Information regarding entrance requirements was accurate at the time of publication. Any changes or updates will be found here, at www.mcgill.ca/applying. The University reserves the right to make changes to admissions policies without prior notice.
McGill University accepts students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, including Quebec CEGEPs, high schools in other Canadian provinces, the U.S. and internationally, as well as applicants from other universities and colleges.
McGill’s Competitive Admission Process
Your entrance requirements are determined by your educational background and the category of admission requested. Detailed information on additional requirements for specific programs, including Architecture, Education, Music, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Religious Studies (B.Th.), and Social Work is provided in this guide.
Admission decisions are based on your academic record, as well as performance in prerequisite courses, depending on the program. All required marks are taken into consideration in determining admission, including those for failed or repeated courses.
To form a basis for admission to a science-based program, science and mathematics courses normally must have been completed within the last five years. In addition, some programs take other information into consideration in making admission decisions (for example, the audition for Music or the portfolio for Architecture).
Generally speaking, extracurricular activities are not significant in the admission decision, although they are an important factor in awarding certain entrance scholarships.
Admission to McGill University is competitive and students who present the minimum requirements are not guaranteed acceptance. Admission is always subject to the availability of places in a particular program.
Conditional admission decisions can be made based on unofficial interim academic results available at the time of review. If admitted, you are expected to maintain your level of academic performance through to the completion of your pre-McGill studies and to arrange for official final transcripts to be sent to McGill directly from your school, college, or university.
Due to constraints of space and timing, it is not normally possible to consider applicants on the basis of repeated or supplemental coursework completed after the normal file review period.
Proof of Proficiency in English
The language of instruction for most courses at McGill University is English; however, you may make arrangements to write term papers, examinations and theses in English or in French, except in courses where knowledge of the language is one of the objectives of the course.
You must demonstrate an adequate level of English proficiency prior to admission to McGill, regardless of citizenship status or country of origin. In some cases, otherwise admissible applicants who fall slightly below the posted English proficiency minima may be considered for conditional admission pending successful completion of the appropriate English program at the McGill School for Continuing Studies. Please refer to the website for further information, when available.
If you answer "yes" to any of the following seven statements, you do NOT need to provide proof of English proficiency.
- Have you lived and attended school, for at least four years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language?
- Have you completed Secondary V and a DEC at a French CEGEP in Quebec?
- Have you completed a DEC at an English CEGEP in Quebec, during or later than 2003?
- Have you completed or will you complete a French Baccalaureate - Option Internationale (British or American section)?
- Have you completed or will you complete an International Baccalaureate (IB) Group 1 English (Language A: Literature, Language A: Language and Literature, or Literature and Performance) with a final result of 5 or better?
- Have you completed or will you complete the British Curriculum A-Level English with a final grade of C or better?
- Have you completed the British Curriculum GCSE / IGCSE / GCE O-Level English, English Language, English First Language, or English as a Second Language with a final grade of B or better?
If you answered "no" to all of the above, but answer "yes" to either of the following two questions, you will also be asked to provide proof of English language proficiency.
- Do you consider English to be your first language?
- Have you been attending school at an accredited institution (in a non-English country) where English is the main language of instruction?
Applicants required to demonstrate proficiency in English must use one of the following options:
Institutional versions of the tests below are not acceptable. It is your responsibility to ensure official test results are sent to McGill.
McGill Certificate of Proficiency in English – Language and Culture or English for Professional Communication
For further information: www.mcgill.ca/conted/langprg
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
Certificate of Proficiency awarded with a C or better.
For further information: www.cambridgeesol.org
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
Certificate awarded with a B or better.
For further information: www.cambridgeesol.org
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
A band score of 6.5 or better.
For further information: www.ielts.org
MELAB (University of Michigan English Language Test)
A minimum mark of 85%.
For further information: www.cambridgemichigan.org/melab
Pearson Test of English – General
Level 5 with a minimum Pass.
Level 4 with a minimum Merit.
For further information: www.pearsonpte.com
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
The following table lists the minimum acceptable TOEFL scores.
Computer- based score (CBT)
Paper-based score (PBT)
Internet-based composite score (iBT)*
Education (TESL), Management
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (including Dietetics and Human Nutrition), Architecture, Arts, Education, Engineering, Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Religious Studies, Science, Social Work
* minimum component score of 21 in each of reading, writing, listening, and speaking
The TOEFL institutional code at McGill University is 0935-00.
