Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures

Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures

Deadline: Admission to graduate studies at McGill is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit. Meeting minimum admission standards does not guarantee admission. Admission decisions are not normally subject to appeal or reconsideration and are not subject to change. To be considered for entrance fellowships, where available, applicants must verify deadlines with individual academic units.

Application for Admission

Application for Admission

Application information and the online application form are available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply. Applicants (with some exceptions) are required to provide the names and email addresses of two instructors familiar with their academic work and who are willing to provide letters of reference in support of the application. McGill will request the reference letters on behalf of the applicant. All applicants must themselves upload an unofficial copy of their complete academic record from each university-level institution attended to date. Admitted applicants will be required to send, or ask the appropriate university authorities to send, an official or certified copy of their complete, final academic record from each university-level institution attended to date. McGill graduates are not required to submit McGill transcripts. See www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/ready/submit for instructions on uploading or mailing official documents to McGill. Please note that all 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, become the property of McGill University and will not be returned to the applicant or issuing institution under any circumstance.

A non-refundable fee paid by credit card in Canadian funds must accompany the online application. The fee covers up to two program choices per term. Candidates for Special, Visiting, and Qualifying status must also apply online and pay the application fee. Please note that application fees and other charges are listed on the Student Accounts website.

It is recommended that applicants submit a list of the course titles in the major subject, since transcripts often give code numbers only. Transcripts written in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a translation prepared by a licensed translator. An explanation of the grading system used by the applicant's university is essential. The applicant should also indicate the major subject area in which further study is desired.

Applications and uploaded supporting documents must be submitted according to individual academic unit specifications and deadlines; see www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/programs. International students are advised to apply well in advance of the application deadlines as immigration procedures may be lengthy. Admission to graduate studies at McGill is highly competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

The admission decision is based on the recommendation of the graduate academic unit. Depending on the academic level and strength of the application, and any special circumstances, the application may be verified by the Graduate Admissions Unit in Enrolment Services and/or reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee. All offers of admission have the approval of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and are sent to applicants electronically by Enrolment Services.

Admission Requirements (Minimum Requirements to be Considered for Admission)

Admission Requirements (Minimum Requirements to be Considered for Admission)

Note: The following admission requirements denote the minimum standard for applicants. Some graduate academic units may require additional qualifications or a higher minimum CGPA; applicants are strongly urged to consult the academic unit concerned regarding specific requirements.

Applicants should be graduates of a university of recognized reputation and hold a bachelor's degree of recognized reputation.

The applicant must present evidence of academic achievement: a minimum standing equivalent to a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 out of a possible 4.0 or a CGPA of 3.2 out of 4.0 for the last two full-time academic years. High grades are expected in courses considered by the academic unit to be preparatory to the graduate program. Some academic units impose additional or higher requirements.

See www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/international/apply/equivalency for information on grade equivalencies and degree requirements from countries in Europe and around the world. These equivalencies and requirements are provided for information only and are subject to change without notice.

Application Procedures

Application Procedures

Application Checklist

All supporting application documents and required supplemental materials must be uploaded directly to the McGill admissions processing system. See www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/ready/submit for information and instructions.

  1. Online Application for Admission form: www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/ready.
  2. Application fee: non-refundable Canadian funds payable by credit card cover up to two program choices per term. Some programs may charge additional fees. If applicable, these will be automatically charged when you submit the application form. Please note that application fees and other charges are listed on the Student Accounts website.
  3. Transcripts: your complete record of study from each university-level institution you have attended to date. Uploaded copies are considered unofficial; final, official copies will be required of admitted applicants.
  4. Reference letters: on the application form you must provide the names and email addresses of at least two professors who are familiar with your academic work. McGill will contact these referees and invite them to upload references on your behalf. N.B. some academic units require more than two referees; please consult Admission Requirements and Application Procedures for each academic unit at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/programs. This topic is under discussion; please check with your academic unit before you begin requesting reference letters.
  5. TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT results: when registering for the test, please ensure that you request that results be sent directly to McGill University. McGill will then receive the results electronically, directly from the testing agency.
    Note: Since January 2015, McGill requires IELTS results to be sent electronically.

