University of Calgary - Neurology - Calgary

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

Last approved on October 24, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Vikram Karnik
Clinical Neurosciences 
Foothills Medical Centre 
1403 29 Street NW (Neurosciences C1244)
Calgary, Alberta, T2N 2T9
(403) 944-1148
University of Calgary Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Residents' website
The Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Program Contacts

Dr. Vikram Karnik
Program Director

Christopher Smith
Program Coordinator

Dr. Megan Yaraskavitch
Assist Program Director

Important Information

Neurology residency programs across Canada started Competence by Design on July 1, 2020. 


"Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s major change initiative to reform the training of medical specialists in Canada. It is based on a global movement known as Competency-based medical education (CBME), and is led by the medical education community. The objective of CBD is to ensure physicians graduate with the competencies required to meet local health needs. It aims to enhance patient care by improving learning and assessment in residency."  The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

General Instructions

Program application language: English


Supporting Documentation / Information

Applicants are advised to only provide the documents requested by the program. No other documents submitted will be reviewed.
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)
Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General

IELTS, OET or CELPIP is required by CPSA for candidates from medical schools in Quebec except for candidates from McGill and for IMG candidates.  Please check CPSA for ELP updates.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Letters of reference should be from faculty or staff physicians. References from family members, medical students, residents, or fellows are not reviewed.

Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

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 : 500
Maximum : 1000

A 500 - 1000 word personal letter outlining why you have selected Neurology as a career and why you are applying to the University of Calgary is required. The letter should include an indication of your university grades before and during medical school, your accomplishments, interests, and your career goals.

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

Applicants will be selected for interviews by 18 January 2023.



  • February 17, 2023
  • February 18, 2023
Virtual interviews will be offered 17 and 18 February 2023.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
We review the application files and then invite selected candidates for virtual interviews.  Our program utilizes a highly structured interview process. Each candidate is interviewed by separate interviewers using a round-robin format over a half day. Candidates are invited to virtually attend the Department of Clinical Neurosciences Grand Rounds on the Friday morning. 

Selection Criteria

All applicants must be eligible for placement on the Educational Register of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. The applicant must apply for entry to a five-year neurology program via the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

Preference is given to applicants with:

-A strong academic record;

-A high level of motivation;

-An interest in an academic training environment and research (basic, clinical, or medical education); however, prior experience in research is not necessary;

-Excellent interpersonal skills.

Program goals


The University of Calgary Adult Neurology Residency Training Program is dedicated to educate residents in Neurology.  Upon completion of training in Neurology, a resident is expected to be an expert in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of patients with diseases of the nervous system; and to integrate all of the CanMEDS roles (Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional) to provide optimal, ethical and patient-centered medical care. 

The program will facilitate learning through an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect that fosters active communication between residents and faculty.                                                                                   

We emphasize the pursuit of excellence in clinical and academic neurology and instill intellectual curiosity of the discipline for the academic leaders of tomorrow. We strive to create a level of excitement that will stimulate our residents to seek further education and pursue careers in academic and community neurology. Our program aims to serve both the present and future requirements of our patients, communities, and discipline.

Selection process goals

The successful applicant will have:

  • a strong academic record
  • a high level of motivation
  • an interest in an academic training environment and research (basic, clinical, or medical education)
  • excellent interpersonal skills

We do not expect that the applicant will definitively "know" the career path within Neurology (academic vs community practice) or the sub-specialty (if any) that they may choose -- the program is here to provide the necessary knowledge and tools to help the applicant make those decisions.

File review process

Review team composition : The Selection Subcommittee is composed of faculty members of the Division of Neurology and Neurology residents. Faculty members have backgrounds in research (clinical and basic) and are from different sub-specialties within Neurology. All have an interest in medical education.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200
The average number of applicants over the last 5 years has been 59.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %
We usually interview 24 applicants over a 2-day period (~40%).

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV A broad range of experience both within medicine as well as personally.
Electives Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component except the IELTS if required.
Extra-curricular An individual with various interests.
Leadership skills Some experience in leadership, but not necessary.
MSPRs Evaluations of all rotations and examinations.
Personal letters Some knowledge in Neurology, and knowledge of the Calgary program and the City of Calgary.
Reference documents Motivated, personable individual.
Research/Publications Some experience in research (but not necessary); publications are not required.
Transcripts Prior education and achievements.
Other file component(s) Organization, grammar, and attention to detail.

A numerical value is assigned to each of the file components by 3 different file reviewers; selection is based on the highest sums.

