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Postgraduate Medical Education


Many learners consider transferring programs during their training. The PGME office is dedicated to facilitating and providing support to learners who wish to transfer programs. The transfer process is designed to facilitate both internal and external transfers. We strongly encourage learners who are considering a transfer to review the transfer policy as well as the process and timeline outlined on this website. 

We understand that the decision to transfer may be a stressful and complicated choice. Learners are encouraged to discuss the possibility of transferring with the following professionals prior to submitting an application: Program Director of the desired program, Postgraduate Manager (PGME), Associate Dean of Postgraduate Medicine, Director of Medical Affairs and/or the Program Director of the home program.

Learners in PGY1 or above are eligible to submit their application by January 31 each year (usually considered for a July 1 start). Learners in PGY2 or above who have missed the January 31 deadline are encouraged to contact the Manager of PGME to discuss the opportunity for internal transfer outside of this timeline.

Expandable List

  1. You may wish to discuss the possibility of transfer with the Program Director of the program to which you intend on transferring.
  2. Fill out and submit (all required documents) the transfer applicant form on the PGME website by January 31. The information you submit is confidential and the PGME office does not disclose your intent to transfer to your current program or Program Director.
  3. PGME will contact identified programs to determine if there is physical capacity to consider an additional learner. If there is capacity, your entire application will be submitted to the department for review. If they are interested in considering your application, they will invite you to an interview and may ask you for additional paper documentation. They will submit their recommendation to the PGME office after your file is considered. If there is no capacity, the PGME office will update you with this information. If you are considering an external transfer, you should indicate the schools (nationally) to which you would like to be considered at the time of your application. Your application will then proceed to the provincial/national competition for consideration.
  4. The PGME office will contact you after the second iteration of CaRMS to confirm you would like your application to proceed to the provincial/national competition.
  5. Each April, the Managers from Postgraduate Medical Education meet to discuss the possibility of external transfers on behalf of the applicants who have applied. Should a position be available externally, your application will be sent to the school and program to which you identified in your program. You will be contacted for an interview and may be asked to provide additional documentation. If successful, the PGME office will process your release from McMaster to your new school. This is required in order for a new offer of admission to be created by the new school.

The AFMC Resident Transfer Program website has all the information needed for both residents and universities involved in the transfer process. You will also find the AFMC National Transfer Guidelines on this website.

McMaster PGME will accept national transfer applications until March 31st.


  • PGME notifies all PGY1 Learners of the transfer process and upcoming deadline via email.


  • PGME determines physical capacity in programs with Program Directors.
  • January 31 application deadline.


  • PGME reviews applications and forwards application packages to programs.
  • Program reviews applications and proceeds with interview process for selected candidates.
  • PGME notifies applicants who were not selected for an interview.


  • Programs recommend applicants for transfer to PGME.
  • PGME reviews transfer recommendations and approves/declines (must be completed prior to the second iteration of CaRMS).
  • Learners are notified of outcomes.
  • National application deadline – March 3.


  • Early April – applicants must confirm with PGME if they wish to proceed to Provincial/National transfer process.
  • After the second iteration of CaRMS (usually mid to late April), external application packages are sent to Provincial and National schools who have identified capacity.
  • End of April – Provincial/National application distribution.


  • Successful internal applicants are sent their official transfer package.


  • Provincial/National transfer facilitation continues.
  • Successful Provincial/National transfer applicants are sent their official transfer package.


  • Successful transfer applicants start new program.



Review previous year’s transfer statistics for Internal, Provincial and National applications.

Should I discuss the possibility of transfer with my current Program Director?

This is entirely up to you. Many feel that their current Program Director is the best advocate for transfer opportunities while others choose not to have this conversation until they are certain a transfer is feasible. The PGEM office will not communicate your intent to transfer to your current Program Director.

Why are transfers difficult to facilitate?

The university must determine if there is both physical and financial capacity to facilitate a transfer. The funding allocated to the University (within the Transfer Payment Agreement from the Ministry) and therefore money is not transferable between schools to facilitate transfers. Therefore, the receiving school must have both the physical and financial capacity to accept you as a learner.