Graduate Certificate in Foundations of Health Sciences Education

As demand increases for experienced health care professionals with the skills to educate the next generation, we are proud to offer a new Graduate Certificate in Foundations of Health Sciences Education.

In this interdisciplinary program, learners will gain knowledge of current education theories, as well as the expertise to apply this knowledge in health sciences curriculum design, instruction, assessment and program evaluation. They will also be able to apply concepts of educational leadership and scholarship in their role as an educator in clinical and basic science settings. Expertise in this field can lead to leadership opportunities in clinical education, universities and education research.

The graduate certificate is offered in a blended format, combining in-person classes at McGill’s Institute of Health Sciences Education with structured online learning, lectures and individual and group activities. Upon completion, learners will have the foundational knowledge and skills to pursue a Master’s degree or PhD in health sciences education.

Who should apply?

This program is designed for practicing health professionals from medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and other health care disciplines, as well as health sciences educators. Senior health care learners, such as residents, are also welcome. The program provides learners with the freedom to balance professional and personal commitments with their continuing education.


Courses (15 credits)

The graduate certificate program is offered jointly by the Institute of Health Sciences Education (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) and the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology (Faculty of Education) at McGill University. It consists of five courses, worth three credits each.

The first course provides a review of contemporary educational and psychological theories relevant to teaching, learning, curriculum design and assessment. The four other courses cover foundational concepts that are essential for aspiring health sciences educators:

  • Curriculum and course design
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Educational leadership
  • Scholarship in health sciences education

All five courses in this program must be undertaken over the 11-month duration of the program. This enables students to apply and integrate content between courses.

Click on each of the headings below to view details of each course.

EDPE 657: Learning, Cognition and Motivation in Health Sciences Education

Course Overview

Introduction to foundational psychological and educational theories relevant to health sciences education that can account for learning and change and can inform the pedagogical design of courses, programs, and educational environments.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explore the value of epistemic belief in teaching and learning through reflection on personal beliefs.
  2. Describe fundamental contemporary theories related to Learning, Cognition, and Motivation
  3. Know and understand the related empirical literature in relevant discipline
  4. Compare & contrast theories, highlighting strengths and limitations for application to a specific educational context.
  5. Use appropriate theory/theories and empirical evidence to design learning activities or environments that foster intended development of cognitive, social and emotional skills.

Instructor:  Nikki Lobczowski, MEd, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education

EDPE 658: Introduction to Curriculum and Program Development in Health Sciences Education

Course Overview

Instructional design principles and their application to course and program development, highlighting a learner-centred approach to teaching, curriculum design, and program development (e.g., competency-based curriculum) and specific approaches to delivery in diverse HSE contexts in which teaching and learning occur (e.g., simulation, classroom, clinical settings).

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand principles of curriculum design, in general, and in health sciences education.
  2. Apply curriculum design principles that promote a learner-centered approach to teaching & learning & apply these principles in designing a curriculum for one’s educational/professional practice.
  3. Consider how different learning environments enable and facilitate the acquisition of different learning goals.

Instructor: Dianne Bateman, MEd, PhD, Director of Faculty Development for the Office of Interprofessional Education, Faculty Lecturer, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and Faculty of Education.

EDPE 659: Introduction to Assessment and Evaluation in Health Sciences Education

Course Overview

Assessment is a powerful mode through which evidence is gathered about learners’ performance to make decisions (low and high stakes). Increasingly, educational assessment is also used for accountability and to drive educational reform. This course introduces learners to introductory principles and issues related to assessment, and also specific to the workplace-based context. Learners will be introduced to concepts related to: creating and using assessments for decision-making; generating feedback for learners; and examining the quality of assessments. Importantly, this course aim to foster participants’ critical assessment literacy on the uses and interpretations of assessment in Health Sciences Education (HSE) contexts. A second key component of the course addresses program evaluation which refers to the systematic methods used to gather and analyze information to respond to key questions about the implementation and/or effectiveness of programs or policies. Learners will be introduced to the basic principles of program evaluation, several frameworks used to guide the its design, and the key steps in formulating an evaluation plan.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss the purposes of educational assessment and its relationship to learning.
  2. Identify how to define and measure a construct.
  3. Explain how to design an assessment for use in HSE.
  4. Develop a system of assessment that incorporates a variety of assessments methods used to make decisions about learners’ performance.
  5. Evaluate the quality of assessments using multiple types of evidence.
  6. Characterize the qualities of effective feedback.
  7. Describe the relationship between use of feedback and various aspects related to learners’ intrapersonal characteristics.
  8. Describe how to systematically evaluate a program using an evaluation framework.

Instructor: Maryam Wagner, BSc, BEd, MEd, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

HSED 601: Introduction to Leadership in Health Sciences Education

Course Overview

The course provides an overview of the major leadership issues encountered by emerging leaders to develop the competencies and needed skills to function as a Health Sciences Education (HSE) leader. Aimed at health professionals and health sciences educators who are taking on leadership roles in various contexts.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define and apply leadership concepts and theories.
  2. Describe organizational structures and systems relevant to HSE.
  3. Be aware of and use personal effectiveness principles, and apply them to leadership as a career.
  4. Apply concepts of interpersonal effectiveness and collaboration.
  5. Describe organizational change.
  6. Develop personal reflective skills as a leader

Instructor: Linda Snell, MD, MHPE, Professor, Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

