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Preferred First Name


NEW!  Use your Preferred First Name on your McGill ID card, Minerva class lists, and Student Advising transcripts.

Your preferred first name is the name by which you are normally addressed, and can be different than your legal first name. The Preferred First Name Procedure enables students to use an alternate preferred first name for certain purposes while studying at McGill.

Students who wish to use a Preferred First Name should enter this information into Minerva as soon as possible in order to ensure that their preferred first name is used as widely as possible. 

The preferred first name may be used on all unofficial university documents and tools, such as:

  • McGill ID card
  • Class lists
  • Student Advising transcripts

The student’s legal name must appear on official university documents, such as:

  • University transcript
  • Reports to government
  • Letters of attestation
  • e-bills
  • Diplomas and certificates

Using a preferred first name at McGill does not change a student’s legal name or records with government authorities.  

You can provide a preferred first name on your application for admission or, once admitted, on Minerva (www.mcgill.ca/minerva), under the Personal Menu. From the Personal Menu, select Name Change and you will be able to add/modify this field.   

Please see the FAQ on McGill's Student Records page for more information.

Why Preferred First Name?

While anyone is welcome to use a preferred first name, this option is especially important for  trans*, gender variant and two spirited people whose legal name does not reflect their gender presentation and/or identity. Some people in this situation may choose to use a different name in their everyday life and interactions. Since a legal name change can be costly, time consuming, and is not always possible or desired, having the option to use a preferred first name at McGill can offer trans* and gender variant people increased comfort, inclusion, safety and security. Being forced to use the name that was given at birth can cause emotional stress, anxiety, frustration, isolation, alienation and fear of being “outed” as a trans or gender variant individual. Furthermore, being “outed” could lead to discrimination, harassment and violence.

McGill University, like many other large institutions, requires that individuals use their legal name on all legal records. The university acknowledges that a preferred first name can and should be used wherever possible in the course of university business and education. Therefore, McGill will gradually phase in the expanded use of the preferred name instead of the legal name, except where the use of the legal name is required by the University for a business or legal need.  

Changes to Date

Since 2006, McGill students have been able to indicate their “preferred first name” via Minerva. This name appeared on class lists in parentheses next to the legal name. 

Beginning in June 2013, only the students’ designated preferred name, and not their legal name, will appear on Minerva class lists and student I.D. cards. Preferred First Names will appear on Student Advising Transcripts beginning in mid-July 2013.

Email Address

At present, students may change only the alias or nickname of their email address. The McGill NCS website explains how to do this through Reggie under "Change Account Information". To change the first name in the fistname [dot] lastname [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca address, students can request a change through the "nickname policy". Although the policy claims that the nickname must relate to the student's legal name, in practice some requests to change the first name to the name of common usage have been fulfilled despite significant differences. The form asks students to submit an explanation for the requested change. In cases where the name of common usage goes outside the bounds stated in the policy, it isn't clear how much explanation is needed or appropriate.

Please note that this only changes the email address, not the name which appears in the From field of each email you send. If you are using an independent email client, such as Outlook Express, you can determine which name appears in the From field by configuring your settings. However, if you use Outlook Web Access or an Exchange email client, you cannot modify the From field because this field is populated by McGill's central Exchange database. We are continuing our attempts to address this issue.