For detailed information regarding additional documents that may be required by certain academic units, please consult Admission Requirements and Application Procedures for each unit at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/programs.

Document Checklist Terms

Document Checklist Terms

The following terms appear on the Document Checklist and are items or documents that you may be required to upload as part of your application for admission. Please ensure that your use of certain terms conforms to the following definitions:

Audition: a trial performance where a performer demonstrates their suitability or skill.

Curriculum Vitae: an overview of the applicant's experience and other qualifications, including employment, academic credentials, publications, contributions, and significant achievements.

GMAT: Graduate Management Aptitude Test (see Admission Tests below)

GRE: Graduate Records Examination (see Admission Tests below)

Interview: a conversation between the applicant and a McGill representative, using a structured, standardized approach to allow for comparison and analysis of responses from all applicants interviewed; in person, via telephone, Skype, etc.

Personal Statement: an essay in which the applicant describes their reasons for applying to graduate studies and indicating qualifications, qualities, or circumstances the applicant feels to be significant; usually provides information about educational and professional goals and discusses the applicant's interest in the desired field of study.

Portfolio: a collection of the applicant's best work to date, selected by them, and intended to show their mastery of a given style or variety of styles; different samples of their artistic work.

Recording: an unedited recording (audio or video) of the applicant performing at least two contrasting pieces; minimum 20 minutes.

Research Proposal: a detailed description of the proposed program of research, including proposed Thesis Supervisor(s); describes the research background, significance, methodology, and references; may include expected results; may include a detailed curriculum vitae.

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language (see Competency in English below)

Writing Sample: a recent sample of the applicant's written work, on any topic (not necessarily within the desired field of graduate study) and not necessarily previously submitted for evaluation or publication.

Written Work: a sample of the applicant's written work, drawn from essays, papers or other work previously submitted for academic evaluation or publication, and falling within the desired field of graduate study.

Admission Tests

Admission Tests

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08540) consists of a relatively advanced test in the candidates’ specialty, and a general test of their attainments in several basic fields of knowledge for which no special preparation is required or recommended. It is offered at many centres, including Montreal, several times a year; the entire examination takes about eight hours, and there is a registration fee. Refer to www.ets.org/gre for further information. Only some academic units require applicants to write the GRE examination, but all applicants who have written either the general aptitude or the advanced test are advised to ensure that official test results are sent to McGill directly by the testing service.

This credential is of special importance in the case of applicants whose education has been interrupted, or has not led directly toward graduate study in the subject selected. In such cases, the academic unit has the right to insist on a report from the Graduate Record Examination or some similar test. High standing in this examination will not by itself guarantee admission. The Miller Analogies Test may be used similarly. Some academic units of the Faculty of Education also require the taking of various tests.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

Applicants to graduate programs in Management must ensure that official results are released to McGill by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The test is a standardized assessment offered by the GMAC to help business schools assess candidates for admission. For further information, see www.mba.com/global/the-gmat-exam.aspx.

Competency in English

Competency in English

Applicants to graduate studies must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English prior to admission, regardless of citizenship status or country of origin.

Normally, applicants meeting any one of the following conditions are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English:

  1. Mother tongue (language first learned and still used on a daily basis) is English.
  2. Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction.
  3. Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized institution in Canada or the United States of America (anglophone or francophone).
  4. Has lived and attended university, or been employed, for at least four consecutive years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language.

Applicants who do not meet any of the above-listed conditions must demonstrate proficiency in English using one of the following options:

  1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum acceptable scores are:
    Competency in English
    iBT (Internet-based test) PBT (paper-based test)
    86 overall (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores) 550
    N.B. an institutional version of the TOEFL is not acceptable.
  2. IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a band score of 6.5 or greater.
  3. MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): a grade of 85% or higher.
  4. University of Cambridge ESOL Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): a grade of “B” (Good) or higher.
  5. University of Cambridge ESOL Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): a grade of “C” (Pass) or higher.
  6. Pearson Edexcel (formerly Edexcel London) Test of English – Level 5 – with an overall grade of at least “Pass.”
  7. McGill Certificate of Proficiency in English or McGill Certificate of Proficiency – English for Professional Communication: Certificate of Proficiency awarded.