For further information: www.ets.org/toefl
Placement Tests in Mathematics and Basic Sciences
If you are applying from outside Quebec and believe you have taken the equivalent of one or more university-level math and/or science courses (algebra, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics), but do not have acceptable certification to that effect, you may be eligible to write admission placement tests at McGill. These are formal examinations held on campus during the last two weeks of August. For more information, refer to www.mcgill.ca/students/exams/science.
Each faculty’s policy will determine whether credit for, and/or exemption from, certain courses will be granted for successful completion of placement tests.
Advanced Standing or Transfer Credits
You must complete a minimum of four years of study in order to be eligible for a degree from McGill University. If you have completed a Quebec CEGEP diploma, you are required to complete a minimum of three years of study, as the CEGEP diploma is equivalent to the first year of university.
If you have completed any of Advanced Placement (AP), Advanced Subsidiary (AS), Advanced Level (A-Level), Cambridge Pre-U, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level examinations, French Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate, Abitur, Bagrut or a European high school diploma recognized by the Bologna Declaration, you may be awarded up to 30 credits of advanced standing, subject to faculty and program requirements. Students transferring from another university or college may also be awarded transfer credits for their coursework, which must be supported by calendar course descriptions. A minimum of 60 credits must be completed while in residence at McGill University in order to be eligible for a degree. For some faculties and programs, you may be required to exceed the minimum in order to meet the specific requirements for those programs.
In most cases, the Admissions Office will calculate and assign advanced standing credit only after you have confirmed the program you will enter at McGill University, paid the required deposit, and final official results of prior work and/or external examinations have been received (often not until July or August). Any credits or exemptions outstanding after October 1 will normally be handled by the Student Affairs Office of your Faculty or School.
You will not receive additional notification outlining the transfer credits and exemptions that have been awarded; however, you will be able to see this information on your advising transcript on Minerva once the information has been entered. You can refer to www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/plan/transfer to check what exemptions you might receive for courses you are currently completing.
Transcripts and Other Supporting Documentation Requirements
In addition to completing the online application at www.mcgill.ca/applying/online/, you may need to submit other materials in order to be considered for admission to McGill.
- Unofficial transcripts and most supporting documents may be uploaded via Minerva. For specific information regarding uploading procedures see: www.mcgill.ca/applying/submitting-your-documents.
- Official transcripts may be sent to McGill University. Consult the mailing address listed at Mailing Addresses for Supporting Documents. To be considered official, transcripts must be forwarded directly from your high school, college, university, or examination board to McGill.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all required transcripts and documents are submitted by the applicable deadline. If your documents cannot be uploaded, please ensure they are sent to the appropriate admissions office. See the section relevant to your academic background for deadlines.
- Quebec CEGEP students, Ontario high school students with OUAC numbers, and current and former McGill University students are not required to submit transcripts. McGill’s admitting office obtains these directly.
- Students from high schools in Canada outside of Quebec and Ontario are required to "self-report" their grades. If offered admission, then students must make arrangements with their high school to send official, final transcripts to McGill.
- All other applicants may upload a copy of their unofficial transcript via Minerva. If offered admission, then students must make arrangements with their high school, college, and/or university to send official, final transcripts to McGill.
- Transcripts in languages other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation prepared by the school. In the event that the school cannot provide a translation, a certified translator should send the translation to McGill.
- Students completing Advanced Level or other British type-qualifications exams or International Baccalaureate exams, must arrange for final results to be sent by the appropriate Examination Board to McGill.
- Advanced Placement (AP) results must be sent directly to McGill University from the College Board. Please do not submit copies sent by the school.
It is in the interest of all applicants to complete their files as quickly as possible. When program space is limited, preference may be given to applicants who have provided all required supporting documents earlier on. Should a program reach its capacity prior to the deadline for submission of documents, incomplete applications may be cancelled.
Documents submitted to McGill University in support of an application to be admitted including, but not limited to transcripts, diplomas, letters of reference and test scores (in paper or electronic format), become the property of McGill University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another institution. *
* Exceptionally, Architecture portfolios will be returned only if submitted with a self-addressed envelope with sufficient Canadian postage (or international postal reply coupons).
External Test Results
Please note that McGill University receives TOEFL, SAT, ACT, AP, IELTS, and IB test results electronically. Please ensure that the personal information you provide to the examination board matches the information you give to McGill. If there is a discrepancy in personal information, we will not be able to load your electronic results.
