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.

 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 Foundations of Family Medicine and Canada's Primary Health Care 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 Program 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.