University of Alberta - Neurology - Edmonton

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on January 25, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Wasif Hussain
7-132 Clinical Sciences Building 
11350 - 83 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2G3
(780) 248-1237
(780) 248-1806
Program Website

Program Contacts

Adult Neurology Medical Education Office
Tina Barnard
Program Coordinator

Important Information

Competence by Design (CBD)

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has embarked upon an initiative to introduce competency-based medical education (CBME) in Canadian postgraduate specialty training and in professional practice in Canada.  This initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD), aims to enhance patient care by aligning medical education and lifelong learning with evolving patient needs.

CBD uses time as a resource rather than the basis for progression.  It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs are broken down into stages, and each stage compasses a series of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and milestones based on required competencies. These EPAs and milestones create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need.

Our program has successfully transitioned to CBD in accordance with the nationally coordinated schedule. Our program will continue to undergo the same rigorous accreditation processes as traditional programs. All CBD programs (and traditional programs) will continue to lead to Royal College approved certification. Certification for trainees in both CBD and traditional programs will include the completion of a Royal College examination; however, residents in CBD programs will also be assessed against specialty specific EPAs and milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all EPAs (documented within an electronic portfolio), stage promotions and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please contact


Return of Service

There are no return of service requirements at the University of Alberta.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)
• Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada

Canadian Permanent Resident card must be accompanied by Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada.

Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:

IMG and graduates of Canadian medical schools where instruction is not English (as identified by CPSA)  must meet English language requirements required by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for licensure.  English Language Proficiency . 

Effective January 1, 2018, IELTS will be the only English language proficiency test accepted by CPSA.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

References should be requested from clinicians or scientists who know the candidate well and are able to comment on interest in Neurology, clinical proficiency, knowledge, motivation and interpersonal skills. One letter from a resident is acceptable. 

Additional documents
Medical Student Performance Record 

- Medical school transcript

- Medical Student Performance Record  - Order from your Dean's office

Custom Résumé / CV 

Candidates are encouraged to highlight areas such as awards, scholarships, research publications, interests outside of medicine, etc.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

A 1000 word (maximum) personal letter indicating your reasons for selecting a career in Neurology and interest in the University of Alberta program is required.

Optional - will be reviewed

Applicants are encouraged to highlight any first author publications/abstracts they may have. 

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022

Applications will be reviewed by our Resident Recruitment Committee comprised of faculty neurologists and residents.



  • March 3, 2022
  • March 4, 2022


Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.

Al interviews will be conducted virtually 

The interview process is usually about 60 minutes in duration (divided into smaller virtual panel rooms), conducted by the Program Director, Divisional Director, 1-2 additional faculty members, both chief residents and two additional residents.  An effort will be made to coordinate interview times with those of other Neurology programs across the country. 

Selection Criteria

The Residency Program Recruitment Subcommittee will select candidates based on characteristics such as :

-Strong academic achievement

-Excellent communication and interpersonal skills along with leadership qualities attested to by referees

-Reference from a neurologist who has supervised the applicant's work

-Interest in neurology demonstrated by elective, or research experience in neurology or related fields

-Interest and proficiency in basic science, clinical and/or health outcomes research

Program goals

Our program's mission is to provide a supportive, inclusive and dynamic workplace community for our residents, and through a culture of mentorship we aim to foster excellence in our learners as they embark on their chosen career paths in Neurology. The goal of our program is that graduates develop the communication, professional, scholarly and cognitive skills necessary for expert care of a diverse spectrum of neurological patients.

Selection process goals

Successful applicants to our program will demonstrate strong academic achievement in all areas of study. They will possess strong communication and interpersonal skills along with leadership qualities and add to our program's dynamic workplace. Candidates will have demonstrated a keen interest in the discipline through electives in Neurology and related fields and demonstrates an interest in joining our program. 

