Clinician Scholar


The Department of Family Medicine offers an accredited Clinician Scholar Program (CSP) as a funded PGY3 option for residents. This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your skills as a scholar in the areas of Primary Health Care Research or Educational Research. 

Goals and Objectives

CanMEDS defines a scholar as a family physician who demonstrates “a lifelong commitment to reflective learning, as well as the creation, dissemination, application and translation of knowledge.” The Clinician Scholar Program supports this definition by:

  • Assisting in the career development of family physician clinician scholars; and,
  • Increasing research capacity in primary health care.

At the end of the program, you will have acquired the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to succeed as an early career, independent clinician investigator.

Residents will establish their own educational objectives for the research component; however, they must demonstrate competencies in the following areas:

Knowledge:  Develop a working knowledge and understanding of research methodology through formal course work or other educational activities (e.g. seminars and workshops), including:

  • General principles such as basic experimental design, clinical trial design, critical appraisal of the literature, biostatistics, and medical and research ethics; and,
  • Knowledge relevant to the specific research area, as well as general knowledge relating to the clinical and research aspects of the chosen field of study.


  • Competence in the techniques specific to the research project; in clinical health related fields, experimental design or data analysis and population studies;
  • Ability to design, plan and carry out an experiment and to analyze and interpret the results;
  • Ability to present information in a formal setting (i.e. attendance at a national or international scientific meeting) and to defend the presentation;
  • Ability to write an abstract/paper suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal; and,
  • Ability to write a grant proposal for research funding.


  • Commitment to the need to re-examine accepted beliefs through a spirit of inquiry;
  • Commitment to the importance of absolute objectivity and honesty in conducting and reporting research;
  • In-depth knowledge of the ethical issues relevant to conducting research in human subjects;
  • Ability to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary research team; and,
  • Understanding of the need for continuing self-education.

These objectives form an important part of the interim progress assessment. They also serve to verify that you have completed the program’s research component.

Program Structure

This innovative and results-based program gives research trainees the opportunity to integrate research and clinical care. The two training streams are:

  • Clinician Scholar Program (one year)

The Clinician Scholar Program in Primary Health Care Research or Medical Educational Research is an intensive one year program. Once completed, you will obtain the designation of Clinician Scholar from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. This is a non-degree option, which involves 70% research and 30% clinical.

  • Graduate Program (two years)

The two year Graduate Program CSP option leads to a Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Community Medicine or a Master’s degree in Education. You will also obtain the designation of Clinician Scholar from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Other degree options related to the DFM's research interests or focus on primary health and family medicine may also be considered on an individual basis. We also consider candidates who wish to pursue PhD level training.

The CSP’s program design follows the accreditation guidelines of the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Clinician Scholar Program.


Your time in the program will be evaluated using standardized forms from the Department of Family Medicine. If you are a mid-career physician, we will not evaluate the clinical component of your work.

Financial Aid

We offer the PGY3 stipend equivalent to all PGY3 residents who are entering the program directly from PGY2. Re-entry candidates can apply to receive similar payment via the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Please note that this funding is granted for up to 12 months of residency training only. Applicants interested in completing the Graduate Program would need to seek funding from other sources for the second year of training.

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