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Frequently asked questions

Dates and deadlines

When can I apply?

The online application opens on September 1.

What is the application deadline?

See Application Deadlines for each category.

LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

Does the supporting documents deadline refer to a post-marked date or an actual deadline?

Except for the reference letters, all supporting documents must be uploaded via Minerva by the deadlines listed in the Deadlines and Admissions Categories page. Applicants who are unable to upload their documents online may send them via post or courier, in which case the documents must be postmarked or delivered on or before the deadlines listed below. We will check postmarks on documents arriving after the indicated deadline. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required supporting documents reach the Undergraduate Law Admissions Office. We strongly encourage all candidates to be prompt in sending in supporting documents by mail in order to avoid any postal delays.

Courses and programs

Do you offer correspondence, distance or internet courses?

No, we do not offer correspondence, distance or internet courses. Students attend classes at the Faculty of Law in person, and are expected to be fully active in the Faculty and in the community.

Do you offer evening courses?

No, we do not offer evening courses. All courses offered by the Faculty of Law are given Monday to Friday during the day. Although some courses may finish later, the majority of our courses are taught between 8:00 and 19:00.

Do you offer a certificate in law?

We offer graduate certificates in law. These graduate programs provide advanced training to candidates who do not wish to undertake the Master's degree. They are particularly appropriate for judges, law professors and legal practitioners from countries undergoing substantial legal reform who wish to pursue advanced studies in areas such as comparative law, air & space law or human rights law. For more information, see our sister site for Graduate Studies in Law, under Advanced programs in law: Certificate programs. Please note that applicants to these graduate certificate programs are expected to hold a Bachelor of Laws degree or an equivalent law degree from an accredited university.

Do you offer a minor in law?

No, but we do offer law students the opportunity to pursue a minor offered by McGill's Faculties of Arts or Science. For more information, see Programs with minors, majors and honours.

I only want to take a few classes in Law. How can I do this?

The Faculty allows a limited number of applicants not actively pursuing a law degree to register as Special Students. This status will only be granted to applicants who advance compelling reasons for taking law courses and who successfully demonstrate their capacity to undertake the study of law, and only when sufficient class space is available. Special Students admitted to the Faculty of Law can take up to 6 credits per term, for a maximum of 12 credits in total. See Deadlines & categories: Special students for more information.

Is it possible to only take the B.C.L. or the LL.B.?

No. The structure of our undergraduate law program is based on an integrated study of both the civil law and the common law.

I see that you offer B.C.L. and LL.B. degrees, but not a JD like other Common Law faculties in Canada. Why?

McGill’s integrated law program is inherently unique in its conception, structure, academic objectives and distinctive features. Students earn two equally strong law degrees, one in civil law and one in common law, while learning law from a transsytemic, conceptual and contextualized perspective. Our curriculum is rich and our ambitions broad. We believe that a simple J.D. denomination would not add to the richness of our program, but would in fact reduce it to what it is not solely: a North American common law degree. However, it should be made clear that our B.C.L./LL.B. degrees open the door to all Canadian bars, as well as several American bars, in the same way Canadian JDs do. In addition, our graduates find career opportunities across the world both in common law jurisdictions and in civil law ones, in legal practice and with government, in business and international tribunals, to name a few. Beyond the name of the degree are the strength of the program, the manpower of its alumni and the respect and recognition earned nationally and internationally. This is what the Faculty chooses to devote its energy to.

Candidates

Are candidates from the National Committee on Accreditation eligible?

No. The Faculty does not consider candidates applying to fulfill the requirements of the National Committee on Accreditation.

Are High School students eligible?

No. The Faculty does not accept applicants from High School programs. To be eligible, students must have a minimum of two years of university studies (60 credits), or hold a Diploma of Collegial Studies (D.C.S.) from a Cegep or a Quebec French Baccalaureate.

Are admission requirements the same if I am an international student?

Yes. Please refer to the Deadlines and Admissions Categories page to determine which category you belong to and which corresponding deadlines you must meet.

Following that, see How to apply to learn how to complete the online application and what supporting documents are required to complete the application.

International candidates need to make sure they will have a valid status to study in Canada, at the time of registration.

Does your Faculty give preference to McGill graduates?

No. The Faculty does not give preference to McGill graduates.

Does your Faculty give preference to Quebec residents?

No. The Faculty does not give preference to Quebec residents, but seeks to achieve a socially and culturally diverse community drawn across Quebec, Canada and beyond.

How does your Faculty value diversity? How diverse is the class?

We believe our Faculty’s excellence is based on its diversity. Please refer to our Admissions Policy to understand our approach to diversity in the context of admissions. You may also attend one of our Law School & Diversity recruitment events or get in touch with our Student Ambassadors who can tell you how diversity is lived here at McGill. For information, the 2013 entering class was surveyed and we achieved an 85% response rate. 18% of respondents self-identified as members of a visible minority. Further 3% indicated a disability. Over 12% are the first-generation of their family to attend university and 46% indicated that they are financing their legal studies without familial support. Lastly 4% indicated being of First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Admissions Process

Which documents must be included in my application and how can I submit them?