File review process

Review team composition : Review team is composed of 8 faculty and 8 residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV We evaluate this component
Electives Electives will not not be considered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on elective rotation scheduling
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular We evaluate this component
Leadership skills We evaluate this component
MSPRs We evaluate this component
Personal letters We evaluate this component
Reference documents We evaluate this component
Research/Publications We evaluate this component
Transcripts We do not evaluate this component

Elective criteria

Electives will not not be considered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on elective rotation scheduling

Interview process

Interview format :

We routinely accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills We evaluate this component
Collegiality We evaluate this component
Communication skills We evaluate this component
Health advocacy We evaluate this component
Interest in the discipline We evaluate this component
Interest in the program We evaluate this component
Leadership skills We evaluate this component
Professionalism We evaluate this component
Scholarly activities We evaluate this component
Other interview component(s) All interviews will be conducted virtually.

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

  • Strong residency program that prepares residents for practice in a wide variety of settings including academic and community-based settings.

  • Wide variety of clinical exposure and breadth of rotational experiences resulting in resident sound clinical skills.

  • Flexible elective opportunities tailored to the career objectives of the individual resident.

  • Ample opportunities to explore research interests and grow research portfolio. 
  • Commitment of the teaching faculty to resident education as its priority.

  • Full complement of subspecialty expertise across the entire spectrum of clinical Neurology.

  • Collegial, supportive resident group.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.


A five-year training program in Adult Neurology is offered in accordance with the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Emphasis is placed on acquisition of decision-making skills as they pertain to neurological problems in the out-patient and in-patient setting.

It should be noted that some rotations may not be available during the specific PGY year mentioned below, but may be taken a year earlier or later.

Elective options include (but not limited to):  Pain management, neuro ophthalmology, sleep medicine, rural neurology, community clinics, headache, neuro psychiatry, palliative care, neuro ICU, concussion as well as electives in other provinces or international electives.   

The first 2 years of residency are largely comprised of mandatory internal medicine rotations, and core Neurology with more elective opportunities arising through years 3 to 5.  Elective rotations comprise a significant component of the required neurology rotations listed below.  This allows us to tailor the residents' training to their areas of personal interest.

Transition to Discipline (2-months) 

This stage builds on the skills learned in medical school and helps apply them directly to Neurology. This stage will take place on the neurology inpatient services (stroke ward, acute stroke, general neurology and/or consults) at the University of Alberta Hospital. This will provide an introduction to clinical neurology and will allow the trainees to become familiar with the personnel in the Division of Neurology as well as the structure and function of the training program. 

Foundations of Discipline (18-months)

This stage will be devoted to the development of sound neurological clinical skills and to rounding out the trainee's general medical skills. The first part of this stage will be spent in general medicine and a final inpatient ward service. The latter half of the stage will be spent on  Neurosurgery, General Systems ICU, NeuroRehab, Pediatric Neurology, Community Neurology, and Psychiatry. 


Core of Discipline (20-months) 

This stage can be tailored to meet the trainee's career goals. Emphasis is on developing skills through participation in specialty out-patient neurology clinics including those devoted to Movement Disorders, Epilepsy, Neuromuscular, MS, Cognitive Neurology, Headache and General Neurology. There are many opportunities available to work with academic and clinical neurologists, both at academic sites and within the community. Inpatient rotations are tailored towards residents' participating in "senior" roles, directing ward team members, running intake rounds and running code strokes. Completion of Pediatric Neurology started in the foundation period will also be completed. 8 months of this period will be devoted to a senior role on the inpatient neurology services. 

Residents are expected to initiate a research project under mentor supervision, which should be completed over the subsequent years of training.  The duration of research rotation is flexible, based on residents' interests/goals.  Research project topics are available in areas associated with clinical, research or basic neuroscience which may enhance the achievement of career goals. 

Residents will begin their own supervised longitudinal clinic (aka Continuity Clinic) which will run one half day per week regardless of rotation until the end of their residency.

Electives in other centers are considered on a case by case basis. Beginning in this stage neurology residents will be involved in the weekly half-day neurology continuity clinic where residents follow patients with undifferentiated neurological complaints, similar to those presenting to a general neurologist. Each resident in continuity clinic will function as the patient's primary neurologist with supervision provided by an experienced neurologist. 

