Road to Canada: How to apply for a Canadian Fellowship

This post is like a prologue, merely telling only how I got the chance to go to Canada for a fellowship, while the main story is yet to begin (my Fellowship begins from Aug 2019). The idea to apply to Canada for a fellowship stemmed from two things. First, and most obviously, the desire to pursue a respectable international fellowship program. And second, to do so without the ordeal of additional exams. From my research, the only place fulfilling both was Canada. The only glitch is that, they accept applications for two years hence (there is a catch here though, read on to find out). That is, applications open in May, and will be for a fellowship which begins 2 years later. As they say, patience is a virtue.

The Canadians have succinctly enlisted all the fellowship programs, by university as well as by the subspecialty on the following link: https://car.ca/membership/resident-section/fellowships/. However, this page is not up to date, some fellowship programs have been stopped and many of the links provided within the list do not work. Thus, its best to simply get a fair idea of the universities, and go to each university site and figure them out (the list isn’t too long and its really not as tedious as it sounds). Either you can approach the selection by university or by the field of interest. The obvious way would be via your choice of speciality; however the Canadians allow you to apply for two fellowships at once, and I would recommend to keep an open mind and try for two when you have varying interests. The only exception is when you are opting for interventional radiology or paediatric radiology as your first choice. For both of these, only one choice is allowed.

Note that deadlines for Toronto universities are sooner than the rest (usually 30th June for majority of the programs in Toronto, whilst the rest can vary- best to check according to your field of interest) and that deadlines for different programs within the same university can be different. Another thing while shortlisting the universities to keep in mind is, that the following universities require French as a second language: Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrook, Université Laval (pretty obvious from the names itself).

Requirements for application (submitted entirely online) are: one statement of purpose (two, if applying for two courses), three recommendation letters (one from program director aka HOD of your postgraduate program/ equivalent), scanned medical degree, IELTS results and CV. To elaborate on each,

Statement of purpose: a letter telling why you want what you want, your inspirations, your goals, etc, Umpteen samples are available online, but I would just say that write it like a heartfelt conversation about your professional personality and career aspirations. Tell them something that will convince them why you should be given the chance. And best not to repeat what is already on your CV.

Recommendation letters: Your professors who are recommending you will have to mail the university directly.

IELTS: All universities will ask for these results (with a minimum score of 7 in each module), however, the results are only valid for 2 years. So I gave the exam only after I got the fellowship offer. It is a pretty straightforward exam, 2-3 weeks of practice are sufficient. During my application, I wrote that I will be giving the exam soon. They do mention on their website that those who have already given the exam will be given preference, so if you have given it, it’s a bonus.

Whilst applying make sure you choose fully funded positions (NOT self funded/sponsored).

Applying is pretty straightforward, just go for it, there’s nothing to lose. Follow your heart, and give it a chance. Once you have sent your applications, sit back and relax. Canadian universities do not send a letter of rejection. If you don’t hear from them, it’s an assumed no. They will only contact you if they have approved and will further take an interview (this could be over the phone/Skype/university may ask to visit). But there’s one thing you can keep a tab on, which is, they have this system of emergency openings (probably secondary to a selected candidate withdrawing last minute). Keep an eye out for these, for these will be for sooner than 2 years, mostly for the next immediate session (Fellowships start from July). These are posted on each university website fellowship page.

From my own experience: I did not apply to Toronto; I had missed the date. I applied to three other universities in September 2017. I got a call for interview from one in January 2018, and the other in April 2018. So there’s really no timeline as to when they may contact you. Also, there’s no clear formula for what they are looking for. Some say having a lot of publications, presentations etc is essential but I beg to differ. Not everybody are lucky enough to get the right opportunities or their residency program doesn’t permit the time to have a few articles to your name, and that’s ok. Your passion towards your subject should be reflected in your application, be it on your CV or your statement of purpose. Be honest and genuine; that’s it.

One thing I do know for sure though, you have to apply to get it!

For any questions, feel free to contact me at nikshita@hotmail.com. Additionally, almost all universities are very approachable and more than happy to answer any queries via email, quite promptly. All their contact information is available online.

All the best!

– Dr Nikshita Jain

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Edit on 18.10.20: Dr Vamshi Kotha (vamshi.kotha@ucalgary.ca), University of Calgary, has kindly created a list of the Universities and Programs to apply to in Canada; a big thanks to him

https://medical-imaging.utoronto.ca/applying-fellowship

https://www.mcgill.ca/radiology/education/fellowship-program/application-process

https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/medimaging/education/fellowship_programs/index.html (self-funded)

https://med.uottawa.ca/radiology/fellowships

http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/health_sciences/medicine/units/radiology/fellowships.html (less common)

https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/departments/radiology/education-training/fellowship-programs

https://www.ualberta.ca/radiology-and-diagnostic-imaging/programs/fellowship-training/index.html

https://radiology.med.ubc.ca/education/fellowship-programs/

PS: You can check our other blogs on training abroad in our section ‘Beyond the Shores’

25 thoughts on “Road to Canada: How to apply for a Canadian Fellowship

    1. Nikshita

      They usually ask for medical degree at the time of application. But since applications are for 2 years hence, they should allow you to apply such that you start fellowship after passing degree. Best to mail the university and ask. Hope this helps!

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  1. Dr. Pratik Chakraborty

    Thank you for the nice write-up. Can you suggest some good institutes for msk fellowship…? Are applications accepted all through the year?? Thank you.

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      1. Aditi Verma

        Hello can an indian radiologist from Indian residency training and medical school pursue fellowship directly and no residency in Canada? And will he or she get stipend? Is stipend enough for survival in canada ?

