University of Saskatchewan - Ophthalmology - Saskatoon

2023 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on December 01, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Nigel Rawlings
Saskatoon City Hospital  
701 Queen Street
Saskatoon SK , Saskatchewan, S7K 0M7
University of Saskatchewan
Department of Ophthalmology
Learn more about the U of S Ophthalmology program

Program Contacts

Lorrisa Budz
Program Administrative Assistant

Dr. Paul Murphy
Head, Ophthalmology

Important Information

Applicants  are responsible for reviewing the University of Saskatchewan Policies for the R1 Match to determine if they meet all requirements and eligibility criteria. Failure to meet or provide proof of any of the stated requirements or documents may result in an applicant’s file not being reviewed or ranked.

CASPer Test
All applicants must complete the Casper test. More information is available under Supporting Documentation-CASPer Exam.

Matched applicants must be eligible for an educational register license with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) for a July 1st start date and must maintain eligibility for an educational register license throughout their entire training program. Matched applicants who are graduating in the spring will need to provide a copy of their medical degree/diploma to the PGME office and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) prior to the start of residency training. Any delays in providing all required documentation to CPSS may result in the following:

  • delay in issuance of an educational register license and a delay in start of postgraduate training beyond July 1st
  • release from CaRMS match contract

Applicants completing medical education at the University of Montreal, Sherbrooke, Laval, and the University of Ottawa (French stream) are required to submit proof of English language proficiency before the rank order deadline to demonstrate they meet CPSS requirements. More information is available under Supporting Documentation-Language Proficiency.

NOTE: Applicants who are considering a delay to their convocation date must be aware that a medical degree cannot be issued to a student until they have convocated. CPSS bylaws require that new residents must have received their medical degree prior to the commencement of residency training. Choosing to delay convocation will affect a matched applicant’s ability to commence their residency training program in Saskatchewan on July 1. Please refer to the U of S CaRMS Deferral Policy for additional information.

In order to commence and continue in Postgraduate Medical Education training programs, matched applicants must be eligible for and maintain privileges within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) as determined by their credentialing process. The SHA requires successful applicants to submit a current criminal record check as part of their pre-resident application for appointment. Applicants with criminal records will be considered on a case by case basis by the College of Medicine in consultation with the SHA.

Resident Boot Camp
All matched applicants must attend a mandatory three-day Resident Boot Camp scheduled for late June. The purpose of the Boot Camp is to provide additional support to trainees as they transition to residency by introducing and consolidating baseline skills and knowledge needed to flourish during their residency years. The program will include interactive case-based and hands-on practice sessions. There will also be a social event to provide trainees with the opportunity to interact and network among themselves. Stipends will be provided to trainees.

Attendance is required and absences are only permitted in exceptional circumstances, with prior approval of PGME.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Matched applicants are required to provide proof of ACLS certification (current as of July 1, 2023) to the PGME office prior to starting their training program. The ACLS course must be endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and/or the American Heart Association. ACLS training that is not certified by these two organizations and/or is completed entirely through an online course will not be accepted. Applicants are responsible for all costs associated with obtaining ACLS certification.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation / Information

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)
• Canadian Citizenship Card (both sides of card)

All applicants must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents at the time of application and must submit a notarized/certified photocopy of one of the accepted citizenship documents.

Proof of citizenship must be current at the time of application and expired documents will not be accepted.

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.

Language proficiency
Conditionally required
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General

Language assessment document accepted: IELTS Academic

  • Document validity (not expired) by: Must be valid up to July 1, 2023
  • Minimum score: Minimum of 7.0 in each of the components
  • Results available and submitted to programs by: March 2, 2023 at 14:00 ET 

Language assessment document accepted:

  1. Occupational English Test (OET) – Medicine on paper at a test venue
  2. Occupational English Test (OET) – Medicine on a computer at a test venue
  • Document validity (not expired) by: Must be valid up to July 1, 2023
  • Minimum score: Minimum grade of B
  • Results available and submitted to programs by: March 2, 2023 at 14:00 ET

Language assessment document accepted: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – General

  • Document validity (not expired) by: Must be valid up to July 1, 2023
  • Minimum score: Minimum grade of 9 in all sections
  • Results available and submitted to programs by: March 2, 2023 at 14:00 ET

Applicants will be required to provide proof of proficiency in the English language to meet licensing requirements of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSS) of Saskatchewan.

CMGs/USMGs who completed their medical education at an English medical school in Canada or the US are not required to submit proof of English language proficiency.

Canadian applicants with medical education from the University of Montreal, Sherbrooke, Laval, and the University of Ottawa (French stream) are required to meet the English language proficiency requirements of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan and must complete one of the language exams listed above.