Applicants must provide the following: personal statement; résumé; transcripts for all university studies; and two letters of reference (see Supporting documents for list and mailing address). Candidates who have taken or will be taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) are required to report the date(s) of sitting(s) and supply their LSAT identification number in the appropriate section of the online application. Failure to do so may adversely affect chances of admission.

Applicants must upload supporting documents such as the personal statement, résumé and unofficial transcripts via Minerva.

Reference letters may be sent by email or mail; (see Letters of Reference for instructions). Documents sent via fax will not be accepted.

If I am not able to upload my documents, to which address do I mail them?

If you are unable to upload your supporting documents, they should be mailed, couriered or delivered in person to the following address:

Undergraduate Admissions Office
Faculty of Law
McGill University
3644 Peel Street, Room 418
Montreal, Quebec
Canada  H3A 1W9

Can I get my documents back?

No. Transcripts and other documents sent to McGill become the property of the University and will not be returned nor forwarded to other institutions. For example, applicants who wish to obtain a copy of a letter of recommendation should ask their referee directly.

I sent in all my supporting documents by mail, but they are not showing in Minerva. What is going on?

During peak periods (i.e., close to the deadlines), volumes are very high and there may be a delay of up to 48 hours between the receipt of a document and the date on which it is recorded in our information system.

We ask you to kindly consider processing delays in all your communications with us.

How do I change a referee to my application?

Given our strict requirement of two letters of reference, a candidate who wishes to make a referee substitution may do so until the deadline to submit Supporting Documents. In such case, please advise the Faculty of Law Admissions Office in writing, by email.

When can I expect a response?

Once an application is complete, it is reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Without exception, every application to the McGill Program is reviewed by at least one member of the Admissions Committee; the majority of applications are reviewed by two or three members. Committee members carefully review all documents submitted and evaluate the candidacy according to the Faculty's Admissions Policy, and in comparison to all other candidates in the applicant pool.

Every effort is made to inform candidates of the decision of the Admissions Committee at the earliest possible date.

After reviewing each application, the Admissions Committee will admit or refuse the applicant, or place the candidate on a waitlist. The Committee aims to make offers of admissions beginning in December and the process continues until July. Applicants on the waitlist may not hear of the outcome until July or August. The decision "Waiting List" will be available in Minerva for all candidates placed on the waitlist.

In some instances, the Committee may request that an applicant attend an interview with members of the Faculty. Interviews take place in Montreal or, if travel to Montreal is not possible, by telephone or teleconference. Candidates applying directly from CEGEP who are regarded as potentially admissible following a review of their file are interviewed by representatives of the Admissions Committee. Mature students who are regarded as potentially admissible following a review of their file may be required to attend an interview.

In all cases, the decision of the Admissions Committee is final. While Admissions Officers assist applicants as much as possible, decisions on individual files cannot be disclosed over the telephone.

I have applied to other law schools in Canada and received responses. Why is McGill taking longer to make a decision?

We appreciate your patience. Please keep in mind our holistic process of evaluation and the fact that several members of the Admissions Committee review each candidacy file. Our rigourous admission process is extremely labour intensive and time consuming.

What do "items outstanding", and "ready for review" mean on Minerva?

A status of "Items outstanding" means that your file is incomplete. You are responsible for verifying which documents are missing. The Admissions Office will update the status of your application as and when each document is received.

When the status of your application states "Ready for review", your file is waiting for review or is under review. The status of your application will remain "Ready for review" until a final decision is made by the Assistant Dean.

What is the waitlist?

A candidate will be offered a place on the waitlist if her/his application file is admissible, but there is no available place to offer. There is no ranking of waitlisted candidacies. The decision "Waiting List" and the official letter will be available in Minerva for all candidates placed on the waitlist.

May I defer my acceptance to a subsequent year?

The Faculty of Law does not normally accept requests for deferral entry. You will be expected to start your course on the date and term you applied for and as indicated on your admission offer letter. If you still wish to seek an admission deferral, you must first accept the offer of admission and pay the non-refundable $400 deposit. Once the offer of admission has been accepted, you must then submit, in writing, a request for the deferral. The request should be addressed to the Assistant Dean (Admissions & Recruitment) and should set out the reason(s) for the request. Students wishing to defer their admission are encouraged to submit requests as early as possible in consideration of other candidates.

Do I need to resubmit all the documents if I reapply?

The Undergraduate Admissions Office keeps all applications for three years. Applicants who have submitted an application within the past three admission cycles must re-submit an up-to-date résumé and a new personal statement along with their new online application.