HSED 602: Introduction to Scholarship in Health Sciences Education

Course Overview

Research and scholarship in Health Professions Education (HPE) is influenced by many different fields, disciplines, and research traditions. Given the context of educating, assessing, and understanding the foundations of health education delivery, this course will focus on a broad introduction to ideas of scholarship, research, and evidence-informed decision making as relevant to HPE. More specifically, this course will explore different types of scholarship in health professions education, including an introduction to methodological approaches relevant to conducting and consuming scholarship in HPE. Course aims to introduce students to concepts relevant for theoretically informed, evidence- and practice- based educational programs. Students will learn the essentials of commonly used research approaches and methods in HPE to advance, use, and critically consider works of scholarship in HPE. Students will also discuss the fundamentals of shaping a research question in HPE, and a brief introduction to knowledge dissemination and translation, for responsible application of knowledge to important problems in HPE. Course aims to provide a foundation in HPE scholarship.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define, describe, and distinguish between different approaches to research (e.g. paradigm, ontology, epistemology).
  2. Discuss the role of scholarship and research within HPE.
  3. Identify areas of potential scholarship within their setting.
  4. Describe differences between quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods HPE scholarship.
  5. Begin to engage in thoughtful critique of issues relevant to HPE and how a scholarly approach might be applied.
  6. Discuss the role of knowledge translation, implementation, and application into practice based on HPE scholarship and study design

Instructor: Meredith Young, PhD, Associate Professor, Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Program Details


  • Dianne Bateman, MEd, PhD, Director of Faculty Development for the Office of Interprofessional Education, Faculty Lecturer, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and Faculty of Education
  • Alenoush Saroyan, MEd, PhD, Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology
  • Linda Snell, MD, MPHE, Professor, Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Sciences Education
  • Maryam Wagner, MEd, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute of Health Sciences Education
  • Meredith Young, PhD, Associate Professor, Institute of Health Sciences Education

Program Length

Delivery will be over 11 months (August to June), in a structured, blended learning format to meet the needs and availability of learners, who are practicing health sciences professionals or health science educators.

There are two in-person, on-campus components, to be held in August (2 weeks), and February (1 week). The remainder of the program comprises part-time, online synchronous and asynchronous instruction that includes organized classes, meetings and group work as well as offline learning (e.g. reading, individual projects, etc.)

Admission Requirements

Background and CGPA

Applicants to the Graduate Certificate in Foundations of Health Sciences Education must:

  • have, at minimum, an undergraduate degree in health sciences, health professions or another related field
  • be a working health professional, a senior healthcare learner who is close to completing training to become a health professional, or a health science educator teaching in a health professions institution
  • have a minimum CGPA of 3.0 out of 4.0. Please be aware that a CGPA of 3.0 is a minimum requirement only and does not guarantee acceptance

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants may be required to attend an interview during the admission process.

International Students

CGPA Equivalency

If you are an international applicant and wish to find out whether you qualify under McGill University's CGPA Guidelines for Graduate Admissions, visit Educational Credentials and Grade Equivalencies.

Proficiency in English

Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English and who have not obtained (or are about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized institution in Canada or the US (anglophone or francophone), must submit documented proof of proficiency in oral and written English.

Appropriate exam results must be submitted prior to the application deadline and submitted directly from the language testing proficiency office to McGill. For more information on test requirements, submission of scores, and possible exemptions, visit the McGill Future Graduate Students English Language Proficiency page.

In each case, you must ensure that the official test results are sent directly to McGill (McGill Institution Code: 0935) by the testing service. Applications will not be considered if test results are not available.
Please note that TOEFL results are only valid for two years from the date the test was written.

Applicants whose mother tongue is not English may be asked to demonstrate an English-language proficiency beyond the submission of the language proficiency test scores.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are approximately $12,000 CAD for this program. These costs may fluctuate depending on annual adjustments to the fees and charges.

Travel and accommodation expenses associated with this program are not included.

Required Technology

You will need a personal computer with Internet access.


How to Apply

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Foundations in Health Sciences Education are submitted via Slate.

Within the online application, applicants will be asked to provide the following:

  • Transcripts detailing your complete university-level academic record to date (Quebec residents: CEGEP transcripts are not required)

  • A personal statement no longer than one (1) page in length outlining your reasons for applying, how you intend to use what you learn in the program and any additional information about yourself

  • A curriculum vitae using the provided template – Curriculum Vitae Form

  • Two valid institutional email addresses for two (2) references

All documents must be uploaded in PDF format. Visit application instructions for a full list of required documents and a step-by-step process.


Professional Benefits

Graduates of this program will:

  • gain knowledge of contemporary psychological and educational theories and the expertise to apply this knowledge in the design of curricula, instruction, assessment and program evaluation
  • learn the necessary foundations, skills and theories to pursue a Master’s degree or PhD in health sciences education
  • be able to apply for new opportunities as program directors, clinician-educators, clinical education managers, education unit leaders, curriculum designers, assessment designers and education innovators
  • be able to use their new skills in policy-making for education or health care
  • be able to apply their new knowledge in strategic learning development within the pharmaceutical, biotech or medical equipment industries


Contact Us

We would be delighted to answer any questions you may have. For more information, please contact:

Dr. Linda Snell
Program Co-Director
Institute of Health Sciences Education, McGill University
Lady Meredith House, Room 205
1110 Pine Avenue West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A3
E-mail: [at]

Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology
Faculty of Education, McGill University
3700 McTavish Street, Room 614
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y2
Tel: 514-398-4242
E-mail: [at]

Please note: McGill University reserves the right to make changes to the certificate, content and services as it deems necessary.


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