Applicants who are required to complete a language exam must submit a valid test score to CaRMS by the program rank order deadline. Applicants who do not provide acceptable proof of language proficiency by the program rank order deadline will not be ranked.

Please direct any questions about language requirements or eligibility to Applicants should not contact CPSS directly about their eligibility for licensure.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Three letters of reference are required.

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Your medical school transcript can be submitted through one of the methods below:

  1. Obtain your medical transcript from your school and upload it directly to your CaRMS Online account. Follow your school’s policy regarding accessing or requesting your transcript;
  2. Ask your medical school to upload your medical transcript through their CaRMS Undergraduate Portal account; or
  3. International (IMGs) and United States (USMGs) medical graduates can transfer their transcript from their account.

Medical Student Performance Record 

For current year Canadian medical graduates (CMGs), there is no action required from you. Your medical school will automatically submit your MSPR to CaRMS on your behalf for you to assign.
If your MSPR is in a language other than the program language of English or French, you are required to have the document translated.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

A personal letter is required which states why the applicant chose ophthalmology, any related experience and future plans.

CASPer exam 

Your CASPer assessment result is sent directly to CaRMS from Altus approximately one week prior to the application deadline. Please ensure that you give Altus permission to share your results with CaRMS.
The CASPer assessment is only valid for one admissions cycle. If you have taken the assessment in a previous year, you are expected to re-take it. To register for the CASPer assessment visit

Ophthalmological Report 

Needs to include acuity, depth perception and color vision testing.

An ophthalmologist signature on your report is considered certification.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 10, 2023

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 10, 2023

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 10, 2023



  • February 8, 2023
Interviews will take place virtually on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.  Applicants will be contacted prior to this date and given instructions along with the link for interview day.  

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Interviews are initiated by the program.

Selection Criteria

- Acceptable academic record.

- Proven interest in ophthalmology which can be demonstrated by electives.

- Maturity, empathy, and excellent interpersonal skills.

Program goals

The University of Saskatchewan offers a five-year comprehensive training in Ophthalmology with subsequent eligibility for the Royal College specialty examination.  Training is intended to prepare residents for the examination in Ophthalmology of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and to produce competent general ophthalmologists who appreciate and understand the importance of basic and clinical research in advancing knowledge in the field. 

Upon completion of the educational program, a resident is expected to be a competent Ophthalmologist capable of assuming a consultant's role in the specialty.  Our program has historically produced excellent clinicians with advanced surgical skills.  Our graduates often transition into general ophthalmology practices with ease, or begins subspecialty fellowship training.  

The primary goal of the residency training program is to train competent general ophthalmologists who are excellent clinicians and professionals.  A significant amount of time is spent with the core training faculty in Saskatoon.  Some rotations may be pursued with community faculty in Regina or rural centers.  Many of the teaching faculty are located in private offices but the main hub of resident education is at the Saskatoon City Hospital Eye Care Center.  This state of the art facility is the location of the majority of on call activity and resident teaching.  

Residents must demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills, and behaviors for effective patient-centered care and service to a diverse population.  In all aspects of specialist practice, the graduate must be able to address ethical issues and issues of gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, beliefs, and ethnicity in a professional manner.  

Selection process goals

As we have a small, tight-knit program, we value applicants that are personable and easy to get along with.  Residents that are self-starters, motivated, autonomous and responsible often thrive in our program.  We look for strong communication skills so that the successful applicant will be an exemplary clinician but will also mesh with the existing resident body.  Excellent academic track record and exposure to Ophthalmology research is an asset.  An interest in Ophthalmology as a career can be demonstrated by clinical elective choice, but our program does value a well-rounded medical school experience. 

Additional training experiences above and beyond the traditional medical school curriculum will be considered in a manner that upholds and respects the principles of fairness, equity, and professionalism in the application, selection, and matching process. Training experiences that fall outside of the undergraduate medical education will be evaluated using existing institutional rubrics specific to our program, and weighted in a manner that encourages equity among all applicants.


File review process

Review team composition : Review team consists of multiple ophthalmology residents, program director, 2-3 faculty

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50
We typically receive 30-60 applicants

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 0 - 25 %
We interview 15 applicants each year

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Has applicant been successful in the work force?
Electives Interest in Ophthalmology? Broad experience?
Examinations All applicants must complete a CASPer exam to be eligible for consideration.
Extra-curricular Does applicant have interests outside of Ophthalmology?
Leadership skills Does applicant have maturity to excel as a resident?
MSPRs Any interruptions in medical education trajectory?
Personal letters What makes this applicant unique?
Reference documents Any red flags identified by referees?
Research/Publications Does applicant have research experience?
Transcripts Has applicant ever failed a medical school class?

