students will stay in London because it's too far, and because there's much more going on in London on the weekends. In terms of bars and clubs, London's Richmond Row is much more lively than Hamilton's Hess village, and more easily accessible to students. There's something going on every night in London, whereas only Thursday is party night at MAC. In the department of school spirit, UWO students are much more proud of their school than MAC students. During my co-op terms at UWO, I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. I regret not considering UWO biomed for undergrad.

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I agree, the only thing Mac has on Western is the health sci program and research, but comparing research at two schools with good research output is trivial when considering a school for undergrad... western has a much nicer campus and town, better student life, and presumably better course selection (i've never seen it - but mac's science course selection is really bad, imo)

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And if you want a comparison of UofT life sci and Mac life sci, i made a post in another thread.. I did 2 years of UofT life sci before transferring to mac.. Yeah, I've been all over.


I did UofT Life Sci for 2 years (Toxicology Specialist), and transferred to and finished off my degree at McMaster in Biology & Pharmacology co-op.


The statement that "UofT life sci is hard" is a bit inaccurate, because there are SOOO many different specialists and majors that you can pick. There are easier ones including Human Biology, Cell and System Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the really hard specialist programs such as biochemistry, Immunology, Genetics, Pharmacology & Toxicology. I noticed that a lot of UofT grads that got into medicine double majored in those easier majors, while those who specialized ended up doing grad school.


The same sort of phenomenon occurs at McMaster as well. People who picked the life science major over Biology Specializations or Biochemistry Specializations had a much easier time because they had many more electives. Yes, quite a number of them got into med school in Canada, and I have a feeling that a lot went abroad as well.


Mac and UofT science attract the same type of students, except mac students don't commute as much and therefore have time for other things. I found the level of difficulty in the biology and biochem courses at mac and UofT to be similar. I had to work just as hard at both schools to maintain the same GPA. The difference is that people at Mac are friendlier are more willing to help you on assignments, but at the end of the day, you write your own test. So at either school, you can make your life difficult by specializing, or you can make your life easy by double majoring. Specifically, don't do what I did: UofT's Toxicology Specialist, and Mac's Biology&Pharmacology Co-op, because my GPA is not very high, and the only people interested in me are profs looking for Master's students.


Or if you really want something drop dead easy, avoid a university that already has a Medical school.



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Thanks for your help McMarauder,

would you say it is easier to get a high GPA at Western than McMaster? And is it easy to transfer from Western to McMaster life sciences or to UoT's life sciences in the future?

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go look at their course calendars.


This is going to be very biased, but I do believe you'd have an easier time at UWO. I've heard a lot of people from UWO themselves say that their first year was a breeze, and it's usually that first year that will either make or break your mentality towards your university education. MAC and UofT slaughter their first years, and because of that, a lot of them give up on their dreams of medicine/professional school. With that said though, the level of difficulty ends up being the same by 2nd year at all three schools (UWO kids get slaughtered in second year as opposed to first).


I strongly DO NOT recommend transferring schools. Make the right decision NOW and stick with it. It's a huge hassel because credits at different schools may not be "equivalent" because a certain topic is not covered. I left UofT after 2nd year, and I had to take a bunch of 2nd year courses at MAC because Mac's program is slightly different, which set be back 1 whole year.

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