Queen’s University - Ophthalmology - Kingston

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

Last approved on January 19, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Mark Bona
166 Brock Street 
Brock 2, Room 228
Kingston , Ontario, K7L 5G2
Department of Ophthalmology
Queen's CaRMS Information Page

Program Contacts

Shauna Vinkle
Program Assistant
(613) 544-3400 x 2245

Important Information

Institution-wide CBME Implementation within PGME at Queen’s University

Queen’s University received approval to adopt a Competency-based Medical Education model in all specialty programs, effective July 1, 2017. 

Since that time, students attending Queen’s residency programs have been using time as a framework rather than the basis for progression. The duration of training for each residency program has not changed. However, residency programs have been broken down into stages, and each stage has a series of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) based on required competencies for the specialty. These EPAs 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.

The changes at Queen’s University are intended to align with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons’ broader, national Competence by Design initiative to introduce CBME in all faculties and all disciplines. As the first ophthalmology program to adopt CBME, Queen’s is ahead of the curve in establishing a culture of frequent, meaningful feedback and encouraging excellent coaching behaviours. With support from stage specific academic advisors, learning plans are customizable and resident-centric. 

Further information on CBD can be found on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada website at: CBD implementation 



We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted candidates’ opportunities to arrange and complete electives and would like to reassure you that a lack of elective activity this year will not negatively impact your application to our program. 

COVID-19 vaccination requirements:

Please refer to the 'Restrictions' section of the Ontario eligibility criteria for messaging regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Queen's Application Requirements

In addition to the standard application requirements, applicants to the Ophthalmology Program at Queen's will be required to complete:

1) The CASPer Test

2) Program Questionnaire

Please see below for additional information.


The CASPer Test

All applicants applying to the ophthalmology program at the Queen’s University are required to complete the Casper Test (Altus Suite), to assist with our selection process for the 2021-2022 Application Cycle.

Altus Suite is a standardized, two -part online assessment of non-cognitive skills, interpersonal characteristics, and personal values and priorities that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. Altus Suite will complement the other tools that we use for applicant review and evaluation. In implementing Altus Suite, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

Altus Suite consists of:

  • Casper: a 60-90 minute online situational judgment test (SJT)

You will register for Altus Suite for Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education (CSP-20201 – Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education),

Access to create an account and for more information on important dates and requirements, and the Altus Suite assessments.


Program Questionnaire

Queen's Ophthalmology has developed a short one-page questionnaire to assist with the selection process. It is important to note that there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers; the questionnaire is simply designed to help us learn more about applicants to our program. Completion of this questionnaire is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility. The questionnaire can be found on Queen's CaRMS website or by navigating to the following site: Program Questionnaire

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.
Document must be notarized/certified
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)
• Canadian Citizenship Card (both sides of card)

Proof of valid current citizenship or permanent resident status must be provided by submitting one of the following verifications to CaRMS by the File Review Opening deadline. Failure to provide valid proof will result in your application being removed. No other forms of verification are acceptable:


  1. Notarized/certified photocopy of Birth Certificate/Act of Birth issued by an authority in Canada accompanied by photo ID (must be Canadian government issued photo ID).
  2. Documents must be notarized/certified photocopies. Notarized/certified copies must not be older than two years from the application submission deadline; otherwise, a new notarized/certified copy is required.
  3. Confirmation of permanent residence must be accompanied by photo ID (must be a Canadian government issued photo ID).


CaRMS is partnering with third-party organizations to automate the verification of citizenship/legal status required by postgraduate offices for entry into residency. Third-party verification simplifies the process for applicants and programs. All applicants who do not receive third-party citizenship verification will be required to upload and assign an acceptable proof of citizenship document. Please see additional information here.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

We recommend getting reference letters from faculty members who know you well and who can attest to your clinical and interpersonal skills in a meaningful way. If possible, one or more reference letters from a faculty member from Ophthalmology is helpful, but not required. We realize that this may not be possible this year with the restrictions on electives and reassure you that this will not be detrimental to your application. Only the first three letters on file will be reviewed.

