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Academic Standing

There are four ‘categories’ of academic standing: Satisfactory; Probationary; Unsatisfactory; Unsatisfactory Readmitted.  Academic standing is calculated at the end of each term and determines whether you will be allowed to continue your studies the following term.  The standing remark appears on your Unofficial Minerva transcript; it is for your and your advisors’ information.  It does not appear on your Official McGill transcript.

Students in Unsatisfactory Standing are usually required to withdraw from the University and apply for readmission.  If readmitted, students must satisfy certain conditions by the end of their first term or year.  You may see the word ‘interim’ added to your standing at some point; this means that not all the marks for the term that just ended are in (this will happen if you have to take a deferred exam, for example).

Your academic standing is based primarily on your cumulative grade point average (CGPA), but may also be affected by your term grade point average (TGPA). The standing in each term determines if you are allowed to continue your studies in the next term, and if any conditions will be attached to your registration

The table below outlines how your academic standing is calculated every semester. To see how your faculty determines the contingencies for academic standing, consult the appropriate section of the most recent program calendar.

Your Standing at the end of the previous term was: Your TGPA and/or CGPA at the end of the current term is: You will be in:    

TGPA = 2.0 or higher AND
CGPA = 2.0 or higher

Satisfactory Standing
Satisfactory CGPA = between 1.5 (1.2 in Engineering) and 1.99 Probationary Standing

TGPA = 2.5 or higher AND
CGPA = between 1.5 (1.2 in Engineering) and 1.99

Probationary Standing
Interim Unsatisfactory

TGPA = 2.5 or higher AND
CGPA = between 1.5 (1.2 in Engineering) and 1.99

Probationary Standing
Unsatisfactory Readmitted CGPA = below 2.0, but the conditions specified in
the letter of readmission were satisfied
Probationary Standing
Unsatisfactory CGPA = below 1.5 (1.2 in Engineering) Unsatisfactory Standing

TGPA = below 2.5 AND
CGPA = below 2.0

Unsatisfactory Standing
Interim Unsatisfactory

TGPA = below 2.5 AND
CGPA = below 2.0

Unsatisfactory Standing
Unsatisfactory Readmitted

TGPA = below 2.5 AND
CGPA = below 2.0

Unsatisfactory Standing
Unsatisfactory Readmitted The conditions specified in the letter of
readmission were not satisfied
Unsatisfactory Standing

Add/Drop Period

Until the add/drop deadline in the fall and winter terms, you can modify your course load without penalty. Courses dropped during the Add/Drop Period are deleted from your record. If you drop a course before the deadline, you'll get a refund for the course. If you add a course during this period, you'll be charged for the course. Freshman-program students must have your changes approved by an academic advisor. 

Once the add/drop deadline has passed, you no longer drop courses — you withdraw from them. Withdrawals give you a "W" grade on your record. Learn more!

Advanced Placement (AP) Credits

Advanced standing is granted for Advanced Placement results of "4" or better, to a maximum of 30 credits and is subject to faculty rules.

Advanced Placement results with a score of "4" or better must be declared during initial registration at McGill. Final Advanced Placement results must be sent directly to Enrolment Services from the College Board in order to qualify for advanced standing.

If your Advanced Placement exam is equivalent to a McGill course and if you obtained a final result of "4" or better, you may be exempted for the McGill course and receive the appropriate number of transfer credits. To learn more or see if your AP credits qualify, click here.




CEGEP Credits

CEGEP students may receive up to 30 credits of advanced standing for CEGEP courses, subject to your faculty and program rules. You may receive additional course exemptions (but not additional credits). McGill reserves the right to change transfer credit recognition policy without notice.

If you have passed a CEGEP course that is equivalent to a McGill course, you are exempt from that McGill course and will not receive McGill credit if you take it. Some CEGEP courses provide McGill exemptions no matter what CEGEP you were attending when you took them, while other courses provide exemptions only if taken at certain CEGEPs. For more information and to check if your CEGEP courses qualify, click here.


Complementary Courses

Corequisite Course

Course Evaluation

McGill University values quality in the courses it offers its students. End-of-course evaluations provide valuable student feedback and are one of the ways that McGill works towards maintaining and improving the quality of courses and the student’s learning experience. Student involvement in this process is critical to enhance the general quality of teaching and learning.

All McGill courses with five or more students must be evaluated and students may be allowed access to the results of the numeric portions of course evaluations, provided the instructor grants permission. We encourage all instructors to complete the online permission form to grant permission to disseminate the numeric results of their course evaluations to students. Learn more!

Course Nomenclature in Program Descriptions

Required Courses: Mandatory courses that must be completed to fulfil the requirements of a program (e.g., major, minor, etc. at the undergraduate level or specific courses at the graduate), unless the student receives exemptions. Students have no choices among required courses.

Complementary Courses: Courses selected from a restricted list, a particular subject area, or a discipline. In some programs, students must include a number of these to meet program requirements. Complementary courses are not electives.

