MD in 5 instead of 4 years

I recently read in one of these threads about schools that offer the possibility, to students needing it, of completing their MD program in 5 years instead of 4. If I remember correctly, the thread also mentionned that certain schools will even insist on certain students plan on 5 years instead of 4, right from the start.

I have recently applied to 3 shcools, two of which only offer a 4 year program. The 3rd one however (University of Laval, Quebec City) offers a choice of 4 or 5 years. Their applicants come from two major streams.

(1) 55% are junior college graduates (called Cegeps up here)

(2) 45% are university graduates

The university claims that a good portion (=?) of the juniors opt for the 5 year program instead of 4, while the university grads are better prepared for the 4 year program.

In essence, the medical basic science curriculum is done in 3 instead of 2 years; the subsequent clinical rotations are then done in the usual 2 years.

As it turns out, I’m a hybrid of sorts: a 51 year old university grad, with all the typical pre-reqs, and a couple of additional science courses (molecular bio, histology, physiology I). I have no genetics, immunology, cell bio, or biochemistry.

While waiting for responses to my applications, I am pondering what I would do, if given the choice.

What are your thoughts?

Who had ‘lots of science’ prior to starting med school, but still would have opted for 5 years instead of four?

Who had minimum prereqs only, and did in 4, or 5 years?

I’m looking for ideas on how to work through this question.

I should mention also: The option of choosing the 4 or 5 year pgm is offered AFTER completion of the first semester.


I think it will probably depend on how things go thar first semester for you. I have three classmates who chooose the five year option. All three of them are older, one has a science background, two do not. The one had medical issues. The other two, although doing well academically, decided that staying on track was requiring them to sacrifice too much time with their families.

It’s up to you but one of the major things I would consider is the Step 1. My friend took the 5 year option to have time with the family. In his 3rd year his newborn had major complications and was touch & go for a while. My friend failed an exam a few times because of not being able to concentrate. He repeated that year so his 5 year program turned into 6.

Come USMLE time he basically was taking his step 1 after 4 years. He did not do well and had to retake.

So my point is life happens. I’m not 100% sure what I would do myself. I think I would enjoy a more relaxed approach but then I’m also a glutton for punishment and just want to go thru hell as quickly as possible.

Basically just look at the pros and minuses and then make your decision.