In each case, applicants must ensure that official test results are sent to McGill directly by the testing service. Applications cannot be considered if test results are not available. These scores are general minima; some academic units may set higher requirements.

Revised – July 2008

Admission to a Qualifying Program

Admission to a Qualifying Program

Some applicants whose degree and academic standing make them very good candidates for admission to graduate studies, but who are considered inadequately prepared in the subject selected, may be admitted to a Qualifying program for a master’s. The undergraduate-level courses to be taken in a Qualifying program will be prescribed by the academic unit concerned.

Qualifying students are registered in graduate studies, but not as candidates for a degree. Only one Qualifying year (i.e., two full-time terms) is permitted.

In all cases, after the completion of a Qualifying year or term, an applicant interested in commencing a degree program must apply for admission by the application deadlines. Successful completion of the work in the Qualifying program (B- in all courses) does not automatically entitle the student to proceed toward a degree. Qualifying year students must apply for admission to the program for which they seek qualification.

In cases where an academic unit recommends a change of registration from Qualifying program (Fall) to Master's Degree First Year (Winter), students must apply to the degree program by the academic unit's Winter application deadline. A Qualifying year applicant admitted to a Winter term as a first term of studies must apply for admission for a Fall term as his/her second term of studies.

Students who are ineligible for a Qualifying program may apply to the appropriate undergraduate faculty for admission as regular or Special Students, and seek admission to graduate studies at a later date. The normal admission requirements must be met and the usual procedures followed.

Admission to a Second Degree Program

Admission to a Second Degree Program

A candidate with a given higher degree may apply for admission to a second degree program at the same level but in a different subject. The normal admission requirements must be met and all the usual procedures followed.

Admission to Two Degree Programs

Admission to Two Degree Programs

Students may, with special permission granted by the Graduate Admissions Committee (composed of the Dean and Associate Deans of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) and in consultation with the Graduate Admissions Unit of Enrolment Services, be admitted to two degree programs or to two academic units or faculties. Students are never permitted to pursue two full-time degree programs concurrently.

Admission to an Ad Personam Joint Program

Ad Personam joint graduate programs are restricted to Master's thesis option and Ph.D. programs. Approval for the joint program must be obtained from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The request will be signed by the Chairs of both academic units involved and will explicitly list the conditions imposed. The student will undertake research under the joint supervision of both units.

This program is described in more detail at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/prepare#other.

Admission of Former Students

Admission of Former Students

Students who have reached time limitation, who have officially withdrawn from the University by submitting a Withdrawal Form, or who are not currently registered are eligible to be considered for readmission into their program. The student's academic unit must recommend that the student be readmitted, stipulating any conditions for readmission that it deems appropriate. If the student's unit chooses not to recommend readmission, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies). The decision of the Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

Procedure: Requirements for completion of the program will be evaluated. Some of these requirements may need to be redone or new ones may be added. Fees will be based on the term of readmission up to the time limit of the degree (i.e., Master's 3 or PhD7) plus the term of readmission. Applicants should direct questions regarding fees to the appropriate Graduate Program Coordinator/Administrator.

The Request for Readmission Form and other pertinent details regarding the readmission procedure can be found on the GPS website.

Council – February 9, 2004; Revised January 18, 2016.

Senate – March 23, 2016.

Deferral of Admission

Deferral of Admission

Under exceptional circumstances, an admission for a particular semester can be considered for a deferral. This can be considered only if the student has not registered. If the student has already registered, no deferral can be granted. The student must withdraw from the University and apply for admission to a later term.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2016-2017 (last updated Jul. 15, 2016) (disclaimer)
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2016-2017 (last updated Jul. 15, 2016) (disclaimer)