Rotations needed for certification requirements of EEG/EMG may also be completed depending on individual resident goals.

The written portion of the Royal College Examination will occur at the end of this stage. 

Transition to Practice (12-months) 

In this stage the resident will spend time on the adult neurology service as a 'junior consultant'. In this role, the resident will directly supervise in-patient management on the neurology ward under the guidance of one of the consultant neurologists and take outside phone calls. This stage will help residents become more familiar with running a Neurology practice on their own. Trainees will continue to participate in weekly continuity clinics during this final year. The research projects should be completed. Other rotations will be tailored to the residents own goals and can include community neurology rotations, research rotations or rotations needed to complete certification requirements for EEG/EMG exam. 

The OSCE portion of the Royal College Examination will occur at the end of this stage. 


Members of the Division of Neurology at the University of Alberta are involved in basic and clinical neurosciences research in the majority of subspecialty areas within neurology. Residents are expected to initiate and complete a research project under the direction of divisional members during the final three years of training. Topics and duration of research rotation are flexible, depending on the resident's interest and career goals.  There are opportunities to pursue more intensive research if wished by residents.  

Residents are guided through this process with the help of a faculty member who is assigned as the research coordinator.

Residents who have strong interests in research are eligible to apply for Clinical Investigation Program (CIP) or various Masters Programs through the University including Masters in Medical Education and Masters in Translational Research 

Academic Half Day and Rounds

Throughout residency regular seminars are held, through a developed curriculum on a biannual rotation, in various topics including basic Neuroscience, Neuropathology, Neuroanatomy and NeuroRadiology, as a part of academic half-day, which is devoted to presentations, case presentations, mastering neurologic examination technique and literature review. Weekly subspecialty rounds occur in the areas of Stroke, Epilepsy, Pediatric Neurology and MS. Journal club is scheduled once a month with evidence based medicine approach teaching and a Neuroanatomy review course occurs yearly. A basic neuroscience course is offered through academic half-day integrated with clinical topics. On ward rotations 'Intake rounds' are held 3 days per week to discuss admissions and consult cases.  A Curriculum Assessment Committee (CASCO) has been formed to help coordinate topics in half-day, speakers, so that resident education is comprehensive and cohesive over the five years of training. This committee includes resident members and the chief resident. 

Throughout the training, residents are scheduled for regular oral, written and OSCE examinations, with the goal of teaching exam performance skills, and assessing both areas of strength and areas requiring improvement. The American Academy of Neurology RITE (in training exam) is done on an annual basis starting in the foundation stage, and is funded by the Neurology Residency Program.  There are informal quizzes offered through academic half-day.  STACERS (long case oral exams) and SATERS (teaching assessment) are performed with each resident, at least annually.  Some outpatient rotations have rotation-specific assignments and presentations.  Residents are expected to present at Grand Neuroscience Rounds on an annual basis, with the help of a faculty mentor.

Training Sites


  1. University of Alberta Hospital
  2. Royal Alexandra Hospital
  3. Grey Nuns Hospital
  4. Glenrose Rehabilitation
  5. Rural Electives Available in Lethbridge and Red Deer, Alberta

  • The ratio of residents to faculty is approximately 1:2
  • Junior residents carry 2-10 patients on inpatient neurology services. 
  • We provide residents with access to our province-wide electronic medical resources
  • There are opportunities for inter-provincial and international electives during the program
  • There are no mandatory rural rotations.
  • There is ample opportunity for research initiatives depending on resident interest.

Additional Information

Information sessions will be held for students at various times through the CaRMS process. These sessions will give potential applicants a chance to get to know the residency program in light of out of province electives being cancelled. The dates will be listed on the AFMC website. More information regarding the information sessions will also be posted on our website.


Join our Academic Half Day! 

Students are welcome to join our virtual Academic Half Day throughout the year. Please contact Nathan Chu ( if you are interested and he will send you the link. 