For further information or assistance, you may contact us by email. Please include your McGill ID number and indicate "Test Discrepancy" in the subject line of your email.
Letters of Reference or Evaluation
Letters of reference are not required, except for the specific programs noted in section “Additional Materials Required by Specific Programs” and for applicants applying as Mature students. In most cases, a conditional admission decision can be reached on the basis of the unofficial transcript.
When required, letters of reference or evaluation must be submitted in envelopes sealed and signed across the flap by the author of the letter. Whenever possible, letters should be typed on letterhead stationery.
You MUST check "yes" for Extenuating Circumstances at the time that you submit your application if any serious medical, personal, learning or other difficulties or challenges have had an impact on your academic performance and you wish to have these taken into consideration. If you claim Extenuating Circumstances you are required to submit by the application deadline:
- A statement in your own words (maximum two pages) regarding the nature and chronology of the circumstances, their impact on your academic record and your readiness to undertake University study.
- Appropriate formal documentation to substantiate your statement, such as a medical or death certificate, or a letter from a school counsellor, psychologist or social worker.
It is not normally possible to add an extenuating circumstances indicator or related supporting documents after your application has been submitted. Please also note that admission decisions are often delayed considerably when extenuating circumstances are claimed. Admission to McGill is highly competitive for all, including applicants claiming extenuating circumstances.
Additional Materials Required by Specific Programs
If applying to one of the following programs, you must submit letters of reference and/or other supporting materials as outlined below:
- Religious Studies (B.Th.)
- Social Work
When required, letters of reference or evaluation must be submitted in sealed envelopes, signed across the flap by the author of the letter. Whenever possible, letters should be typed on letterhead stationery. Other supporting documents can be uploaded by you, to your file (for further information, see: www.mcgill.ca/applying/submitting-your-documents).
- If applying to the School of Architecture, you must submit a portfolio of your work to McGill University
by March 8.
- Your portfolio must be in 8-1/2" x 11" or A4 format, bound (maximum 1" thick), and submitted in an envelope marked "ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO". It must include a minimum of ten (10) good quality photocopies or photographs of your original work, representing your creative and design skills.
- Work appropriate to the portfolio might include, but is not limited to: freehand drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, computer graphics, technical drawings and model-making. Include work done in a variety of media.
- Do not submit originals, rolled work, photographic slides, audio or video tapes, CDs or DVDs, or work in plastic sleeves.
- Your portfolio should include a detailed list of the contents, indicating the size of each work and the medium used.
- If you are sending your portfolio from outside Canada, please indicate that the portfolio has "no commercial value" on the outside packaging. Otherwise, customs clearance charges may delay receipt. Please enclose a self-addressed envelope with sufficient Canadian postage (or international postal reply coupons) if you want your portfolio returned. Portfolios will be returned after September 30.
- If you have previously studied in an architecture or design program, your portfolio should include design studio work. In addition, a letter of reference is required from the head of your department.
- Applicants to the English Second Language program are required to pass an English language proficiency test.
- Following a successful initial review of your application you will be contacted to make testing arrangements. If you live outside the Montreal area, you may complete the test through correspondence.
- NOTE: The language proficiency test must be completed before an admission decision can be made.
- Mature applicants to any Education program, whose applications pass initial review, will be contacted for an interview.
- You must perform an audition (live or recorded). If applying in female voice, or any jazz instrument, you must submit screening recordings prior to a live audition.
- You must arrange to have a music teacher submit the music evaluation form.
- Composition applicants must submit two or three samples of written work.
- Music Education applicants must request a letter of reference attesting to their suitability for teaching.
- Detailed information on these requirements and downloadable forms can be found on the website at: www.mcgill.ca/music.
Religious Studies (B.Th.)
- If applying to the B.Th. program, you must submit two letters of reference, at least one of which should be from an instructor at an academic institution previously attended. The referee form is available at www.mcgill.ca/religiousstudies/theological/bth.
Social Work (B.S.W.)
The School of Social Work supports diversity and encourages applications from a wide variety of people, including members of minority groups and individuals with low income.
If applying to the School of Social Work, you must submit the following documents:
- A resumé describing voluntary and paid work experience, including dates (month and year), occupation and responsibility, name of supervisor, and address of the firm or agency.
- A statement, written in two parts (not more than 500 words each part) in which you (1) describe your interest in social work and its development and (2) analyze an important social issue and how you think social work might respond to this issue.
- Two social work related confidential letters of recommendation on letterhead, in sealed envelopes.