University of British Columbia - General Surgery - Vancouver

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

Last approved on September 21, 2021

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Ahmer Karimuddin
UBC Department of Surgery 
DHCC 11125, 2775 Laurel Street 
Vancouver BC , British Columbia, V5Z 1M9
(604) 875-4111, ext. 23115
UBC General Surgery Residency Program

Program Contacts

Dr. Ahmer Karimuddin
Program Co-Director

Dr. Tracy Scott
Program Co-Director

Important Information

Accredited program with follow-up by regular accreditation review

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.
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
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

Required documents for ALL applicants

Canadian Citizenship

The province of British Columbia will accept one of the following notarized/certified documents as proof of the citizenship/permanent residency and is required for all types of applicants. Photocopies are accepted but, citizenship documents other than what is listed below are not accepted.  Proof of citizenship/permanent residency must be submitted to CaRMS by the File Review deadline.  No allowances for late submission.

  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate
  • Canadian Citizen Card (both sides)
  • Current Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides)
Language proficiency
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General


If you graduated from an English medical school in Canada (including McGill) or the US, you are exempt from providing proof of language proficiency.

Candidates who attended medical school in Quebec or the University of Ottawa where the language of instruction or the primary language of patient care was not English, must fulfill the English Language Proficiency requirements of the College of Physicians of Surgeons of BC as identified below.   This requirement is the same for IMGs and is required by the start of the Ranking Period.


The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC requires applicants to be proficient in the English language.

The Registration Committee may determine that an applicant has demonstrated English language proficiency if the following conditions are met:

  • The primary language of medical education was English, and
  • The primary language of patient care was English.

Applications received by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC on or before June 30, 2022, who have not met the above requirements will require one of: IELTS Academic examination, OET Medicine Examination or CELPIP General Examination for licensing (see criteria below).  As such, applicants must submit the proof of English language proficiency to CaRMS by the start of Ranking Period. Photocopies are acceptable.

  • IELTS Academic - Minimum score of 7 in each component.
  • IELTS scores are valid for a period of 2 years from the date taken.
  • OET Medicine Examination - Minimum grade of B in each component.
  • OET results are valid for a period of 2 years from the date taken.
  • CELPIP General Examination - Minimum score of 9 in each component.
  • CELPIP results are valid for a period of two years from the date taken.

Please note that results from these three examinations cannot be mixed. Candidates must meet all of the criteria in either the IELTS, OET or CELPIP examination.

Applicants are advised to review the College of Physicians and Surgeons English Language Proficiency Requirements here:


Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Three (3) letters of reference are required with two (2) from a General Surgeon. Letters should be written by people who are familiar with you and your work. 

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Medical Student Performance Record 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Please provide a brief narrative of your previous experiences, personal interests, and education to date, including the factors that have motivated you to pursue a career in general surgery. In addition to prioritizing the pursuit of excellence in the clinical and technical aspects of surgery, the UBC General Surgery Residency Program also views accomplishment in the non-Medical Expert CanMEDS roles as essential in the preparation of inspired surgeons and future leaders. Finally, please outline why you feel the UBC General Surgery Program fits with you and how you feel you could contribute to the program.

Custom Résumé / CV 

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Optional - will be reviewed

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

The UBC General Surgery Residency Program uses a structured process to review applications to ensure an equitable evaluation for all applicants. File reviewers are blinded to the applicants' name, gender and race throughout the application review. Each application is blinded before review by a set of independent reviewers. The personal letter is not blinded as the Selection Committee feels this is a place where the applicant can decide what they want to reveal about themselves to the reviewers. 

Decisions made by the Selection Committee are final and not open to appeal.



  • March 3, 2022
March 3, 2022

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Approximately 45-47 applicants will be offered interviews for the program. Each candidate will have a series of separate interviews with the Program Co-Directors and interview teams. Candidates will also have the opportunity to meet informally with residents on the interview day. 

Selection Criteria

1. Only applicants whose complete applications are received will be considered for interviews. The factors influencing selection include excellence in academic standing, good letters of reference attesting to the applicant's knowledge, clinical judgment, emotional stability and moral character, and a personal letter demonstrating a clearly thought-out commitment to general surgery. There are no quotas or preferences made based on school of graduation or career goals.

2. The applicants are also required to complete Team Dynamics Profile (TDP). The link will be emailed to all applicants on February 1-3, 2022. There are no right or wrong answers with this assessment and there is nothing to do to prepare for it. The assessment should be completed by February 8, 2022. 

