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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, Assistant Dean of Medical Affairs and/or the Program Director of the home program.

  • Learners who are considering an internal transfer at McMaster are asked to submit their application by January 31 (for a potential July 1 start).
  • Learners in PGY2 or greater who are considering an internal transfer may submit an application by October 15 (for a potential January 1 start).
  • McMaster learners who are considering a transfer at another Canadian university/program, must submit their application to McMaster PGME by March 31 each year (for a potential July 1 start). 
  • In addition, PARO provides a transfer guide for your reference – My PARO Transfer Guide

Please note, a July 1 transfer start date may not be feasible as a result of the 2023 CaRMS R1 match timeline (first and second iteration match dates are later than usual due to COVID-19).

Expandable List

  1. Discuss the possibility of transfer with the Program Director of the program to which you intend on transferring.
  2. Fill out the transfer application form and submit all required documents on the PGME website by the deadline:
    1. January 31 each year – internal transfers.
    2. October 15 each year – internal transfers PGY2 or greater.
    3. March 31 each year – national transfers.
  3. You will be required to rank order your internal program preference. PGME will contact the first program identified in your rank order list to determine if there is physical capacity to consider an additional learner. If no physical capacity exists, the next program on your list will be contacted.
  4. After reviewing your application package, the program may invite you to an interview and may ask you for additional documentation.
  5. The program will submit their decision/recommendation to PGME in rank-order, if more than one applicant has applied. PGME must ensure sufficient funding is available to support the total number of years required for training for each recommended learner. Therefore, there may be capacity in the program to admit learners, but financial capacity may not exist to support each recommended transfer. PGME will communicate directly with applicants regardless of the outcome.
  6. If your internal application is not successful, you may wish to be considered for an external transfer at another Canadian university/program. The PGME office will contact you after the second iteration of CaRMS to confirm you would like your application to proceed to the national competition.
  7. Normally, National PGME Managers meet after the second iteration of CaRMS to discuss the possibility of external transfers on behalf of the applicants. Should a position be available externally, your application will be sent to the universities and programs that you identified in your application. The program to which you have applied to may contact you for an interview and/or ask you to provide additional documentation. If your application/interview is successful and funding is available at the incoming university, the PGME office will notify you directly and facilitate your official release from McMaster.

Note: The information you submit is confidential and the PGME office does not disclose your intent to transfer to your current program or Program Director.

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 31 every year.


  • 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 internal transfer (within McMaster) application deadline.


  • PGME reviews applications and forwards application packages to programs.
  • Programs review applications and proceed 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.
  • March 31 national transfer (within Canada) application deadline.


  • Early April – applicants must confirm with PGME if they wish to proceed to national transfer process.
  • After the second iteration of CaRMS, external application packages are sent to national universities who have identified capacity.
  • End of May – national application distribution.


  • Successful internal applicants are sent their official transfer package.


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


  • Successful transfer applicants start new program.


  • PGME notifies all PGY2-4 learners of the internal transfer process and October 15 via email.


  • October 15 PGY2-4 internal transfer application deadline.


  • PGY2-4 internal transfer applicants will be notified by the end of November if a transfer is feasible for a January 1 start.

Review previous year’s transfer statistics for Internal 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 PGME 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.