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Education Overview

A career in Obstetrics and Gynecology can be extremely rewarding. It is a field of medicine with great diversity ranging from pregnancy care, investigation and treatment of infertility, medical investigation of endocrine disorders, surgical management of pelvic diseases and cancer, diagnostic imaging in obstetrics and gynecology, prenatal diagnosis of genetic and other disorders of development, complex and complicated pregnancies and, not the least, the miracle of healthy birth.

The specialty’s mix of both medical investigative and surgical care is unlike most other specialities. It also offers unique opportunities and flexibility for a wide range of interests and skills. The opportunity to develop a career tailored to these interests is available to all.

There are also the special rewards derived from the close and continuing relationship often developed between the obstetrician/gynecologist and her or his patient.

At McMaster, we offer exceptional postgraduate education with a sustained tradition of excellence. Our strengths include our strong commitment to continued enhancement of our program through continued curriculum review, innovation and development, our robust research program, our excellence in surgical training and our relatively small program which allows for more continuity and flexibility in training. The program provides training in general Obstetrics & Gynecology, as well as the subspecialties of: Maternal Fetal Medicine including ultrasound and prenatal diagnosis, Gynecologic Oncology, Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility, Urogynecology, Sexual Medicine and Minimal Access Surgery.

For more information about the various training and elective opportunities with our Department, please check out our related pages! 

  • General Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Most graduates of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology will engage in the general practice of the specialty. This is a mix of pregnancy care, both high and low risk, and the care of pelvic and endocrine disorders affecting women of all ages. Some obstetricians practice in major academic centers and many in small to medium size communities. They treat a wide variety of menstrual disorders, infections, pelvic pathology (fibroids, ovarian cysts, menorrhagia, prolapse, urinary dysfunction, cervical cancer), pregnancies complicated with hypertension, bleeding growth disorders, multiple pregnancies, and women enjoying healthy, normal pregnancies.

  • Subspecialties

    Some graduates of residency programs may choose to undergo further training in subspecialty areas of obstetrics & gynecology. These areas may include caring for high-risk pregnancies, patients with gynecologic cancers, patients with fertility concerns, or pediatric patients. Recent graduates in our programs have chosen to complete fellowships in:

    • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (McMaster)
    • Gynecologic Oncology (University of Manitoba)
    • Maternal-Fetal Medicine (McMaster, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia)
    • Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (McMaster, University of Toronto, University of Calgary)
    • Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (McMaster, University of Calgary)
    • Family Planning (University of British Columbia)
  • Residency Training

    Residency training in Canada occurs within university postgraduate education programs under the guidance of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The training, as it is currently structured, takes five years after graduation from medical school. Details of our own residency program can be found on the McMaster Postgraduate Education website and general training requirements from the Royal College website. In our own program, the focus is on educational achievement, not service.  Therefore, we have an excellent reputation for supporting our residents in academic half days, protected research time and rights guaranteed by the PARO contract. This program has shown flexibility with residents taking leaves and with unique working requirements.

    The residency program offers graduated responsibility with advancing degrees of knowledge and skills during the course of training. Upon graduation, our residents are extremely competitive in applying for fellowships as well as for staff generalist positions. 

  • Practice

    Upon completion of training there are a wide range of practice opportunities in Ontario and in the rest of Canada.  

    In community practice, most obstetrician/gynecologists work in collaboration with colleagues in on-call groups providing coverage during absences, leaves, weekends and nights. Some specialists choose to work more directly together in closer partnerships sharing practices and negotiating with each other protected time for family involvement and other professional goals. Incomes are generally good in most provinces and more than sufficient to support a comfortable lifestyle. 

  • Specialty and Social Involvement

    One of the special characteristics of obstetrics and gynecology is the extent to which social issues and social involvement are both important and available. Obstetrical and gynecological problems often occur in a social context with complex issues of sexuality, violence, marital dysfunction, ethical, community and social issues. These are both challenging and interesting. Many obstetrician/gynecologists choose to become involved in community, in hospital committees, volunteer agencies and occasionally in local or even provincial politics. There are also opportunities to become involved more extensively in the profession through local medical societies and the national organization representing obstetricians and gynecologists, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. This Society has many committees requiring effort and involvement and provides continuing education and sets practice standards for obstetricians and gynecologists across the country. Participation can be very rewarding. Involvement with the national society also offers the opportunity to meet old friends from residency training, who work in other communities, provinces and countries. The obstetrical and gynecological community in Canada is relatively small and therefore it is relatively easy to maintain relationships over the years.

    Some have gone even further to become involved in international health. A number of our faculty and some our residents at McMaster are involved with important maternal and child heath projects in Haiti, Uganda and Yemen. Maternal mortality is a huge issue for those living in third world countries.


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