Master of Science Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences

Photograph of hand holding a lab dish

The Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences Program is a one-year (3 terms) course-based program.

This Program aims to augment discipline-specific science knowledge with an in-depth, advanced skillset that focuses on research literacy. Students will gain a critical understanding of how research is effectively designed, analyzed, interpreted and disseminated, particularly in the context of collaborative and translational research programs. They will be exposed to a breadth of relevant topics and issues that impact how medical science research is conducted. Examples include communicating to different audiences, the implications of research ethics, excellence in diversity and business challenges of clinical translation.

In addition to coursework, students will be immersed in experiential rotations, and participate in a continuous seminar series that allow them to connect theory and practice throughout the program. Existing interdisciplinary research area such as musculoskeletal health, cancer research, or neuroscience will provide a framework within the Program for students to learn and apply their breadth of knowledge in the rotations.

At the outset of the Program, students will identify a research area of interest, and in parallel to the interdisciplinary learning blocks, they will complete three experiential rotations that align with their chosen field—two laboratory rotations and a community-engaged rotation. For the third rotation, the student would be expected to identify an organization to engage with to learn about how that research field impacts or interacts with other stakeholders. This last rotation could include community support groups, lay or scientific communication streams (e.g. local newspaper or Western Gazette), commercialization organizations (e.g. patent law office, or World Discovery), Clinical Departments in London or Windsor or an industrial research lab.

Finally, students will be expected to implement and maintain an ePortfolio—this milestone element will run in parallel to the course content and experiential rotations.

Compared to many traditional programs, the MSc in IMS will emphasize development of essential transferable skills such as project and time management, self-awareness, critical thinking, evaluative judgment and decision-making.

The Master of IMS offers unique approaches to learning for skill development. These include:

  • Learning through case studies
  • Expert faculty participation
  • Experiential learning rotations
  • Team developed capstone project
  • Creation and maintenance of an eportfolio
  • Professional development opportunities

Students interested in learning more about the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences should visit the Program website.

How to apply

All interested students applying must, regardless of past degrees or present program meet MSc IMS Program approved admission criteria:

  • Possess a four-year undergraduate degree in one of health sciences, life sciences or medical sciences related fields from an accredited Canadian university or equivalent.
  • Have a minimum average of B+ (78% or higher) on the last 10 full courses equivalent course load (approximately the last 2 years of study).
  • Candidates will undergo a structured video interview. Apart from fulfilling the minimum grade requirements, we will look for well-rounded individuals with various interests within and beyond academia and of diverse educational and geographical background.

Once MD Applicants have received the aforementioned approvals (1-3), they must prepare application packages for consideration by the Admissions Committee for the MSc IMS Program. Applicants must apply online through the Western Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. A completed online application must be submitted, including all of the following information and documentation:

  • Current resume or CV with contact information, academic background, work and volunteer experience, and leadership (2-page template will be provided through the application portal)
  • Scanned copy of transcripts for any postsecondary institutions previously attended or currently attending
  • Scanned copy of all degrees obtained (undergraduate, MA, PhD, MD, etc.)
  • One page (single-spaced, 2.54 cm margins, Times New Roman, size 12) statement of interest addressing the following: "How do the values, mission, and goals of the Master of Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences align with your future aspirations?"
  • One page (single-spaced, 2.54 cm margins, Times New Roman, size 12) document answering the following: “Many of the problems encountered in basic medical science and clinical research fit the description of wicked problems—those that require the expertise of multiple disciplines working collaboratively to tackle the problem. Identify a current wicked problem in medical science research and why an interdisciplinary approach is needed.”
  • Application fee (visit the SGPS website to find current application fee information)

For more information, visit the Master of Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences website.

Approval Process

MD Program Competence Committee

  1. An application to the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education and Chair of the MD Program Competence Committee must initially be filed by the MD student to request a one-year academic Leave of Absence.
  2. The MD Program Competence Committee will review the application to reach a decision.
  3. The student application must include:
    1. Personal Letter of Intent to apply for enrollment in the MD Plus: MSc IMS
    2. Professional Curriculum Vitae
    3. Support from the student’s Faculty Academic Coach
  4. The MD Program Competency Committee will make a recommendation to the Vice Dean Undergraduate Medical Education for endorsement or denial of a one-year Academic Leave of Absence.


Vice Dean Undergraduate Medical Education (Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education)
All MD Program Academic Leaves must be approved by the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education.

  • The Chair of MD Program Competence Committee will notify the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education of the documents of intent from applicant and the decision of the Competence Committee.
  • The Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education will review all information.
  • The Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education will meet with the student to discuss the request.
  • The Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education will reach a decision to support or deny the requested Academic Leave.
  • A decision of support or denial will be communicated to the student in a single letter signed by the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education.
  • All documents will be filed with the MD Program student file and the letter communicating the decision for support will be forwarded to the IMS Program.

Schulich MSc IMS Program

Approval is necessary from each of the following:

  1. Approval for Academic Leave of Absence by the Vice Dean Undergraduate Medical Education (Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education) or replacement
  2. Approval by Western Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  3. Admissions Committee for MSc IMS Program


Application to the MSc IMS Program opens October 15 and must be completed and submitted by the end of December.
The process of application is outlined in this table to communicate firm timelines.



Fall Semester 1

Introductory session hosted for interested Year 1, 2, 3 MD students

Fall and Winter

Students may shadow present student in MSc IMS Program

March 1 Semester 2

MD Program Competence Committee accepting applications for Academic Leave to enrol in MD Plus: MSc IMS

October 15

Applications open for MSc IMS and Graduate Studies application

October - November 15

Applications from students to MD Program Competency Committee for Academic LOA

November 30

Final decisions to applicant students from MD Program Competence Committee to VD UME

December 31

Applications close for MSc IMS Program

February 15

Decisions of MSc IMS Admissions Committee communicated to MD applicants for enrollment in following academic year.

Financial Support

There is no financial support offered for this Program.


What will my degrees be at convocation?
You will graduate with two Western University degrees: MD and MSc IMS – like the MD/ PhD Program.

Can I audit a class or day with a present MSc IMS student to better understand the Program?
Yes, the MSc IMS Program will have its first cohort of students May 2021. Students who are interested are encouraged to undertake this to better understand the curriculum and learning processes.

What will my tuition be?
While in the MSc IMS Program, you will pay the standard MSc IMS tuition.

When I return, what will my status be?
Unless otherwise requested, you will re-enroll in MD Program studies in the September of the academic year immediately following the end-April completion date of the MSc IMS Program.

How do I handle my present bursaries or loans?
The Learner Experience Office and Western Student support services can assist with this issue.

Will I still have access to Learner Experience?
You will remain a student in good standing in the MD Program and will have full access to the support of the Learner Experience Office.

Can I do OCLO’s while in the MSc IMS Program?
No. You will be on a one year LOA like MD/PhD students.

If I am in the Windsor Campus, can I complete this degree from Windsor?
You will be required to participate as full time MSc IMS student in learning teams on site in London. Therefore, you must for the year relocate to London. When you return to the MD Program, you will return to the Windsor Campus.

Can I continue in MD Program student clubs and social processes?
Yes. This is encouraged to retain contact with your MD peers.