Fundamentals programs

fundamentals program is based on a primary core curriculum of competencies common across a domain of medicine. The competencies acquired are the generic foundational abilities expected of all physicians within a group of recognized disciplines (i.e., lab medicine).

The program is a post-MD discipline, replacing the first one to three years of residency training. It is intended to prepare a physician for further advanced training, and is not considered an addition to the length of basic residency training.


  • Optional category for disciplines with a common core curriculum
  • Entry from CaRMS into PGY-1
  • Typically one-to-three years of training
  • Summative assessment by comprehensive examination
  • Supported by a specialty committee, with input from other (sub)specialties related to the foundational discipline


  • Prepares trainees for further advanced training, rather than practice
  • Results in an attestation from the Royal College, not certification

Note: The fundamentals programs do not represent a return to a rotating internship, the adoption of a common PGY-1 year, or other variations of a core training period.

The fundamentals programs

  • Facilitate the implementation of a competency-based approach in the Canadian postgraduate medical education system that emphasizes the logical progression from foundational to more advanced competencies
  • Ensure core training is transferable among the specialties within the area, increasing flexibility in the training system (including possibilities for transfer and/or re-entry)
  • Delay the timing of career decision-making, allowing for more exposure to disciplines prior to final career decisions
  • Provide a mechanism for formal, standardized assessment at the end of the fundamentals program to ensure trainees are competent to move to the next stage of training

All applications for fundamentals programs will be reviewed by the Royal College Committee on Specialties.

Ask us about fundamentals programs