Elective criteria

Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.
Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Ability to work within a healthcare team.
Collegiality Rapport and relationship building.
Communication skills Organized, interactive, purposeful.
Health advocacy Awareness of patient needs and diversity.
Interest in the discipline Awareness of the scope and breadth of Neurology.
Interest in the program Knowledge of the program and city.
Leadership skills Responsibility and team building.
Professionalism Ethical and respectful behaviour.
Scholarly activities Competency and life-long learning. Ability to synthesize new ideas.
Other interview component(s) A numerical value is assigned at each interview station. Each station evaluates different aspects of the above domains.

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

Participation in Meetings

Residents are allowed 7 working days each year to attend neurology meetings. The Department of Clinical Neurosciences contributes up to $2,000 toward resident travel to meetings each year. In addition, the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine (through the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Medical Education) provides financial assistance to residents for travel costs to a meeting when the resident is the first author of a presentation. Other funds also may be available for resident travel assistance.


Resident Scientist Program and Clinician Investigator Program

Neurology residents have the option to enter a MSc or PhD program funded by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) Resident Scientist Program or the Clinician Investigator Residency Program (a Royal College-accredited residency program). The leave is normally taken at the end of the PGY3 or PGY4 year. Salary is pegged at the PGY level of the resident. Details can be found at and

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.

Educational Program

The residency program covers a period of five years and has been designed to meet the objectives of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for Neurology Residency Programs. As of July 1, 2020, all Neurology residency programs across Canada will launch Competence by Design (CBD).  


CLINICAL PROGRAM (also see description below)

The University of Calgary Program consists of:

  • Transition to Neurology:  2 blocks

  • Foundations of Neurology:  24 blocks

  • Core of Neurology:  26 - 38 blocks
  • Transition to Practice:  6 - 12 blocks





The first two-blocks are spent on ward- and clinic-based neurology to allow the resident to bond to the Neurology Program and his or her new career (transition to discipline and residency).  Another three blocks of neurology are done later in the year.  There is exposure to acute stroke through a Night Float rotation where the resident is paired with a Stroke Fellow; there is also time spent on the Stroke Unit.  Mandatory clinic time is spent in the General Neurology, Urgent Neurology, and Lumbar Puncture Clinics; some specialty clinics may also be available.  The learning objectives for these two blocks are that the resident learns to perform a complete neurological history and physical examination, interprets the findings appropriately and formulates the basic aspects of a neurological differential diagnosis including anatomical, syndromic and pathophysiological diagnoses.


In Foundations, training experiences include neurology and non-neurology rotations, including internal medicine, psychiatry, neurosurgery, neuroradiology,  and emergency medicine. Internal medicine rotations include general medicine ward service and ICU/CCU and selective rotations, such as  rheumatology, infectious diseases, palliative care medicine, etc. Internal medicine rotations are tailored to provide the resident with a strong background in medicine useful in subsequent neurology training. 


A block of community neurology will be included in this stage. In addition to fulfilling the neurology objectives noted above, Foundations is meant to fulfill the objectives of basic clinical training as outlined by the Royal College: to give the resident a degree of independent responsibility for clinical decisions; an opportunity for further development of the skills required in making effective relationships with patients; the consolidation of competence in primary clinical and technical skills across a broad range of medical practice; and an understanding of the nature of the relationship between a referring physician and a consulting specialist.



This stage provides core training in clinical neurology. Neurology inpatient experience is obtained at the Foothills Medical Centre and the South Health Campus. During the inpatient general neurology rotations, the resident is responsible for the primary care of inpatients on the neurology ward, the assessment of patients in the emergency department and inpatient neurological consultations. During the stroke rotations in Core and Transition to Practice, the resident manages acute stroke and participates in the stroke fellow rota. Outpatient experience is emphasized in this program and clinical rotations which are completely clinic-based are scheduled. Clinics are available in General Neurology and several subspecialty areas, which are listed below. For most residents, rotations in neuropathology, neuromuscular/EMG, epilepsy/EEG comprise the balance of the Core rotations.

Most residents will undertake a three- to six-block period of clinical or basic neuroscience research (see below). Residents embark on their longitudinal neurology clinic in the two years prior to Transition to Practice (see below).  In the latter part of Core, the resident is expected to assume greater independence in the management of patients and more responsibility for teaching and supervising junior residents and clinical clerks. The resident also has the opportunity to participate in the teaching of second year medical students during the neurosciences portion of the medical school curriculum.



