The Faculty of Medicine’s Vancouver Summer Program (VSP) is a four-week academic program, offering international students a unique opportunity to experience Canadian health and life sciences at its best.

What you might expect/course format

The program consists of a package of two courses, each course comprising approximately 39 hours of class time. Students will learn from experienced faculty, clinicians, investigators and scientists. Classes are highly interactive and may include group discussions, guest lecturers, workshops, research projects, laboratory experiments such as a brain anatomy lab, and field trips.

As the Faculty of Medicine takes a distributed approach to education, some students can expect to travel to different hospitals or clinical sites for classes or experiential learning, such as an ultrasound biopsy simulation workshop. Students may be responsible for the cost of public transit when attending classes off-UBC campus and participating in field trips.

Check out the VSP Medicine experience here!

Eligibility: Medicine Packages are for international students studying medicine or related sciences (typically in their first 2-3 years of undergraduate studies). Students must be at least 19 years of age on the starting date of the program (June 2, 2023).

By Order of the Provincial Health Officer in British Columbia, all students accessing care locations and community care settings must follow the COVID-19 preventative measures order. Per the Provincial Health Order, students will need to provide proof of fully vaccinated status (which means 7 days have passed after your second dose of vaccine) prior to the package start date. Once you receive your letter of acceptance, UBC Faculty of Medicine will reach out to you.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine in the Hospital Setting

In this popular offering, VSP Medicine students will visit a large hospital and see the active life of physicians in several specialties as they diagnose and treat patients. Explore a unique hands-on experience and visit the Emergency Room, Laboratories and other areas. Learn how to resuscitate patients in cases of emergency, and use quality simulators to do intubation, defibrillation, managing airways and intravenous lines. Learn how to take history and conduct a physical exam – and work with physician-educators to acquire skills that focus on cardiac, respiratory and neurological systems. Discuss hospital cases in a wide spectrum of diseases, present patient cases of acutely ill and injured patients such as those with a myocardial infarct or in car accidents, as well as chronically ill patients such as those with rheumatoid arthritis. In small group learning style discuss common emergency complaints such as fever, abdominal pain and rash to learn foundation of medicine.

Introduction to Scientific Research in the Hospital Setting

Review the scientific basis for research in biology, pharmacology and disciplines of medicine and explore methods to learn advanced clinical (hospital and clinic based) study designs. Learn from senior doctors, investigators and scientists how to discover better treatments for severely ill patients and acute emergencies, discuss ethical conduct of studies in children and neonates, how to recruit patients and what can be done to improve patient care through scientific studies. The course provides students with solid foundation to appraise primary literature in clinical disciplines including medicine.

This course offers you exposure to senior and experienced doctors who do such research in a large hospital. Learn to read English medical literature and have an opportunity to discuss research opportunities in cases of emergency, chronic diseases and cancer. With other students and a doctor-mentor in a small group you will develop a research proposal that can be implemented in the future.

No prerequisites.

*This course package is canceled for June 2023. Students who have applied for this package are encouraged to consider switching to other VSP course packages in June or July.

Introduction to Rehabilitation and Living with Physical Disabilities in the Community

The World Health Organization has identified a critical need for comprehensive health and social programs to address the “global burden” of chronic illness & disability. This course explores long-term conditions and their effect on participation in everyday life. Learn from Canadian occupational therapy researchers, clinicians, students and clients living with disabilities. Sessions take place in the community, class room and clinical settings. This interactive, case-based curriculum includes topics related to health, illness & disability, the social determinants of health, and populations living with mobility impairments. Sessions include practical training in wheel chair skills, accessibility and universal design.

Introduction to Community Rehabilitation for Mental Health and Invisible Disabilities

Building on Course 1, students are introduced to rehabilitation assessments and interventions for managing invisible, long-term conditions in the community. This includes supporting the recovery of adults with mental health issues & addictions, assessing & managing pain, and hi-tech and lo-tech strategies for living with visual impairment. Class room sessions use cases, social media and workshop format to tap creativity and apply the principles presented. Community based sessions enable students to integrate their learning by assessing real-life Canadian situations. The instructional team includes researchers, occupational therapists and clients living with life long conditions.

For VSP Medicine-specific questions, please email the Faculty of Medicine, International Coordinator at

Student testimonials

“If you want to have a good experience, study and visit a beautiful place, you should definitely participate in the VSP!”  

– Luis Felipe Sanz, VSP Medicine Student, 2019

Meet Luis and learn about his VSP experience here