Admissions blog: Upgrading your GPA

Jun 19, 2017

Many prospective applicants find themselves in situations where, for whatever reason, their GPA does not meet our minimum requirements. If entering the MD program is still your goal, there are many different routes you can take in order to upgrade your GPA to meet our requirements. 


Your GPA is calculated based on your undergraduate studies taken on a full-time basis in the September – April academic period. If you have taken a full course load in this period (5 FCEs or 28-30 credits), you would qualify for wGPA – which may help to bring up your GPA. With wGPA, we remove your overall lowest courses per year of study. If you apply after your fourth year, this means that we would remove your overall lowest four full course equivalents. If all your lowest courses were in your first year of university, we would remove them all from the first year. If you do not automatically qualify for this, you can request special consideration in the Academic Explanations Essay (more information below). 

Non-Degree Studies 

If the wGPA formula does not bring your GPA up enough, or you do not qualify for it, another option is for you is to enroll in non-degree courses. For non-degree studies to count towards your GPA, you must take them in September – April academic period and be enrolled full time (60% course load). Some applicants are able to bring their GPA up using this method, but the disadvantage of this is that if you are unsuccessful in entering the MD program, you may have taken courses that are not counted toward a degree.

Second Degree

Another option for applicants who do not meet our GPA requirements is to enroll in a second degree. If there is a significant difference between the GPA of your two degrees, you may apply for special consideration to be assessed on only one of your degrees, as part of the Academic Explanations Essay. The essay will be reviewed by the admissions committee, and no decision on how your application was assessed will be released to you. 

For all of these options, use the Academic Explanations Essay 

The Academic Explanations Essay portion of the OMSAS application is a beneficial tool if you find that you have taken a less traditional route into medical school, or have had extenuating circumstances where your GPA does not reflect your true academic ability. The Academic Explanations Essay is the first portion of the application that we assess – even before we look at your GPA. With that being said, due to the competitive nature of the program, we still require the minimum 3.6 GPA for your application to proceed to the next steps, and classify a competitive GPA for undergrads to be a 3.8. All requests for special consideration will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and may be subject to verification. No decision on how your application was assessed will be released to you.

We are always happy to answer questions at Enrolment Services and welcome you to call, email or drop in to chat about your options. Please get in contact with us if you have any questions about your application. 

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