Academic Certification

Information from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Canada, including how to apply for academic certification.


Why Academic Certification?

The Royal College Academic Certification program is intended to assist Canadian faculties of medicine and universities in the recruitment and retention of international specialists as full-time clinical faculty at the rank of full or associate professor, when recruitment of qualified Royal College certificants has been unsuccessful. The program is particularly aimed at facilitating the recruitment of clinician scientists, clinician administrators and clinical educators. This program, first introduced in 1967, has been amended from time to time to take into account changes in the Canadian academic scene. Academic Certification is granted in specialties and subspecialties recognized by the Royal College, and confers eligibility for the Royal College examinations in the specialty/subspecialty concerned.

Functions of Royal College

The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) is a national organization responsible for setting standards for specialties in Canada. It ensures that the training and evaluation of medical and surgical specialists in 60 specialties and two special programs attain the highest standards. The College requires Fellows worldwide to maintain their competence throughout their careers; it acts and speaks out in support of the most appropriate context for the practice of specialty care and the best patient care. The College is not a licensing or disciplinary body; its mission is educational and dedicated to setting standards.


A physician may be certified by the RCPSC without becoming a member, i.e., a Fellow of the College. However, about 90% of certified physicians decide to become Fellows within 2 years of their certification. Fellows use the designation FRCPC (Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada) or FRCSC (Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of Canada) depending on their qualifications. Certificants may apply for membership in the College as Fellows and qualify to use the FRCPC or FRCSC designation. Currently, the College has over 38,000 members worldwide — comprising Fellows, residents, and Honorary, retired, and emeritus members.

Relations with other Medical Organizations

As part of its mandate, the RCPSC cooperates with the 16 Canadian medical schools and many other national health-care organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Collège des médecins du Québec, the Medical Council of Canada, the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation, the Federation of Medical Licensing Authorities of Canada, and more than 50 national specialty societies 

How to Apply for Academic Certification 

Please review the College’s Royal College Policy on Academic Certification for their eligibility criteria & processing details. Complete the application form (RCPSC -Academic Certification Application 2019 fillable <please dowload the file first to open it> or RCSPC -Academic Certification Application 2019 printable) & supply the additional documentation below: 

Supporting Documentation 

  • This form is sent by the Royal College to the Dean’s Office each year as it is updated. The form must be signed by both the Applicant and the Dean.
  • All requests for Academic Certification MUST come from the Dean (ie, the  “sponsor”).
  • There are additional items to accompany the Application Form, as follows:
2. Letter of Support from the Department Head: 
  • Written by the Department and sent in “draft” form to the Dean’s Office for review with the Application package.  Once approved, the Department Head’s signature can be obtained. The letter will be included with the rest of the Application package.
  • Provides a specific summary of the Applicant, discussing:
    • her/ his accomplishments, area of research focus/ clinical specialty, number of years/ type of experience in academic work experience (i.e., university), any clinical experience, etc.;
    • expands on the information captured in the College’s Application form, providing greater details and a “tie together” of the details throughout in the accompanying documentation;
    • provide specific details about his/ her benefit to the Department/ Faculty/ University in terms of their Teaching, Research and Service skills;
    • please include his/ her full time faculty rank at UBC.
  • Addressed from the Head of Department to the College (not the Dean).
3. Letter of Support from the Dean
  • Written by the Department and sent in “draft” form (as a Word document) to the Dean’s Office for review, editing (as required), with the Application package.  Once approved, the Dean’s signature will be obtained. The letter will be included with the rest of the Application package.
  • Provides a general summary of the Applicant, discussing:
    • a summary of his/ her medical school training history, training, academic work experience, degrees/ licenses.  Please include the number of years spent at university institutions in academic ranks
    • provides general details about his/ her benefit to the Department/ Faculty/ University (vs. the Head’s letter which can list more specific details)
    • please include his/ her academic rank at UBC
  • Addressed from the Dean to the College. 
4. Curriculum Vitae
  • Ensure it is recently updated (i.e., is current) and signed and dated by the Applicant
  • Includes relevant work experience to demonstrate that the Applicant has at least 5 years of experience in a full time academic position (e.g., Associate Professor or Professor at a university).
  • Includes the faculty member’s publication records
5. Copy of the Letter of Offer
  • Include a copy of offer letter of employment from UBC, signed by the Dean and by the Candidate.
6. Fee (non-refundable)
  • The Application fee (currently $5,045.00 as of February 2019) is payable to the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons.  A certified cheque should be provided with the package sent to the Dean’s office.
7. Additional documents to verify degrees, licensure, registration, etc.
  • Photocopies of documents will suffice. Please do not send originals.
  • For documents that are in English or French, notarized copies are not required. For documents in other languages, notarization is required.
  • See Processing Information notes below for more information.

Processing Information

  1. The Royal College’s Education Committee meets twice yearly.  Meetings are usually held in April & October (subject to change), and the College will set Application deadlines usually approximately 1-2 months prior to the Committee meeting.  This gives the College time to review all applications from all medical schools across Canada.
  2. The person applying for Academic Certification or his/ her designate (eg., Departmental contact) completes the Application Form and assembles the required documentation package, including all additional items (above).
  3. The assembled Application package is then forwarded in hard copy to the Dean’s Office, Faculty Appointments and recruitment Management team for review. **Please keep a copy for your records.
  4. The Application package is reviewed for accuracy and any changes required will be communicated to the Department.
  5. Once fully approved, the Dean will be requested to sign the Application Forms/ his letter of support.  The Dean’s Office will then PDF the entire Application package and provide an electronic copy for your Department’s records. (Please request this if you do not receive a copy.)  We will also (usually) include the College on this email as an “fyi” that a hard copy is sent via courier.  Details about this are tracked in a spreadsheet held by the Dean’s Office.
  6. The completed Application package (hard copy) will be couriered directly to the Royal College for review where their Office of Education will review the Application for completeness.
  7. After the Royal College’s review, they will communicate their decision (approval or rejection) in writing to the Dean and copy the applicant with the outcome.  If approved, the Royal College will send also inform the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  8. The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons will send the Applicant another  Application form to complete and send back to the BC College.  Once completed, the B.C. College will arrange an appointment with the applicant.

Important Notes

  1. Incomplete forms or information provided to the Dean’s Office will unfortunately delay processing time. Please ensure all paperwork submitted to the Dean’s Office for submission to the Royal College is as complete and accurate as possible.
  2. All required documentation included with the Application must be submitted in English or French.   Documentation submitted in other languages must be translated into English and notarized as per the guidelines by the College (eg., transcripts, notices of license etc.).
  3. Signature lines for the Department Head & Dean to include:
    Department Head's letter to the College:
  4. [Department head’s name], [degree], [Royal College designation/ certification]
    [Academic Rank at UBC], [Department]
    Dean's letter to the College:
    Dermot Kelleher, MD, FRCP, FRCPI, FMedSci
    Professor, Department of Medicine
    Dean, Faculty of Medicine

    Vice President, Health
    University of British Columbia 
  5. Please contact the Faculty Appointments and Recruitment Management team in the Dean’s office for general questions about the process. After submission, questions about the status of each specific application can be directed to the Royal College.

Contact Information

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
774 Echo Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5N8
Phone: Toll–free (800) 668-3740
Fax: (613) 730-3707

Office of Education
Credentials Unit: Alternative Assessment
Phone: (613) 260-4171 ext 7740
Fax: (613) 730-3707