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Differential Fee Waivers for international students

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Internal Differential Fee Waivers DFWs

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies awards Differential Fee Waivers to international Doctoral students, and exceptionally to international Research Master’s students for each academic year. International students who are given a DFW are exempt from the international tuition supplement. The approximate value per term is $5,750 in a Ph.D and $6,500 in a Master's program.


Differential fee waivers are restricted to international graduate students at McGill whose visa status requires them to pay full international tuition fees. Recipients must be:

  • Registered with a full-time status (see explanation of residency in the Program Requirements section of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar)
  • Within Curriculum Year 1-3 (for Ph.D.) or Curriculum Year 1 (for Research Master’s) (see Student Advising Transcript). 

Students in a qualifying year or additional session are not eligible. Students in "privatized" programs are not eligible. Eligible international students are automatically considered by their academic units. Since DFWs are awarded based exclusively on unit nomination, there are no application forms provided/required. Interested students who cannot otherwise qualify for an external differential fee waiver (see below) should contact the Unit to which they are applying.

Registration requirements for students who have been awarded a DFW by their Faculty/Unit: During the academic year for which they have been awarded a DFW, recipients are required to register as “full-time” for the Fall and Winter terms and “continuing” for the Summer term.

If a student withdraws or is withdrawn from the University during the eligibility period, the DFW may be revoked. Removal of the DFW will result in the student having to pay full international student fees for the term in question. 

External DFWs – Bilateral between Québec and other governments

Differential fee waivers are also available from a number of external sources, including the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, Recherche et Science (MESRS). Please note that the Québec government grants differential fee waivers to staff and dependants of consulates, foreign government offices, international governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, refugees, immigrants with a work permit containing the case type 07, 08, 20, 22, 23 or 26 with the name of an employer and location that is necessarily situated in Québec, and to students in MESRS-approved inter-university exchanges.


A certain number of citizens from countries whose governments have entered into agreements on tuition fees with Québec may be exempted from the supplemental tuition fees normally required of international students. All French citizens and a limited number of citizens from other countries who have established such agreements are eligible for such exemptions.

For more information on how to qualify for differential fee waivers under these provisions, please see this document: Politique relative aux droits de scolarité exigés des étudiantes et étudiants étrangers par les universités du Québec, at the MESRS website.

Step by step procedure

  1. Determine whether there are bilateral exemptions for your country, by consulting the list of countries that have established such agreements.
  2. If your country or affiliated agency has a bilateral exemption, contact the appropriate authority for the country or agency. More information can be found at the MESRS website.
  3. Apply to the country or agency by that agency's deadline (the agency will inform you of its specific deadline).
  4. After their own selection process, the country will nominate their selected candidates to the Québec government, who will in turn perform the final selection, and inform the candidate and the University.

Please note that only 20% of the exemptions for a given country or agency can be used in English universities in Québec, including McGill.