Education Allowance is available for travel and other educational items.  American Academy of Neurology and Canadian Neurological Society Federation memberships are paid by the program.




Q. Will there be an information session for potential applicants? 

Information sessions will be held for students at various times during the CaRMS process. These sessions will give potential applicants a chance to get to know the residency program in light of out of province electives being cancelled. More information regarding the information session will be posted on our website.


Q: How much call does a resident typically do in your program?

A: While on Neurology service, a junior resident (R1 and R2) would typically do 3-5 in-house call per month with a maximum of 7 per month as per PARA guidelines. Junior residents on off-service rotations would complete call requirements for the respective rotation that they are on (some rotations would have no call, some exclusively home call and others in-house with varying numbers of call per month). Senior residents (R3-R5) typically do 3-6 home call per month (to support the in-house junior resident) while on any Neurology inpatient or outpatient rotation with a maximum of 9 per month as per PARA guidelines.


Q: Does your program support residents to travel for conferences or courses?

A: Yes, residents are granted upto 5 days of conference leave per year. A formal request is required to be submitted well before the date of the conference.


Q: Does your program provide any educational stipend for residents beyond base salary?

A: Yes, residents are given a generous annual allotment to spend on educational needs (textbooks, tools, conferences, etc). There is also an additional annual conference stipend, the amount of which can be accessed by the resident if presenting at the conference that they are attending.


Q: What kind of opportunities does your program provide for interests in research or even obtaining a Masters or PhD?

A: Many opportunities exist to perform research as a resident. This can be in the form of research blocks during residency with a maximum of 6 allowed. In order to maximize productivity during research blocks, the resident is required to write a research proposal that is discussed with our Research Faculty (Dr. Valerie Sim) for feasibility. Outside of research blocks, there is the opportunity to pursue formal graduate studies in the form of a Master's or PhD through the CIP program as well as other programs through the faculty of Medicine and Dentistry including a Masters in Translational Research and Masters in Medical Education.


Q: How are residents assessed and given feedback throughout their residency?

A: Residents are regularly assessed on EPAs through out system.  Residents regularly receive informal feedback from preceptors at the end of each week of in-patient service. There is an annual resident OSCE for junior residents (TTD and Foundations) and two annual OSCEs for senior residents (Core and TTP) that are conducted in conjunction with the University of Calgary. Written examinations are completed through an in house examination prepared by the faculty annually and starting from the Foundations stage residents complete the Residency In-service Training Examination (RITE) administered through the AAN. Residents are evaluated as teachers through SATER assessments. Long case oral examinations are completed annually starting in the Foundations through a STACER exam. Summative 6-month reviews are completed on a one-to-one basis with the program director. These reviews also include discussions regarding future plans and life outside of residency.


Q: What kind of social aspects of residency does your program offer?

A: Multiple resident socials are organized throughout the year. This typically includes a junior social in the summer for the incoming PGY-1s, a farewell social in the spring for the graduating PGY-5s and an annual welcome social event for residents and faculty in the Fall. Oftentimes, outings are scheduled informally, sponsored by the program, both involving just the residents, and events involving residents and faculty. Senior residents are designated each year to plan and organize an annual resident retreat which typically takes place in the Rocky Mountains. The overall environment in our division is highly collegial and many of us spend quite a bit of time together outside of work!


Q: As a medical student from a French Speaking University, am I required to have English Language Assessments?

A: Yes, due to CPSA requirements, graduates from French speaking Universities are required to have scored at least a 7.0 in each component area of the IELTS examination in order to apply (see:


Q: What types of Subspecialty Neurology does your faculty practice in?

A: We have subspecialists in the following fields: Stroke; Epilepsy; Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology; Neuro-infectious; Movement Disorders and Deep-Brain Stimulation; Neuromuscular/EMG; Neurogenetics; Concussion; Headache; Cognitive Neurology; General Neurology; Neuro-Oncology; Neuro-Ophthalmology; Neurological ICU.

Summary of changes

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