However, candidates need not re-submit final official transcripts, LSAT scores, except to provide an update. Finally, candidates may keep the same referees and letters of reference. They may also add new ones or change their referees and submit new letters.

Can I request an interview with the Assistant Dean or members of the Admissions Committee?

No. Interviews with the Assistant Dean or any members of the Admissions Committee are not granted upon the request of applicants currently in the process. Interviews are convened on the recommendation of the Admissions Committee.

However, the Admissions Office staff is familiar with the admissions process and are able to answer questions.

How many applications are accepted each year?

Each year the Faculty welcomes approximately 178 students into first year, from across Canada, the United States and several other countries. Admission is very competitive. The Faculty's recent experience is that the number of applications is about seven to eight times the number of available places (1395 applications received for the 2012 admission cycle, for the 2013 cycle 1270.)

LSAT

Do I need to write the LSAT?

Applicants are not required to take the LSAT; however, if a candidate has taken or will be taking the LSAT, the score will be considered. While the LSAT is not required, the LSAT result provides the Admissions Committee with an additional and useful piece of information regarding the strength of your candidacy and suitability for law studies. The relative strength or weakness of an LSAT result is evaluated in light of the entire application.

Why does the Faculty of Law not require the LSAT?

The Faculty of Law is a bilingual learning environment. We believe it would be disadvantageous to the significant proportion of applicants and admitted students who indicate French as a first language to require, as a matter of eligibility, a test that is offered only in English.

Should I take the LSAT?

While it is not required, it may nevertheless be advisable for many candidates to consider writing the LSAT. Admission to McGill’s Law program is highly competitive: there are roughly seven to eight times as many applicants as there are available places in the first year class. Accordingly, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to a number of faculties of law. Almost all faculties of law outside Quebec require the LSAT.

The quality of McGill’s applicant pool is exceptionally strong. Among admitted students, the average entering GPA is a 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (about an 84% average). Applicants with academic records below this average GPA or percentile are encouraged to consider writing the LSAT.

When should I write the LSAT?

Candidates who do write the LSAT are strongly encouraged to do so by December of the year prior to the year for which they seek admission.

Can I write the February LSAT?

Candidates who do write the LSAT are strongly encouraged to do so by December of the year prior to the year for which they seek admission. Applications from candidates who register for the February LSAT will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee only when all required elements, including the February LSAT score, are received. Candidates who register for the February LSAT risk that, by the time the Committee reviews their application, there will no longer be a place to offer even if the Committee wishes to admit.

Will my LSAT scores get sent directly to the Faculty?

Yes. Applicants must report the date(s) of sitting(s) and supply their LSAT identification number in the appropriate places on the application. The Admissions Office will then obtain test results directly from the Law School Admission Council. Applicants whose service with the Law School Admissions Council has expired must reactivate their service in order to enable the Admissions Office to obtain their LSAT score.

What are the cut-offs for CRC, GPA and LSAT scores?

There are no fixed cut-offs, and while the numerical aspects of the applicant's file are not decisive, students offered admission at McGill generally have outstanding academic records in addition to their other qualities. Accordingly, it is not possible to predict the probability of admissions using numerical indices.

University Category:
Here are the statistics for the university students admitted to our program for the 2013 admission cycle:

Percentile Scale 4.0 Scale
Class average 84% 3.7
Median 85% 4.0
Lowest 71% 3.0
Highest 94% 4.0


Please note that 96% of the first year class had an average of 78% (3.3) and above.

Score Percentile
Average LSAT 163 87.4
Median 164 89.2
Lowest 152 49.5
Highest 172 98.6

CEGEP category:
Given the quality of the pool of CEGEP candidates, please note that applicants with a CRC below 32 are unlikely to be called for an interview. Files of candidates with a CRC below 30 are reviewed by the Admissions Officer and, only in exceptional cases, will these files be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. The following statistics for the CEGEP students admitted to our program are based on the 2013 admission cycle:

Average Cote R 33.998
Median Cote R 34.004
Highest Cote R 37.767
Lowest Cote R 30.169

What are the consequences of not disclosing an LSAT score on my application?

The Faculty of Law may revoke an offer of admission or cancel an application at any time for material misrepresentation, including omissions, in an application.

Although the LSAT is not a mandatory element in an application for admission, every applicant who has taken or will be taking it must disclose the required test information and failure to do so is a material misrepresentation.

Applicants are required to report the date(s) of sitting(s) and supply their LSAT identification number in the appropriate places on the application. They must advise the Faculty of Law Admissions Office in writing of any change regarding the registration to the LSAT when the change occurs after the submission of the application form.

The Admissions Office conducts random verifications for LSAT scores throughout the admissions process and a systematic verification with respect to candidates who receive an offer of admission. These verifications have, in the past, resulted in the revocation of offers of admission.