The TDP helps to understand an applicant’s work style, preferences, personality traits and behaviors which are critical to successful performance in a role and as a team member. It is completed online and has no time limit but generally takes 15 minutes to complete. There is no cost associated for the applicants.

Program goals

The education of our residents is the main goal of the UBC General Surgery Residency Training Program. Faculty throughout the province participate in teaching and research. Residents rotate through many various hospitals for mandatory, selective and elective rotations. Our Residents are given graduated responsibilities throughout their residency to reach the ultimate goal of becoming a competent Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada General Surgeon.

The goal of our training program is to produce fully trained and competent General Surgeons who are able to:

  1. Successfully pass the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Specialty Examination in General Surgery.
  2. Able to practice at a consultant level in General Surgery.
  3. Have a superior knowledge of General Surgery and other related disciplines.
  4. Obtain exceptional clinical knowledge, operative and endoscopic skills.
  5. Obtain proficiency in General Surgery procedures.
  6. Become a medical expert and scholar. To act in a professional manner with excellent collaborator, health advocate and communicator skills.
  7. Exhibit excellent leadership skills.
  8. Have an excellent understanding of research methodology.

Selection process goals

  1. Identify applicants’ interest in General Surgery, and those who will develop into exceptional surgeon.
  2. Identify applicants who have demonstrated ability to interact appropriately with patients, colleagues, and healthcare team members alike.
  3. Identify applicants who have demonstrated attributes highlighted in the CanMEDS 2015 roles.
  4. Identify applicants who have demonstrated ability and enthusiasm to learn and are able to adapt to the various demands of residency training.
  5. Identify applicants who have demonstrated understanding of research methodology.

File review process

Review team composition : Our Selection Committee is composed of two Program Co-Directors, Chair of Selection Committee, 10-15 faculty (including faculty at distributed sites), 10-15 residents and program administrators.

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Research, publications, electives, extra-curricular, leadership
Electives Dedication to General Surgery, clinical evaluations
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Volunteering (medical and non medical), mentoring
Leadership skills Holding office in a student government, club or organization
MSPRs Interpersonal and teamwork skills
Personal letters Dedication to General Surgery, compelling reasons for UBC
Reference documents Work ethic, performance, interpersonal skills, interest in General Surgery
Research/Publications Completed projects, grants received, interest in future research projects
Transcripts Academic performance and achievements

Elective criteria

We encourage applicants to have completed at least one elective in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Promotion of high-quality patient care through working in a team environment
Collegiality Behavior, attitude, ability to work well and build rapport with others
Communication skills Clear and effective communication
Health advocacy Ability to understand needs and speak on behalf of patients or communities
Interest in the discipline Demonstrated interest and ability in General Surgery
Interest in the program Demonstrated interest in the program
Leadership skills Ability to inspire, lead and make an impact
Professionalism Correspondence with staff, behavior during interview
Scholarly activities Not applicable
Other interview component(s) Analytical thinking, problem solving, self-awareness, pro-activity

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

We do not consider any information gathered outside of the CaRMS application and local interview processes.

Ranking process

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

Program Highlights

The UBC General Surgery Residency Program recognizes that all of its incoming residents bring outstanding experiences and skills, and unique perspectives to their training. Our goal is to ensure that these unique experiences and perspectives remain at the core of surgical training and form the basis of successful surgical careers. The highlight and most important factor in the success of our program is the talent and enthusiasm of our residents. The training program and established curricula strive to maximize the potential of our surgical residents. We strive to maximize resident involvement at all levels including quarterly Town Hall meetings, an annual Resident Retreat and Resident Research Day, and involvement in various committees such as:

  • Residency Program Committee
  • Curriculum Committee
  • Competency, Promotions and Remediation Committee
  • Wellness and Social Committee.

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.

Clinical Rotations

The General Surgery Residency Program has access to busy and high acuity surgical services at hospitals across British Columbia. A truly distributed program, our residents have a province wide presence and must rotate through rotations around the province. All residents rotate on specialty services such as trauma, hepatobiliary, transplant, surgical oncology, and colorectal surgery as well as on busy surgical services at community hospitals across the length and breadth of British Columbia with a diverse and complex case mix. Additionally, the program has a formal endoscopy rotation to ensure residents are competent in endoscopic procedures. This training environment makes clinical and technical excellence a fundamental expectation of all of our surgical graduates.

