Black Learners Admissions Pathway

Promoting Leadership in Health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS)

The Medical School at Dalhousie will soon be accepting more African Nova Scotian and Black students into our undergraduate medical education degree program. A new Black Learners Admissions Pathway was recently approved for the 2023/2024 application cycle and will help facilitate entrance into the program for Black students by assessing applications using a holistic file review. This new admissions pathway will diversify the healthcare workforce by adjusting the admissions process to be more equitable for Black learners.

A new Black Learners Admissions Subcommittee (BLAS), comprised of Black community and academic representation has been established to oversee this new admissions pathway. 

Applicants with a substantial connection to a historic African Nova Scotian community, or other Black maritime community in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will be prioritized under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway. Black applicants from across the Maritimes and Canada who report substantial connection to their Black heritage will also be considered under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway. All applicants must meet published residency requirements to be assigned to Maritime or other Canadian seats.

Learners admitted under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway must meet with the Academic Director, Black Health and/or manager of PLANS for a minimum of twice annually.

Self-Identification

To be considered under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway, learners must self-identify as Black in Section 1 of the online application. Currently Dalhousie University’s registrar’s office has the following racial categories:

  1. Black/African Nova Scotian
  2. Black/African Canadian
  3. Black/African

Section 2 of the online application is specific to the Medical School. Applicants will be required to provide responses to the following self-identification questions:

1. Do you self-identify as Black?

2. If yes, please choose one you identify most with:

  • African Nova Scotian*
  • Black Maritimer (New Brunswick)
  • Black Maritimer (Prince Edward Island)
  • Black Nova Scotian (without ties to a historic African Nova Scotian community)
  • Black Canadian
  • Black/Indigenous

3. In a 250-500 word statement, how has your identification with, and connection to your Black ancestry and community impacted your educational path and goals?        

Feel free to share your experiences, positive or negative, in getting to where they are today. This will assist in determining your suitability under this stream.  

This information will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and clarification may be sought by members of the Black Learners Admissions Subcommittee. Applications deemed ineligible in the Black Learners Admissions Pathway will be redirected to the general admissions pool.

* “African Nova Scotians are a distinct People who descend from free and enslaved Black Planters, Black Loyalists, Black Refugees, Maroons and other Black people who inhabited the original 52 land-based Black communities in that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia.” (African Nova Scotian Strategy)

Personal statement probing questions borrowed with permission from McGill University’s Black Candidate Pathway

Requirements

Applicants who are considered under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway must complete and submit each requirement that is listed here.

Completed applications will be reviewed holistically by the Black Learners Admissions Subcommittee, where no single component of an application from a Black Maritime applicant will be considered grounds for ineligibility.

Applicants must demonstrate an ability to meet the academic rigor of medical school. Applicants are encouraged to explain any areas of concern in their application.

Incomplete or late applications will be considered ineligible for admission.

FAQs

I wrote the MCAT, but my score doesn’t meet the minimum requirements listed on the general admissions website. Should I bother applying?

Applications that are considered under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway will undergo a holistic review. Applicants must demonstrate an ability to meet the academic rigor of medical school, but there is no minimum score required for any component of an application from a Black Maritime applicant.This includes the MCAT and GPA. Applicants are encouraged to explain any areas of weakness or concern in their personal statement.

Which pathway should I apply to if I am Black-Indigenous?

You are encouraged to submit an application to be considered under each pathway. Each pathway is independent and processes may differ between pathways. Applicants are encouraged to review requirements (including self-identification criteria) for each of the Indigenous Admissions Pathway and the Black Learners Admissions Pathway. In Section 2 of the online application you will be able to self-identify with all applicable identities. Applications that are deemed ineligible for consideration under either pathway will be re-directed to the Admissions Committee for consideration among the general admissions pool. This decision is final.

This is a big change from previous years. Is there someone I can talk to about how this might apply to me?

Please contact the Program Manager for PLANS, Timi Idris at Timi.Idris@dal.ca.