        Like

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  3. Pingback: Radiology Fellowships in India: ‘Learn in India!’ – Cafe Roentgen

  4. Dr. Lohith sai varma

    Can we work as a radiology consultant after MD RADIOLOGY ??? Any exams for that ??
    what are the steps we have to go through if we want to become a consultant in canada??

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  5. Nikshita

    Hi, yes u can work as a consultant after MD/DNB in Canada, but I think u will need a fellowship to get into the system. I personally was sure of not wanting to work there so I haven’t done research in that aspect. However from my observation, ppl usually give job interviews during their fellowship or there is an opening at the very place they r working. U have to then write to the Canadian board and they usually allow u to practice independently until u give the licencing exams. I am not sure if there is any way to start giving those exams in India. I’m afraid this is all I know.

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  6. Dear Dr. Nikshita,

    First of all I congratulate you for obtaining “Fellowship in Radiology in Canadian University” and hope you are doing well & probably settle in Canada soon.

    I am 1973 born Male “Interventional Radiologist” (Peripheral Vascular) based in Ahmednagar since 15 years.

    Like you I have a Strong desire to obtain “Respectable International Fellowship” from World’s best reputed Medical Institute & University teaching Hospitals without passing out additional USMLE/FRCR/PLAB/ DHA/HAAD etc like Medical Liscense Exams and get Residency permit Visa.

    Will you suggest me to apply and try for 2-3 yrs Fellowship in Interventional Radiology (Peripheral-VIR) And then Ph.D. Doctorate to plunge into “Research & Academics” field??

    I am really fade up and bored with Unethical, money driven, PRO marketed CUTS-Commission & Referral Charges based Private Practice in India. Neither interested in Caste & Religion based heinous Politics & Nepotism in this Noble Profession.

    I am tortured a lot for practicing IR and giving best & lifetime results to my Vascular Patients. Hence at the age of 47 yrs Completed with Wife and 02 Children (Swara & Sohum) wish to migrate & relocate ourselves at Excellent destination with bright Educational opportunities & future for my Kids.

    Let me know your thoughts & opinions??

    Thanking you in anticipation!

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    1. Hello, Akshay Baheti here. From the experience of another radiologist at your stage of career, Canada is difficult to get at your stage, as they consider you too ‘senior’ for fellowship, and you cannot get board certified without that. I would personally suggest trying Australia or UK; they are currently more welcoming to radiology consultants from abroad. Do look our blogs on these (the Australia one is written by someone practicing IR). Hope this helps. Do reach out to us at caferoentgen@gmail.com if you need more details.

      Like

      1. Thank you Dr.Akshay Baheti for your quick reply and providing information in Nutshell.
        I expect this reply from Dr. Ms.Nikshita Jain who is currently doing Reputed, International Fellowship and Board certification from Canadian University.
        I would love to hear from her; who has nicely written Prologue in the form of a blog. .

        Like

  7. Anonymous

    hi, Thanks for summarising everything needed for fellowship in canada. I have doubt about, choose fully funded positions (NOT self funded/sponsored. what does it means? Will they pay during fellowship or not?

    Like

    1. Nikshita

      Hi, fully funded position means that they will give u monthly stipend. ( U will still meagre tuition fees).
      Sponsored is applicable to those candidates who come via government / institutional funding. For example, many governments in the Middle East send their residents for fellowship programs to North America on their own funding. I believe self funded would also mean something similar.
      Hope this helps!

      Like

  8. Govind Rajan

    Dear Dr. Nikshita,
    Congratulations for obtaining Fellowship in Canada. Calgary is cold, but manageable. Thanks for your valuable time and summary in detail for Fellowship in Canada.

    Big thanks to Dr Vamshi Kotha for summary list of the Universities and Programs to apply to in Canada.

    Like

  9. Aditi Verma

    Hello dear can an indian radiologist from Indian residency training and medical school pursue fellowship directly and no residency in Canada? And will he or she get stipend? Is stipend enough for survival in canada ?

    Like

    1. Nikshita

      Hi Aditi,

      Yes, for all questions. I pursued a fellowship in Canada with Indian residency training and Indian medical school. Stipend is provided, which is more than enough for survival and some savings too. Be sure to apply for the fully funded position at the time of application (not the option that says self funded).

      Hope this helps, All the best!

      Like

  10. Mike

    Dear Dr Jain,

    I am a radiology registrar in the UK. I was wondering if say an MSK fellowship is more competitive than say a cardiothoracic fellowship? Also if you wanted to work long term in Canada as an attending following a fellowships what is best to do? Should I complete FRCR on time during my training and then start the MCCQE once I am done? Should I ask the institution I am interested in what the pathway for this would be or would this come across as too desperate perhaps?
    What would you advise? Thanks, Mike.

    Like

    1. Nikshita

      Hi Mike,

      It is hard to tell which is more competitive, MSK or cardio thoracic. Essentially, it will vary depending on the applicant preferences for the year for which you apply as well the particular university. If both are your areas of interest, you can apply for both – almost all universities allow for applications to two areas of interest at once.

      I think giving the MCCQE is required for working as an attending in Canada. And of course having a degree that is equivalent to the Canadian board (FRCR for UK) is mandatory for applying. I agree with your plan of finishing FRCR on time, and give the MCCQE as soon as you can.

      There is absolutely no harm in asking the institution you are applying to, in fact if they are looking to recruit attendings, it might work in your favour. A lot also depends on vacancies post your fellowship. The general idea is that fellowship is the entry point into the Canadian system, and from there to becoming an attending, is not set in stone – there are various factors that the Canadian system accounts for that eligibility (years of experience, mentor recommendations, etc). Frankly, since I had no aspirations for working as an attending, I haven’t done a detailed research. My knowledge comes only from what I have observed.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best!
      Nikshita

      Like

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