Additional documents
Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Your personal letter should provide the selection committee insight in to why you are a well-suited candidate for ophthalmology and for the Queen's Ophthalmology Program in particular.  It should be approximately 500 words in length (1 single-spaced page).  This is an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate who they are and what they hope to accomplish in a career in ophthalmology.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Please include a custom CV as part of the application package.  This will summarize your education, academic, volunteer, and research activities to date.  It may also include your general interests and hobbies.

Medical School Transcript 

Medical Student Performance Record 


In this section of the application, please include all research that has been submitted for publication.  We accept all types of work, however, we ask that you qualify it.  In other words, list all of your submitted research projects, and at the end of the citation put whether the citation is 'in press' or 'accepted with revisions'. Should you be waiting to hear back from a submitted publication write "submitted".  In regards to pending or in progress work, we would recommend outlining that information in your CV instead of as an abstract.

You may also include research that has been presented at conferences.  Please indicate the conference where the work was presented, as well as the type of presentation it was (poster presentation, oral presentation, etc.)

It is not necessary to submit all of your publications as PDFs.  You may wish to append your best work, whatever you feel that might be.  You should limit this to no more than 3 documents.


[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Ophthalmological Report 

We require that you obtain an ocular examination with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist that indicates your best corrected visual acuity including corrective prescription documented, your stereo-acuity, your colour vision and any other relevant details from a general assessment. 

CASPer exam 

Assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. Please click the following link:

Program questionnaire 

Queen's Ophthalmology has developed a short one-page questionnaire to assist with the selection process. It is important to note that there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers; the questionnaire is simply designed to help us learn more about applicants to our program. Completion of this questionnaire is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility. The questionnaire can be found on Queen's CaRMS website or by navigating to the following site: Program Questionnaire

Conditionally required
Medical School Diploma 

Documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a notarized translation. Students applying in the last year of medical school will need to submit their most recent marks/transcripts, and will need to provide proof of their MD to CPSO prior to the start of residency training.

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

Paper files are reviewed during the month of February and approximately 20-24 candidates are 'short-listed' for an interview based on their interest and aptitude in ophthalmology, as well as their academic record and interpersonal skills.

'Short-listed' candidates will be offered interviews, by email, by early March.

Candidates not receiving an interview at Queen's will be notified, by email, before the middle of March.



  • March 1, 2022
All interviews will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Applicants will be assigned a time to log-in for their interviews in advance. 


Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Virtual interviews will be program initiated. Detailed instructions on interview date, times, process and technological requirements will be provided closer to the date of interviews. Applicants will be given an opportunity to test their ability to properly connect, use the virtual interview platform, and problem-solve any technological issues in the days prior the their interview.

Further information regarding the Queen's Ophthalmology interview process will be added to the Queen's Ophthalmology departmental website as it becomes available. The individuals selected for an interview will recieve further emailed information regarding the process in February and March. 


Selection Criteria

Candidates should have a keen interest in Ophthalmology, and in the Program at Queen's in particular. This may be demonstrated by electives and research in Ophthalmology or related fields.

An acceptable academic record which demonstrates special proficiency in those subjects related to our specialty.

Letters of reference need not be from ophthalmologists. References should be able to attest to interest and proficiency in the specialty, as well as comment on exemplary interpersonal skills. 

Candidates with an interest, along with proven experience in research, both in basic science and clinical research, are encouraged to apply.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.  Maturity, empathy, sensitivity.

Program goals

Queen's Ophthalmology endeavours to select residents who can complete the program demands and requirements (clinical, surgical, and academic) such that they will graduate as competent ophthalmologists.  We strive to choose residents who can do so within the cultural and value context of our Program.  Such individuals have been descibed as bright, hard working, collegial, multi-dimensional, and inquisitive. We welcome diversity among our trainees, and seek to foster an environment that is welcoming to all, regardless of gender identity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Selection process goals

Applicants who have successfully matched to our Program are described as having:

  1. an aptitude for Ophthalmology - a genuine interest in a career of providing quality eye care and is interested in practicing in an ethical, conscientious manner,
  2. an aptitude for the Queen’s Ophthalmology Program - fit the collegial culture that has been cultivated in our Program,
  3. an academic aptitude – the ability to learn the material necessary to provide quality patient care, pass exams, etc in the setting of multiple competing demands,
  4. a surgical aptitude – the ability to learn and perform the microsurgery required of our specialty, 
  5. a research aptitude - interest in performing research throughout their residency, as every resident is expected to perform at least 1 research project per year, 
  6. a leadership aptitude - leadership qualities, abilities, and interest,
  7. a human aptitude - well rounded with interests and hobbies outside of medicine.