Innovative Rotations and Longitudinal Experiences

In addition to high-volume and high acuity surgical rotations throughout all years of training, the program has also created a series of innovative rotations and longitudinal experiences which span the entire duration of training. The PGY1 begins with a clinical and administrative orientation to life as resident, followed by the Basic Surgical Techniques (BST) course, where new residents are taught anatomy, open and laparoscopic skills, in an interactive mix of classroom, simulation and lab sessions through the junior Academic Half Day Process. The PGY1 CRASH Course is a four-week rotation through the Surgical Foundations Program which brings mid first-year residents back to the classroom and skills lab to explore issues in trauma resuscitation, critical care, teaching, leadership, evidence-based practice, and technical skills. The course has been designed to equip junior residents with the knowledge, skill, and confidence to have a highly successful residency. PGY2s have a research block to write proposals and to prepare funding applications for research years, which is predominantly through the Clinical Investigator Program. PGY2s also get a special Innovation Week, where they are protected from clinical pressures to work on research and innovation in surgery.

In the final years of the program, residents participate in the Expert Series, an advanced surgical curriculum for senior residents, as well as in the definitive surgical trauma care DSTC course. The PGY4s participate in the RISE at the beginning of the year. They are protected from clinical duties to work on leadership and career mentorship in surgery. Many of the educational initiatives in the program, such as endoscopy and scholarly research work have a longitudinal component with specific expectations at each stage of training.

Academic Half Day

The academic half day, which is the foundation of our curriculum, is based on a two year cycle of subject blocks. Within each block residents will participate in small and large group case based sessions, scientific sessions, and a simulation program which will closely parallel the sequence of clinical topics covered in the half days. All residents have simulator access at the VGH Simulation Centre/Jack Bell Lab and all academic blocks incorporate low and high fidelity simulator training to promote development of specific technical and decision making skills.


An independent academic half day curriculum has been designed for the junior residents. This curriculum focuses on completion of a major surgical textbook and mastery of fundamental open and laparoscopic skills, and includes time for research and professional development.


Academic symposium curriculum has been designed for the senior residents. This curriculum includes:

  1. Eight core areas (12-week block per area) as per the RCPSC educational objectives
  2. Weekly readings (expert chapters, key journal articles, web videos, etc.), assignments and quizzes from SCORE online resources
  3. Weekly protected AHD time
  4. Journal clubs
  5. Full day academic symposium for each core area.

Training Sites

Vancouver General Hospital

St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver

BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver

UBC Hospital, Vancouver

BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver

Mount St. Joseph Hospital, Vancouver

Lion's Gate Hospital, North Vancouver

Richmond Hospital

Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster

Burnaby General Hospital

Surrey Memorial Hospital

Langley Memorial Hospital

Abbotsford Regional Hospital & Cancer Centre

Chilliwack General Hospital

Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

North Island Hospital, Campbell River

Cariboo Memorial Hospital, Williams Lake

East Kootney Regional Hospital, Cranbrook 

Kelowna General Hospital

Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops

Shuswap Lake General Hospital, Salmon Arm

Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Trail

Penticton Regional General Hospital

University Hospital of Northern BC, Prince George

Additional Information

Team Dynamics Profile

The TalentClick Team Dynamics Profile (TDP) is part of the selection process and is administered to all applicants prior to the interview. It helps to understand an applicant’s work style, preferences, personality traits and behaviors which are critical to successful performance in a role and as a team member. The TDP is done online and has no time limit but generally takes 15 minutes to complete. It can be taken in 19 different languages. The applicants choose the language of their choice to complete the assessment.

The TDP meets or exceeds the reliability and validity criteria specified by the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999) by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association and the Standards for the Development and Use of Tests for Appointment Purposes (Canada) (2007). Validation analyses of the TDP has demonstrated no adverse impact with no significant differences in assessment scores by gender or race/ethnicity.

A results report is generated for each applicant who completes the TDP. Target score ranges in the TDP results report have been calibrated specifically for evaluating UBC General Surgery Residency Program applicants. An overall ‘Fit Score’ is reported in the results for the applicant. These target score ranges were determined using a concurrent validation method analyzing assessment results from current and past general surgery resident incumbents. The results include recommended interview questions that are worded to be relevant to a health care work environment.