The resident is now a senior neurology resident/junior consultant in inpatient and outpatient settings. He/she continues the senior resident's longitudinal clinics; patients are evaluated and followed by the senior resident at arm's length from the attending neurologist preceptor.

The resident is expected to assume greater independence in the management of patients and more responsibility for teaching and supervising junior residents and clinical clerks. The resident also has the opportunity to participate in the teaching of second year medical students during the neurosciences portion of the medical school curriculum.

During this stage, the resident may select elective rotations from a number of different areas including EEG, neuro-ophthalmology, pain, neuro-rehabilitation or community neurology, or choose to spend further time in electromyography, neuromuscular disease, neuroradiology, neurosurgery or psychiatry. Special requests for other options will be considered on an individual basis.


Academic Program and Evaluations

Educational sessions for residents are held every weekday throughout the academic year at the 2 primary teaching hospitals:

Monday noon: Neuroradiology Rounds (SHC) every 2 weeks

Tuesday a.m.: "Les Leçons du Mardi" - Neurology Case Rounds video-conferenced between FMC & SHC

Tuesday p.m.:  Academic half-day:  (13:00 - 17:00): Neurology subspecialty/CanMEDS rounds and a two-hour seminar.  The seminars cover a curriculum of neurology topics that repeats every 2.5 years. All sessions are led by neurology preceptors.  Regular Communications Skills sessions (with actors) are also scheduled.

Wednesday: a.m:  Neuroradiology teaching rounds (FMC); video-conferenced to SHC

Friday Departmental Grand Rounds (08:00 - 10:15): During the first hour, neurology (adult or pediatric), neurosurgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation residents present a patient followed by a short didactic and interactive session. In the second hour, a topical didactic presentation is given, often by an invited guest speaker, or there is a clinical-pathological conference.  These rounds are video-conferenced between sites.

Divisional Quality Improvement Rounds are held quarterly.

Almost every sub-specialty clinic holds weekly rounds that residents may attend.

Annual residency program events include a sponsored residents' retreat, a sponsored neurology resident week-end basic science symposium, and the departmental Resident Research Day.

Residents in all years have certain duties and responsibilities in common. These include:

  • Participating in all departmental educational activities as a first priority.

  • Participating in the education of more junior residents (from all disciplines) and clinical clerks who are rotating through the Neurology Service.

  • Periodically making case presentations and short focused presentations at Rounds.



With the launch of CBD, evaluations and feedback will occur frequently throughout the rotations. The Neurology Residency Program Competence Committee receives copies of the evaluations and closely follows the progress of the resident.  Academic coaches/advisors will also monitor and advise residents. Preceptors are encouraged to give frequent informal feedback and the resident is encouraged to ask for informal feedback.

In addition to rotation evaluations, there are regular formal examinations.  Twice a year, residents are given a written progress exam. Foundation residents are given two practice multi-station OSCE exams by the senior neurology residents to acquaint them with the Royal College examination format. In subsequent years. a multi-station OSCE exam is held twice yearly, using similar formats to those used by the Royal College. Starting with PGY-1, the resident also takes the yearly Residency In-training Examination (RITE) given by the American Academy of Neurology.

The program director meets formally with each resident twice a year to discuss the resident's experience on recent rotations, evaluations, upcoming rotations, career plans and resident well-being.  Academic advisors meet at least four times per year, and more frequently as necessary.

Subspecialty Clinics

Participation in the Subspecialty Clinics provides a unique opportunity for neurology residents to gain in-depth experience dealing with patients with particular groups of diseases. Subspecialty Clinics are available in each of the following areas:

General Neurology

Urgent Neurology

Movement Disorders

Cognitive Disorders

Pain/Palliative Care

Neuromuscular Diseases

Epilepsy (Adult)

Neuro-oncology (Adult)


Epilepsy (Pediatric)

Multiple Sclerosis

Neuro-inflammatory Disorders



Neuro-vestibular Disorders





Resident research is a mandatory part of the University of Calgary Neurology Training Program. The goal is to promote the development of knowledge, skills, and interest in the field of clinical or basic neuroscience research. The completion of a well-designed research project, whether clinical, basic, or medical educational, also will facilitate future career development. Every effort will be made to tailor the type and scope of the research project to the resident's interests and needs. Most residents will spend three to six months in research during the Core year.  The resident research sub-committee of the Residency Program Committee meets with the resident to help develop the research project.