File review process

Review team composition : All residents and most faculty

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200
Usually 60-80 per year

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %
Usually 20-24 interviews are offered

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Provides a general overview of the candidate and their accomplishments in one location
Electives Some electives in ophthalmology, location of electives, some electives in other areas of medicine. Limitations and barriers related to securing electives are considered.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular We are interested in well-rounded students who demonstrate and pursue interests outside of medicine.
Leadership skills Demonstrates a students interest and ability to lead people and initiatives.
MSPRs Provide insight to a student's performance throughout med school, esp narratives from assessments.
Personal letters Allow a student to describe who they are, why they are interested in ophthalmology and the Queen's Program.
Reference documents Allow faculty they have worked with to describe their performance & their aptitude for residency.
Research/Publications We are interested to see a student's interest and ability to complete research
Transcripts In a pass/fail system, this is often the least useful information. We review it for outliers.
Other file component(s) Program Questionnaire:
Provide applicants with further opportunity to describe who they are, and why they are interested in Queen's Ophthalmology Program.

Assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program.

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

We understand the competitive nature of our specialty and the need to have a back-up plan should the match be unsuccessful.  Thus, we encourage students to get exposure in the various areas of their interest in medicine to ensure they are competitive to other specialties as well.

We also understand that the competitive nature of our specialty makes students feel they need to have electives at as many of the ophthalmology programs as possibe and that it is not possible to visit all programs.  As such, when we review a student's elective experience we are looking at the types of electives they performed and the location of their electives to get a sense of their overall priorities. We also consider and are understanding of the various systematic challenges and barriers that students face when attempting to secure elective experiences.

Interview process

Interview format :

We routinely accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills We are interested in individuals with a strong sense of and capacity for teamwork.
Collegiality We are interested in individuals who demonstrate the ability to work well with others.
Communication skills We use the interview as an opportunity to assess a candidate's communication skills and style.
Health advocacy We are interested in individuals who recognize the limitations and inequities of our health care system and the spectrum of demographics for the patients that we serve and who are motivated to advocate for those that need it most.
Interest in the discipline We are interested in understanding the nature of a candidate's interest in our discipline.
Interest in the program We aim to get a sense of a candidate's interest in our Program specifically & if they fit our culture
Leadership skills We are interested in candidates with leadership ability or potential and may ask related questions.
Professionalism We are interested in individuals with high degree of professionalism & may ask questions about this.
Scholarly activities We are interested in candidates who have interest and ability in performing scholarly work/research.
Other interview component(s) Time management, organizational skills, priority setting, patient interactions, adaptability, ability to work with direction and independently, self-reflection/self-regulation, surgical aptitude, and ethical are other qualities that are important to us. It is impossible to ask about each of these qualities during our interview time but a variety of these will be included and assessed throughout the process.

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

We are proud of our small but mighty, tight-knit, collegial Program and all of the perks that come with that.  There is one-on-one teaching and supervision on most subspecialty rotations, which results in high surgical/procedural volume.  Schedules are designed with flexibility and individual learning plans can be tailored to individual resident interests and needs.

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.

Transition to Discipline

Year 1 - Blocks 1-11.5 = 3.5 ophthalmology blocks, 7 blocks off service, 1 elective block

Foundations of Discipline

Year 1 - Blocks 11.5-12 = 6 week Toronto Ophthalmology Residents' Introductory Course

Year 2 - Blocks 1-9 = Emergency Eye Clinic + subspecialty clinics

Core of Discipline = Subspecialty ophthalmology, 2 elective blocks, community ophthalmology

Year 3 - Blocks 10-13

Year 4 - Blocks 1-13

Year 5 - Blocks 1-5

Transition to Practice 

Year 5 - Blocks 6-10

Exam Prep/Reduced Clinical Work 

Year 5 - Blocks 11-13


Trainees advance through the ranks with progressive increase in responsibility as skill and maturity develop.

We offer a community clinical and surgical experience.

The ratio of residents to faculty is 12-13 residents to sixteen staff (plus adjunct staff).

