Medical Oncology Resident Training Program

The Medical Oncology Program is a two-year Royal College accredited subspecialty program at BC Cancer and is affiliated with the University of British Columbia.

Open House (Virtually): July 24, 2024
RSVP (for CaRMS applicants, PGY-2/3)

** CaRMS – UBC September 3, 2024 – interviews to be done virtually via MS Teams

 The Medical Oncology training programs across Canada understand that the COVID pandemic has created scheduling issues for residents trying to complete electives and oncology rotations.  We understand and sympathize with your situation.  All the programs have agreed that all applications to Medical Oncology will be considered without a rotation in oncology or reference letter from oncology.  Letters and research from other disciplines will be considered for the application.  For the selected candidates, interviews will be conducted remotely by the various institutions in the fall.** 

Program Overview

Medical Oncology is an exciting career choice. In the past decade this subspecialty has rapidly expanded in scope, reflecting major advancements in clinical and basic science research. This translates into an increasing demand for medical oncologists across Canada and opens the door for diverse professional opportunities in the academic realms of clinical and translational research, medical education, administration and public health policy.

In addition to training residents as clinicians, our program provides them with a solid grounding in the principles of the basic and clinical science of oncology and the ability to tailor the program to their career aspirations.


Three years core training in Internal Medicine (PGY1-3).

Program outline

Two-Year Program consisting of 26 (four-week) Blocks:

  • 13 Blocks – General medical oncology in a structured “team-based” approach to provide exposure to common and rare solid tumours
  • 3 Blocks – Lymphoproliferative disorders
  • 3 Blocks – Palliative Care, Rad Oncology, Surg Oncology
  • 1Block – Gynecologic Oncology including Hereditary Cancer Program
  • 6 Blocks – Electives

Please note Medical Oncology Clinical and Posgraduate Fellowship training is separate from the subspecialty medical oncology residency (PGY-4/PGY-5) program. Fellows will have already completed a medical oncology residency. Inquiries directed to the program administrator and program director of medical oncology will be forwarded to potential fellowship supervisors in the faculty.

Program objectives

In Year 1 (PGY-4) the trainee will:

  • Be expected to learn the fundamental principles of the basic and clinical science of oncology including etiology, molecular biology, diagnosis, staging, natural history, treatment goals, evaluation of response and practical aspects of systemic therapy.
  • Be expected to interpret laboratory and imaging studies and demonstrate an ability to manage common neoplasms and complications.
  • Develop experience in routine procedures including marrow biopsy, lumbar puncture with intrathecal therapy, thoracentesis, paracentesis and the use of needle aspiration. Develop experience with common examination techniques during the radiation and gynecology rotations, particularly ENT and pelvic exams.
  • Critically appraise and interpret medical oncology literature.
  • Identify a clinical research project.
  • Learn practical aspects of radiation oncology as it relates to medical oncology, including modality interaction.
  • Be able to outline the roles of curative, adjuvant and palliative radiotherapy and radiotherapy planning.

In Year 2 (PGY-5) the trainee will:

  • Develop a more in-depth understanding of the basic and clinical science underlying medical oncology and the principles involved in the management and treatment of malignant diseases.
  • Develop consultative skills and long-range management planning.
  • Understand the role of hospital and community-based palliative care programs.
  • Take a peer leadership role in the training program with supervision of junior trainees.
  • Learn the basics of stem cell transplantation, hematologic supportive care and infectious complications.
  • Apply basic principles of clinical research, literature interpretation and complete and submit a research project for presentation and publication.
  • Structure electives to focus on career path (community or academic). Residents who are interested in an academic career can use this time to set the groundwork for a fellowship program in basic, translational or clinical oncology.


Residents are expected to undertake at least one clinical research project.

Our resources include several large clinical databases linked to outcomes, close affiliation with molecular pathologists and broad participation in clinical trials.

The residency training committee will help residents identify appropriate topics so that projects can be started early in the program, allowing sufficient opportunity for presentations and publications.

For further information, please contact the program administrator at

Academic activities

Academic Half-Day Every Friday 1300-1600

There is a protected longitudinal academic program throughout the week. Residents are excused from clinical duties to attend teaching sessions. 

Tuesday Noon Rounds 1215-1315

Medical oncology residents are responsible for presenting rounds at least four times a year, including morbidity and mortality rounds. Rounds should be about 45 minutes in length leaving plenty of time for discussion.

Friday Journal Club 0800-0900

The focus is on methodology and statistics. Residents and faculty take turns leading the discussion.The series runs weekly from September to June.

Summer Seminar Series

This weekly series covers important practical and academic topics as well as topics from the CanMEDs roles framework. These sessions run from July to August.

Seminar Series

This is a series of lectures given by the staff with the main focus is on clinical aspects of medical oncology.

Thursday Basic Science of Oncology 0830

This series uses the editions of the Basic Science of Oncology by Tannock, Hill, Bristow & Harrington as a platform to understand the fundamental principles and the molecular biology underpinning the clinical practice of oncology. This knowledge promotes translational research collaborations during residency, fellowship and ongoing career paths.

Team Specific Rounds

In addition to the above there is also a structured schedule of rotation specific teaching rounds once or twice a week.

Application Package

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are currently being accepted:

Resident applications for the July academic year will be administered by CaRMS. Please visit the CaRMS website for further information. 

Supporting documentation:

  • Completed CaRMs application
  • Personal statement letter outlining reasons for choosing Medical Oncology and for applying to our program
  • Curriculum vitae
  • University transcripts
  • Photocopy of your medical degree
  • Photocopy of MCCQE I and II (wallet-sized cards & diploma certificate ok)
  • Three references letters – please include your most recent program director
  • Photograph (used as a memory aid)