The authors conducted the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Course for 90 students who were in their 4th year of medicine at the University of Manitoba. The impact of the course was evaluated through questionnaires completed by students, instructors and emergency-room physicians. The students' performances were also compared with those of 96 practising physicians who took the ATLS course in Manitoba. The failure rate for students (3.3%) was not statistically different from that for practising physicians (4.2%). Overall, the students' performances in the written test were better (55% of students scored over 90% on the test compared with 15% of practising physicians). The student-to-faculty ratio was 1.5:1 and included 21 physician-instructors. Ninety-five percent of the faculty and students suggested that this course should be mandatory in the 4th year curriculum of medicine and that the course improves trauma care provided by the students and interns by increasing their confidence and improving communication with specialist surgeons. However, 10% of the faculty suggested that more time should be allocated to the surgical-skills practicum. The authors' experience with this program suggests that the ATLS course should be uniformly incorporated in the Canadian undergraduate 4th year medical curriculum and that techniques used in this course should be considered in other areas of the undergraduate medical curriculum.