Electives:  During PGY1, there are 4 weeks available for an elective experience.  During PGY 4 & 5 years, there is up to 8 weeks available for interprovincial and international electives.  All electives must be approved by the Program Director.  Residents must submit objectives for their electives. A limited amount of funding may be available for domestic electives and there are funds available for approved international electives.






The PGY-1 year at Queen's includes rotations in surgery, medicine, and emergency medicine tailored to the trainee's requirements. Emphasis is placed on rotations involving some overlap with ophthalmology.  Up to 4 weeks of elective time is available in the PGY-1 year.


Since May 2002, residents have been participating in the University of Toronto Basic Science Program in Ophthalmology (TORIC) which is held during the last six weeks of the PGY-1 year.




PGY-2 to 5

The clinical teaching program includes:

Comprehensive experience in clinical ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery. Most of the PGY-2 year is devoted to emergent ophthalmic care.  PGY-3 to 5 allows for 4 month rotations in each sub-specialty as well as high volume surgical exposure.  


The didactic teaching program includes:

A seminar series covering the basic and clinical sciences of ophthalmology is delivered over a 2 year period and as such each resident receives the teaching this series offers twice during their residency. Up to 8 weeks of formal elective time is provided.

Weekly diagnostic rounds, grand rounds, and professor's rounds are offered.

Journal clubs with a strong emphasis on critical appraisal of the literature are offered every 2 months.

Residents participate in select teaching activities of various departments and groupings within the Queen's Health Sciences Complex.





Residents (PGY1) attend a course designed to provide an overview of critical appraisal and the development and conduct of an effective research program. Residents (PGY2-4) are expected to design and conduct research projects with direction and assistance from a faculty member. Residents are strongly encouraged and supported to present their research results at national and international meetings. All residents are required to present their research at an annual research day within the Department.

Training Sites

Our program has FULL accreditation status with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Department of Ophthalmology at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario conducts a graduate training program in its affiliated teaching hospitals.    Clinical experience is obtained in the principal affiliated teaching institutions, Hotel Dieu Hospital (where the majority of out-patient ophthalmic care is delivered) and Kingston General Hospital (where all in-patient and after-hours ophthalmic consultation occurs, as well as most PGY-1 off-service rotations).  External facilities also include one Department-run facility on the West end of Kingston and 2 private offices in downtown Kingston.



Additional Information

Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit our website where a wealth of information regarding our program is available. 


What is Queen's ophthalmology looking for in their candidates?

Our Program is interested in training residents who are keen and able to receive instruction and learn, who have a genuine interest in providing high quality ophthalmic care during residency and in their future careers, who have excellent interpersonal skills such that they can work effectively in our tight-knit environment, and who are mature, introspective and self-reflective such that they are able to integrate and adapt all that they learn during residency in to their pre-existing scaffold.  We are interested in residents who will actively contribute to the Program throughout their residency.


Do all of my reference letters need to be from ophthalmologists?

No, they do not, however it is advisable that at least one letter be from an Ophthalmologist. We would prefer to read letters from physicians from other specialties who know you well and who can attest to your overall abilities and interpersonal skills than from an ophthalmologist who has only spent a small amount of time with you during a short elective.


What does Queen's look for in the personal letter?

We want to get a sense of who you are: what motivates you in general and in ophthalmology, what makes you a good fit for a position in ophthalmology and in particular Queen's ophthalmology, what you hope to achieve in a career in ophthalmology...  The personal letter is an opportunity to give us insight in to who you are as a person, as well as information about you that we can't already glean from all of the documentation you have submitted as part of the application package.


Does Queen's require an ophthalmological report?

Yes, we do.  We want to ensure a future resident's success with microsurgery.  Having excellent stereoacuity is an important asset when trying to perform delicate intraocular 3 dimensional tasks like capsulorhexis and epiretinal membrane peeling.


Should I upload all of my publications as PDFs?

We recommend that you upload up to 3 abstracts/publications as PDFs.  Uploading what you feel is your best work is advised.  Of course you should list all of your research in the appropriate section and in your custom CV, including the citation, so we can access it onlne at our pleasure should we want to read more of your work.


Summary of changes

SUMMARY ID Section Summary of changes Updated on NOTIFY APPLICANTS SECTION NAME Actions