In addition, the U of C Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) offers salary support for residents who wish to carry out an MSc or PhD program with a clinical or basic science member of the HBI. The salary is pegged at the PGY level of the resident. Details can be found at  

The U of C also has a Clinician Investigator Program ( which is a Royal College certified program that provides the opportunity to pursue an MSc or PhD as part of the residency.


Research Interests

All the subspecialty clinics do clinical research ranging from epidemiological assessments, clinical trials, to translational research. Most departmental members are part of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, a collective of researchers who investigate basic, population health, and clinical sciences. Opportunities to be involved in research abound for residents throughout their training tract.

Further information about specific areas of research activity in the neurosciences may be found on the HBI website:

Training Sites

Participating Departments, Institutions and Facilities


The Department of Clinical Neurosciences comprises the Divisions of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and includes 62 adult neurologists, and other full and part-time faculty members. The alliance of the three disciplines at the University of Calgary allows fruitful collaboration in several departmental activities, including weekly rounds, resident basic science seminars, research day, outpatient services, etc. (for further information see the departmental Annual Report Other departments, including Pediatric Neurology, Neuro-Pathology, and Neuro-Radiology also participate actively in the neurology training program.



Foothills Medical Centre is a large, tertiary care medical facility (1,000 acute care beds) that serves as the major referral centre in Southern Alberta for patients requiring inpatient neurology care. There are two inpatient services: general neurology (which encompasses neurology in-patients, in-patient consultations, and Emergency Department consultations) and stroke (stroke in-patients, in-patient stroke consultations, and acute and sub-acute stroke).  There are also several general neurology and sub-specialty outpatient clinics (see above). There are three combined neurology and neurosurgery inpatient wards comprising 60 beds plus an 18-bed stroke unit and a ward devoted to inpatient neuro-rehabilitation. There is a neurology/neurosurgery critical care unit, an EMG/EEG Lab and a resident office with computers and internet access on the same floor as the inpatient neurology wards. A neurology/neurosurgery outpatient wing is located above the neurology wards. The Foothills Medical Centre and Seaman Family MR Research Centre houses an intraoperative MRI scanner (the iMRI) and a 3-Tesla research and clinical scanner as well as two 1.5 Tesla clinical scanners. The University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine is located adjacent to the Foothills Medical Centre. Five contiguous buildings (McCaig Tower, Health Science and Heritage Medical Buildings, Health Research Innovation Center and Translational Research Wing) house additional acute care beds, as well as both basic and clinical research facilities.  The new Calgary Cancer Centre is currently under construction with anticipated opening in 2023.



The Peter Lougheed Centre in the northeast and Rockyview General Hospital in the southwest are 600+ bed fully equipped hospitals with active medical, surgical and intensive care units. Both sites support busy neurology consultation services, neurology clinics, EEG and EMG laboratories and CT and MR scanners. Residents may rotate through these sites for General Neurology Clinics, Urgent Neurology Clinics, EEG, and EMG rotations, as well as their Internal Medicine rotations.



Alberta Children's Hospital is a tertiary care pediatric medical facility and a major pediatric trauma center. There are 16 neurologists that run active in-patient and outpatient neurology services. In addition to General Neurology clinics, subspecialty clinics include Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Headache, Neurodevelopment, Neuromotor/Neuromuscular, Sleep, and Stroke. The division also has full EEG, EMG, and imaging capability.  Major research interests include brain recovery, epilepsy, stroke, and Tourette's syndrome.



A fourth adult acute care hospital, the South Health Campus, opened in September 2012 with complete operational status in September 2013.  There are 269 acute care beds.  There is an active general neurology inpatient and consultation service including a seizure monitoring unit.  The Headache Clinic and Neuromuscular Clinic are based at SHC.  Other clinics include General Neurology, Urgent Neurology, Neuro-Immunology, and MS.



The Resident Office, located at FMC adjacent to the neurology ward, is equipped with computers, a printer. and a scanner.  Electronic Resources include Alberta Health Services Knowledge Resource Service which provides access to Dynamed, CPS, and PubMed plus a large selection of Electronic Journals available via the web through the University of Calgary Health Sciences Library.

Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Electives outside of the University of Calgary are permitted based on the needs of the resident and quality of the proposed elective. Generally, the duration of extramural electives will not exceed three blocks.

  • The ratio of residents to faculty is ~1 to 3.5

  • Clinical neurology rotations are divided between Foothills and South Health Campus inpatient service (~40%), stroke service (~30%), and Neurology Clinics (~30%). The average patient load per resident on the Foothills or South Health Campus service is about seven.

Summary of changes

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