Master of Clinical Science Program

Established in 1977, this was the first Master's level program to prepare family physicians for academic family medicine roles. Since 1997, the program has been offered in a distance education format on the Internet. 

The Master of Clinical Science program  attracts Family Physicians from Canada and around the world who wish to enhance their knowledge, skills, and leadership within the discipline of Family Medicine. This program combines on-site (two weeks, once yearly) with distance education via the Internet. The course of study is designed to fit the needs of the individual student and utilizes the broad range of academic and research expertise of the faculty. The program is offered as both a part-time and a full-time program.

Brief history of the program

  • The initiative of developing a graduate studies program in Family Medicine was the brainchild of Professor Ian McWhinney in 1972 while Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Western University. After five years of preparatory work, the MClSc Program was launched in September 1977. Dr. McWhinney recognized the need for a graduate program to help prepare future faculty for a career in academic family medicine, to provide family physicians with the additional academic skills required for teaching, research and leadership.  This remains essential for the discipline of Family Medicine in order to develop and evolve with a sound knowledge base and a robust process for seeking new knowledge.
  • With these visionary ideas and insights, the MClSc commenced as both a full-time and part-time program.  The program continues in this format attracting a number of family physicians from many countries around the globe including England, Scotland, Iceland, Israel, South Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Chile, United States and Canada.
  • Graduates of the program have taken up leadership roles in many Departments of Family Medicine in Canada and around the world.
  • The changing economic realities of the 1990s, along with the development of distance education using the Internet, guided the program's faculty in adopting a new format of delivery.
  • By utilizing the Internet, the needs of future students are met by supporting students in continuing to practice medicine while pursuing a master's degree. This innovative and interactive mode of educational delivery enhances the program's ability in demonstrating leadership in graduate education.

Our Debt to Martin J. Bass

It is important to acknowledge the impact of the loss to the Graduate Studies Program incurred by the death of Dr. Martin Bass in July of 1996 . Dr. Bass was a former Director of the Graduate Studies Program and held the position of professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics. At the time of his death he was the Director of the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine and the Thames Valley Family Practice Research Unit.

His role as a family physician researcher was a major strength of the program - he was a model for all of us to emulate. He served as supervisor for many of the students' research projects and theses over the years and has had a major impact on the development of family practice research around the world. The faculty has resolved to preserve and strengthen the vision that Dr. Bass had for this program. His memory and previous contributions have had a lasting impact on those of us who continue to be involved in the program.

Brief description of the program

  • The program of study leads to a Master of Clinical Science (MClSc) degree in Family Medicine. This degree attracts family physicians anticipating an academic career in a university setting, junior faculty wanting to improve academic skills or practicing family physicians upgrading skills in order to teach or contribute to research in their own community setting.
  • The program offers full credit courses in Teaching and Learning, Advanced Patient Centered Medicine, Research Methods along with half credit courses in Theoretical Foundations of Family Medicine and Canada's Health System.
  • In addition, the program requires either a thesis with a course load of 4.0 credits, or a substantial research project and a major essay with a course load of 4.5 credits.
  • Optional courses may be selected from other universities around the globe to further enhance the range of educational opportunities to meet individual learning needs. Upon approval of the Director of the program and the Associate Vice Provost of The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Western, a maximum of 1.0 course credits may be obtained from other universities.
  • The program is intended to be completed on a part-time basis within a three - four year period.

PGY3 Enhanced Skills Program:  Academic Family Medicine 

The Enhanced Skills Progam in Academic Family Medicine is designed for residents in Family Medicine who have identified themselves with a strong interest in pursuing a career in Academic Family Medicine. The enhanced skills opportunity is available to a limited number of residents following the completion of their residency training program.