Your career timeline

Timeline Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4


Foundations Foundations Clerkship Clerkship


ITM, CPC1, CPC2 CPC3, Life Cycle, C&C

Core Rotations

Transition to Residency (TTR)


Self-assessment Learn about specialties Decide on a specialty Apply to residency


  • Register with AAMC
  • Careers in Medicine
Information on medical
Plan & book electives CaRMS application


March-May September-November January-March September-onwards


  • Career management during medical school
  • CV writing
  • What do I have to offer?
  • Other career pathways in Medicine
  • Intro to CaRMS
  • Welcome to the real world
CaRMS info session CaRMS interview panel


  • Specialty interest groups
  • Update CV
  • Observerships & EEE
  • Research experiences
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Specialty interest groups
  • Update CV
  • Observerships & EEE
  • Research experiences
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Letters of reference
  • Update CV for electives
  • Letters of reference
  • Update CV for CaRMS
  • Write personal statements
  • Practice interviews
  • Rank order listing

Pre-assigned career counselling appointment

Each year, you'll receive a pre-assigned appointment with a career counsellor. While these appointments are not mandatory, many students find they are highly valuable. You're also welcome to visit us at any time during the year, if you have questions about your career. Appointment times are available during regular work hours, early evenings and Saturdays. They can occur face-to-face, by phone, Skype or e-mail.

Careers in medicine 

Developed and maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Careers in Medicine (CiM) is a comprehensive career-planning program that provides you with tools to assist you in choosing a specialty and residency program to meet your career goals. You can complete self-assessment inventories and gather research about Canadian medical specialty and practice options. CiM is designed to be used in conjunction with faculty and staff advisors and career counsellors who can provide personalized support to help you navigate the process of planning your physician career. All University of Toronto MD students are given an access code during first year to register on CiM.


In most situations, a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is used in the medical profession rather than a resumé. A CV contains your academic, clinical, research and extracurricular experiences. You should always tailor your CV for the purpose, for example, applying for a research position, scholarship, clinical elective or for residency application (CaRMS). On the OHPSA Portal, you will find samples of CVs for different purposes throughout medical school. Update a master copy of your CV regularly, so you do not miss including something you have completed or accomplished. A career counsellor will give you feedback on your draft CV at any time during your medical studies.

Specialty interest groups 

A variety of medical specialty interest groups are organized and run by students or departments, and many are funded by the Medical Society(MedSoc). They offer opportunities to learn about a medical specialties, U of T residency programs, observerships, research projects or mentoring. See the MedSoc or department website for details. You will find recordings of many of their presentations on the OHPSA Portal.


An observership or job shadowing experience is not part of the core curriculum, but is an excellent opportunity for career exploration. You can arrange to job shadow with clinical faculty members or other physicians in the community. The Enriching Educational Experiences (EEE) program provides a database for students to find out about observerships and to log the experience. Some departments have formal initiatives to provide you with observerships and mentoring opportunities. Refer to the EEE site on MedSIS for more information about insurance, rights and responsibilities of students and supervisors, arranging an experience and logging your activity.


If you are interested in gaining research experiences during your medical studies, the Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS) is a good resource. Another research stream for students is the MD/PhD Program. In addition, students can initiate their own research experiences by directly contacting physicians or others who have research projects in their area of interest. Search the Faculty of Medicine departments and institutes for ideas and prospective contacts.

Extracurricular activities

There are numerous opportunities for you to gain valuable career information and experience and to develop important skills through extracurricular activities. Many of these are community-outreach initiatives, in addition to other opportunities with student government, faculty committees and projects, arts, athletics and social activities develop and strengthen leadership, creativity, talents, self-expression, refinement of life-long skills and friendships.

Letter of reference (LOR)

The document is an essential component of your application to residency (CaRMS). In general, a program requests three LORs and occasionally up to five for each application. For the most part, these references attest to your clinical skills either during your third-year rotations or fourth-year electives, although sometimes a letter may come from an academic supervisor for research you have worked on. The program descriptions on the CaRMS site clearly identify the criteria for referees, and when you generate a cover sheet to send them, it will outline what they are to write about. You do not get to view the contents of a LOR, so it is important to have an honest discussion with your referee about your performance and how they can support your application for a particular specialty. See the OHPSA Portal for more guidelines about LORs.

Personal statement

Each residency program you apply for using CaRMS requires that you write a personal statement. This is similar to a cover letter that you would submit for a job application. The difference is that the program usually specifies what items you should write about or what questions you should answer. In addition, they will often specify a maximum word limit. See the program descriptions on the CaRMS site for details. The career counsellor will give you feedback on your personal statement drafts.

Practice interview

You are strongly encouraged to have a practice interview with a career counsellor or faculty member in preparation for your residency interviews. We will simulate a real interview and give you feedback on your performance. These occur in December and January. See the interview resources on the OHPSA Portal. You may also request a practice interview for a scholarship, research or other opportunity at any time during medical school.

Rank order listing

This is the final action step in your CaRMS application. It’s important to consider that for every program you rank, there is a possibility you could match to it (a binding contract). Career counsellors are available to work with you to review the many different factors of each choice and help you develop an effective strategy.

Career events

Career counsellors organize panels, information sessions and workshops during key points, geared to your career management tasks for each year. These are offered at lunchtime or in the evening. Career events are videoconferenced so you can attend at St. George or MAM campuses, and the video recordings are published on the OHPSA Portal. These events include:

  • Managing your career in medical school

This presentation will give you an overview of the resources and support you may enlist to help you manage your medical career.

  • What do I have to offer?

This presentation will illustrate resources and activities that will help you identify your assets.

  • CV writing

In partnership with Student Health Initiative and Education (SHINE), this presentation with identify the format and content for a medical school CV.

  • Other career pathways in medicine

In partnership with alumni, this panel will illustrate how physicians and MD graduates have shaped their career in alternative ways around medicine.

  • Intro to CaRMS

In partnership with SHINE, a panel of newly matched MD students talk about their experience with the residency application process.

  • Welcome to the real world

A panel of physicians share their experiences with managing their medical career during and beyond medical school.

  • CaRMS school visit

A representative from CaRMS provides an overview of the residency application process.

  • CaRMS interview panel

PGY1 students from the previous University of Toronto class share their experiences with residency interviews.


Back to Top