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Encyclopedia > Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, (RCPSC) is a national, private, nonprofit organization established in 1929 by a special Act of Parliament to oversee the medical education of specialists in Canada. Its mission is as an organization of medical specialists dedicated to ensuring the highest standards and quality of health care.

The RCPSC acts as the voice of specialty care in Canada. The College is not a licensing or disciplinary body but an association of doctors that is concerned with medical education and setting standards. 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, through review and continuing education programs, requires its 38,000 members 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 work of the College centres around its prime objective — to ensure the highest possible standards of specialist training and specialist care for the people of Canada. The Royal College:

  • Prescribes the requirements for specialty education in 60 areas of medical, surgical and laboratory medicine plus 2 special programs.
  • Accredits specialty residency programs
  • Assesses the acceptability of residents' education
  • Conducts certifying examinations (except in Quebec where it shares this responsibility with the Collège des médecins du Québec)
  • Assures a high standard of specialist care through its Maintenance of Certification Program
  • Promotes high standards of professional and ethical conduct among its members


A physician may be certified by the RCPSC without becoming a Fellow of the College. However, about 90% of certified physicians decide to become Fellows within 2 years of their certification. Each year, close to 1,500 Fellows from across the country serve the College as members of the standing, advisory and specialty committees, examination boards, and accreditation survey teams. Many more contribute as teachers in specialty residency programs accredited by the College, as contributors to the scientific and social portions of the annual meeting and other continuing education programs, or by involvement in peer review processes.

Medical residents

The resident membership category was established in 1997 to encourage affiliation with the College at an early stage in a resident's career. Those who choose to join the College receive complementary membership during the time they are registered in an RCPSC accredited residency program.

General membership

Currently, the College has over 38,000 members worldwide — comprising Fellows, residents, and Honorary, retired, and emeritus members. 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.

Participation with other medical organizations

The College maintains close working relations with the 16 Canadian university medical schools, numerous national professional associations, voluntary health organizations and governmental agencies where it has a respected and influential voice in discussions affecting medical education, medical research and the delivery of high-quality health care to Canadians.

See also:

External link

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (http://rcpsc.medical.org)

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Examples are St John's College at the University of Sydney and Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland.
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The term "college" in Singapore is generally only used for pre-university educational institutions called "Junior Colleges", which provide the final two years of secondary education (equivalent to sixth form in English terms or grades 11-12 in the American system).
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