In order to ensure that all candidates are aware of the requirement to report the date(s) of sitting(s), the online application has been programmed to prompt candidates to submit LSAT information if they indicate that they are applying to another law faculty outside of Quebec, other than the Civil Law program at the University of Ottawa or a French Common Law program (Ottawa or Moncton). The obligation to disclose is applicable to all applicants.

Note: An application to the Faculty of Law at McGill will not be processed unless and until the candidate authorizes the University to, among other things, "verify any information or statement provided as part of my application, realizing that an admission granted based on information in my application or supporting documents that is incorrect or untrue may be revoked at the sole discretion of the University." The Admissions Office has access to the Law School Admission Council database and the ability to verify whether a candidate has or has not registered for an LSAT sitting. It remains however the responsibility of the candidate to disclose LSAT test information.

Grades, Credits and Previous Studies

What does the Admissions Committee look for? Are grades the only determining factor?

The Faculty’s admissions policy is to select applicants who are best suited to studying law in McGill’s uniquely comparative, transsystemic, and bilingual environment. Diversity and excellence are essential to our Faculty. Indeed, our Faculty’s excellence is based on its diversity.

While applicants granted admission generally have very strong academic records, the Admissions Committee looks for indicators of intellectual curiosity, community engagement, insight (cultural, economic, political, social and otherwise), leadership skills, ability to work with others, openness to diversity, maturity, ethical sense, judgement, and potential for development through opportunity or adversity, among other criteria.

The Committee conducts its assessment through a holistic evaluation of each applicant's file, including the applicant's academic record, linguistic abilities, personal statement, extracurricular, community or professional activities, and letters of reference.

In addition, applicants must demonstrate substantial reading ability in, and aural comprehension of, both English and French.

The Admissions Committee seeks to achieve a plural learning community drawn from across Quebec, Canada and beyond, in which there is a wide range of career aspirations, backgrounds and life experiences.

Does the Faculty recommend particular undergraduate courses?

The Faculty does not recommend a program of pre-law studies, a specific undergraduate degree nor a graduate degree. The admissions process has been developed with a view to building a class that represents a diversity of academic disciplines. This being said, in the evaluation of candidacies, the Admissions Committee seeks evidence of courses that develop critical, analytical and reasoning skills, as well as strong reading and writing abilities. A well-rounded, diverse, and challenging course of study will be looked upon favorably by the Committee, the objective of which is to assess a candidate's ability to undertake and succeed in law studies.

Does the Faculty consider all undergraduate grades?

GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated on all academic years, even if you have done three or four years and if you have done the same course more than once.

Does the Faculty also consider graduate studies?

While the emphasis is on the applicant's undergraduate marks, any graduate work will also be considered.

Can I transfer credits from my previous studies?

Only the candidates qualifying under the Advanced Standing and Transfer categories are allowed to receive credits for their previous law studies. Courses completed in a certificate in law program cannot be credited toward a McGill law degree. While students in the B.C.L./LL.B. are permitted to register for up to six non-law credits during the course of the undergraduate program, these credits may not be transferred from their previous university studies.

Can I transfer directly from another undergraduate program to the Law program?

It is only possible to transfer into our Law program if you are already enrolled in another Law program in a Canadian university. A candidate who is currently studying in a program other than law (in a Canadian university) must apply as a regular student and may do so once he or she has completed a minimum of 60 credits. Candidates registered in a law certificate are not eligible to apply under the Transfer category. These candidates must apply in the University, Mature or CEGEP category.

Practical questions

How much reading will I have to do in French and English?

McGill's Faculty of Law has a policy of "passive bilingualism". In order to thrive in the faculty's bilingual environment, students should have substantial reading ability in both English and French, as required texts will be in both languages. Students may use either language when asking or answering questions in class, writing exams, or when submitting written material. Exams are administered in the language in which a course is taught, but may contain materials in either English or French. If the Committee has doubts about your language skills, you may be contacted and asked to answer some questions regarding your level of bilingualism.

What is the cost of tuition?

For further details, please see the McGill's Student Accounts: Tuition and other charges page.

How long does it take to complete the law degree?

The majority of students take three and a half years to complete the B.C.L./LL.B. program. It is possible, however, to complete the program in three years, either by doing work for credit, internships or classes over the summer or by carrying a heavier courses load in second and third years.

It is also possible to prolong to 4 years by taking a Minor, Major or Honours program or by doing a joint program.

What is the schedule like?

Classes are scheduled from Monday to Friday. The majority of the courses require three hours of class time a week and as a result is split into two 1½-hour blocks. Class make-ups are scheduled from 12:30 to 1:30 on Mondays. Wednesday from 12:30 to 2:30 is reserved for student activities and workshops and as a result no classes are scheduled during that time period. There are no evening classes.