Elective Courses: Courses, in some cases, taken outside of a student’s program of study do not count toward the fulfilment of the specific program requirements. Some restrictions may apply, but students have the most choice in selecting elective courses. Some faculties also permit students to take elective courses using the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option. Undergraduate students should consult their faculty regulations concerning electives; graduate students require the approval of their Program Director and GPS.

This information is an excerpt from the 2011-2012 Undergraduate Program Calendar. To consult the latest version, click here.

Course Terminology

Prerequisite: Course A is prerequisite to course B if a satisfactory pass in course A is required for admission to course B.

Corequisite: Course A is corequisite to course B if course A must be taken concurrently with (or may have been taken prior to) course B.

Credits: The credit weight of each course is indicated in parentheses beside the course title. For D1 and D2 courses, the credit weight is indicated after the course number. Credit for multi-term courses (courses with the suffixes: D1, D2; N1, N2; J1, J2, J3) is granted only after successful completion of all components in the specified time frame. For example, a student would have to take D1 and D2 components in consecutive terms and successfully complete them both in order to obtain credit.

This information is an excerpt from the 2011-2012 Undergraduate Program Calendar. To consult the latest version, click here.



Deferred Exam

If you are unable to write a final exam due to illness or another serious reason, you may apply for a deferred exam.  If your request is approved, you will be permitted to write it during the next deferred exam period (usually right after the exam period for the next semester). 

To qualify, you must obtain documentation (such as a doctor's note) explaining your inability to write the exam on the original date, and bring it to your Student Affairs Office as soon as possible after the exam, but no later than January 15 (for Fall courses) or May 15 (Winter and Fall-Winter courses). Learn more!

Degree Evaluation Tool

The online Degree Evaluation tool summarizes your progress toward the completion of your program's requirements, and lists the courses you've taken, the courses you've registered for, the requirements of your program, and what you still need to do in order to graduate. It also provides a central record of approved adjustments to your program: for example, the replacement of one specified course with another, or acceptance of a non-McGill course for credit.

The tool can also run a “what-if” analysis to see how much of your previous work can be applied to a new program of study. This can be helpful if you're thinking about switching majors and want to know how many extra courses you'd have to take.

While the Degree Evaluation tool is designed to help students and their advisors determine how the student is fulfilling the program requirements, it is not meant to replace the advisor since there may be adjustments or substitutions that are specific to individual students’ cases. Therefore it is recommended that students should visit their academic advisor at least once a year to verify they are on the right path to graduation. Learn more!

Departmental/School Advisors

You should contact your school or department's administrative offices to determine who your academic advisors are and when they are available. You should also make sure that, from time to time — and certainly before your final year — you consult an academic advisor to make sure you will be graduating on schedule. Learn more about what departmental/school advisors do!

Departmental/school advisors can help you by:

  • guiding your course selections to make sure you meet the requirements of your major or minor;
  • evaluating your requests for course equivalencies, recommending prior approval for inter-university transfer credits, or explaining the rationale for the design of academic programs;
  • providing information about scholarships, awards, research fellowships, university exchange programs and other opportunities;
  • offering support and referrals in cases of academic or personal difficulty.



Faculty Advisors

Faculty advisors are usually located in the Student Affairs Office of each faculty and are available throughout the calendar year. Learn more!

Faculty advisors can help you by:

  • providing information about rules, regulations and requirements governing specific degree programs;
  • offering guidance on choosing majors and minors, registering for courses, planning your credit load, and upcoming deadlines;
  • helping you manage your academic situation during periods of personal, financial, or medical difficulty; and
  • serving as your direct link to other University resources.

French Baccalaureates

Transfer credit is granted for French Baccalaureates that have been earned in the "premier groupe" in the written examinations of Séries L (Littéraire), Séries ES (Économique et sociale) or Séries S (Scientifique). Specific exemptions are normally only granted for courses in Séries S that receive grades of "10" or better, subject to faculty and program requirements.

Students can receive up to 30 credits, subject to your faculty and program rules. McGill reserves the right to change transfer credit recognition policy without notice.

Click here to see if you have passed a course that is equivalent to a McGill course. If so, you may be exempt from that McGill course in accordance with faculty policy. If you receive an exemption for a course but take it anyway, you will not receive McGill credit for it.

Freshman General Program

The Freshman Program is a set of requirements for students in a 4-year degree (slightly longer depending on the undergraduate degree), which introduces students to the diversity of subjects available in their Faculty. In some Faculties as well, freshman courses are prerequisites for the higher-level courses that will be needed to fulfill major and minor program requirements.

For more information, please consult your faculty advisor or the undergraduate program calendar to check if you are enrolled in the proper courses.

Full Time vs. Part Time Status

Full Time: Full-time students are students with a registration status of full-time and paying full-time fees. Full-time undergraduate, graduate, diploma, and certificate candidates usually show a minimum of 12 credits per term on their record. 

Part Time: If you carry fewer than 12 credits per term, you are considered to be a part-time student in that term.