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.

Due to COVID-19, it is expected and anticipated that elective experiences are greatly affected and appropriate consideration will be taken when reviewing applications. We wish to assure applicants this will not impact the eligibility of their application during the review and selection process.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Evaluated during interview
Collegiality Evaluated during interview
Communication skills These are gauged intensively during interview process
Health advocacy Evaluated during interview
Interest in the discipline Usually evident after file review
Interest in the program Evaluated during interview and during town hall meeting
Leadership skills Assessed with specific interview questions
Professionalism Evaluated during interview and throughout the application process
Scholarly activities Evident with file review

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 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.


The first year will provide a broad clinical background for residents entering ophthalmology. Minimum training requirements as set out in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Specialty Training Requirements (2012) - a minimum of one month and a maximum of three months in each of the following:  Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Neurology, Emergency Medicine, Neuroimaging/Radiology and Plastic Surgery.  The basic clinical year is undertaken in Saskatoon and/or Regina.

Currently at the end of PGY1 the resident attends the TORIC (Toronto Ophthalmic Resident Introductory Course) in Toronto, Ontario (6 weeks in length) with all the other PGY1 ophthalmology residents.

PGY-2 to 5

Comprehensive training will be given in general ophthalmology with subspecialty exposure proposed in medical and surgical retina and vitreous, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, glaucoma, corneal/external disease, oculoplastic surgery and neuro-ophthalmology. Residents will participate in rotations through the various clinics, rotate emergency call, provide inpatient care and participate in surgery starting with extraocular surgery in PGY-2 and progressing to intraocular surgery in more senior years. At the end of the PGY-2 and the beginning of PGY-3, the applicant can attend the Lancaster Basic Science Course in Ophthalmology in Waterville, Maine or at Stanford University in California. The applicant is expected to complete the American Academy of Ophthalmology Home Study Course in Ophthalmology during PGY-2 and PGY-3. Each year from PGY-2 to PGY-5 the applicant writes the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) examination. Mock oral examinations are given twice yearly, and are designed to simulate the format of the Royal College examinations.

PGY-2 to 5 will be located at the Eye Centre at Saskatoon City Hospital, with community rotations.


Ongoing seminars are provided several days a week consisting of didactic lectures, teleconferences, journal clubs and weekly grand rounds. Attendance at scientific meetings is encouraged and may be funded depending on finances available. A strong effort is made to provide funding for residents presenting at conferences.


Each resident must initiate a research project which must be completed during the course of residency.

Training Sites

Saskatoon Hospitals

Royal University Hospital

Saskatoon City Hospital

St. Paul's Hospital

Jim Pattison Children's Hospital

PrairieView Surgical Centre

Regina Hospitals

Regina General Hospital

Pasqua Hospital

Additional Resources

Computer(s) with internet access and access to major ophthalmology journals is provided.

Quick Facts

- Ratio of residents to faculty is 1:2.

- Average patient load is 10-12 patients per day.

- There are mandatory community rotations.

- Interprovincial and international electives are only available if that particular rotation is unavailable locally.

Distributive Learning at the University of Saskatchewan

The College of Medicine, while physically located in Saskatoon, is a provincial resource in attitude and in practice. Postgraduate medical education at the University of Saskatchewan takes seriously its role in supporting quality health care to all people of the province. This means training physicians to meet the needs of, not only urban populations, but also those of rural and remote populations. In so doing, the College of Medicine has developed, and continues to develop, rotations in Regina and other communities. These rotations are designed to provide educational experiences to enhance the resident's knowledge and skills, and take maximum advantage of unique educational opportunities in a diversity of communities. All postgraduate programs are expected to develop and incorporate into their curriculum, rotations in communities other than Saskatoon. The manner in which each program does this is not strictly prescribed by the College of Medicine - but is determined by the Residency Training Committee, taking into consideration the needs of their residents, and the excellent opportunities available in other locations. These rotations continue to evolve as we seek to build stronger and better programs.

Extensive support is available for out of town rotations. The exact nature of this support varies with location and program. The communities involved, individual programs, the College of Medicine, and the Ministry of Health work collaboratively to ensure residents are not financially disadvantaged by the need to relocate.

For residents assigned to short term rotations in Regina, fully furnished private apartments are provided (laundry facilities, wi-fi, cable TV) and are located in close proximity to the Regina General Hospital. Family friendly and pet friendly housing is available.

While all residents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of educational experiences in other communities to ensure a well rounded education, the amount and format of such time is determined by the program committee. Royal College Specialty residents are expected to complete 10% - 20% of their training in Regina.

Summary of changes

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