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Student Rights and Responsibilities

Below is information about student rights and responsibilities.

Office of the Dean of Students


What we do:

The staff of the Office of the Dean of Students help to solve problems and to explain policies and procedures regarding Student Rights and Responsibilities. We work with student officers and organizations and provide liaison between students and other sectors of the university. The Dean of Students and the Associate Dean of Students work closely with Student Services, as well as Security Service, to ensure the quality of student life on campus and coordinate policies in the area of student affairs, student rights and conduct, and academic integrity on both campuses.

Student Rights and Responsibilities:

The Handbooks on Student Rights and Responsibilities
The Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities outlines your rights and responsibilities as a student at McGill. A general theme in the Handbook is a dedication to academic integrity and appropriate conduct at McGill. 

Resources and Regulations

Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures

Student behavior, both academic and non-academic, is governed by a specific set of regulations that prohibit unethical practices such as cheating, plagiarism and double submissions, as well as offences such as theft, vandalism, misuse of university property, and harassment. Students suspected of offences are called to an interview with a disciplinary officer who is usually the Associate Dean (Student Affairs) of your faculty.

The quality of university life and the quality of the degrees conferred are dependent upon the honesty of the teacher-student relationship and on the soundness of the evaluation process. Conduct by any member of the university community that diminishes these standards is considered a serious offence. You are required to inform yourself about the meaning of “academic integrity” at McGill, and you will find several resources to help you at http://www.mcgill.ca/students/srr/honest

You are entitled to have an advisor present in proceedings pertaining to the Code of Student Grievance Procedures and the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. You should be aware that such an advisor must be a member of the University community and must not be paid for their services.

Charter of Students’ Rights and the Code of Student Grievance Procedures

Students who believe that they have been treated unfairly by those in authority at the university have the right to lodge a grievance with the Committee on Student Grievances. If you encounter such a situation and need guidance, either the Ombudsperson for Students or the Dean of Students can assist you. The Ombudsperson is available to try to solve problems through informal means, including information, advice, and referral. Students should usually speak to the Ombudsperson before lodging a formal grievance. The Ombudsperson is a member of the McGill faculty who is highly respected by staff and students alike.

Committee for Graduate Student Support (CGSS)

Graduate students and postdocs can approach the Committee for Graduate Student Support (CGSS), which has trained volunteers who can direct you to community groups and campus resources to pursue grievances and seek support. They also administer the Trust Fund for Student Support, which exists to alleviate expenses arising from a civil or human rights violation, whether legal or otherwise.

Relevant Policies

Intellectual Property Policy
Harassment Policy

Legal Information

Legal Information Clinic


Staffed by students in the Faculty of Law, the Legal Information Clinic at McGill provides free legal information and referral assistance over the phone or in person. Staff members are available for consultation with individuals who want to know their rights in various issue areas, such as landlord-tenant relations, family law, and immigration. The Legal Information Clinic also provides a free Commissioner of Oaths service.

Student Advocacy


The Student Advocacy Programme, a proud part of the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, is an independent, free, and confidential service for McGill students. They provide advice and representation to McGill students accused of an academic or non-academic disciplinary offence or who are involved in a dispute with the University or a representative of the University.

What to do if you have problems or concerns

The Hierarchy of Help

You have an issue with your supervisor, a colleague, a professor; you received a failing grade; you have an unexpected problem with funding and/or tuition. Who do you go to first?

Graduate Program Director
If you encounter a problem with a course grade, supervisor, colleague, research assistantship, tuition or any other academicrelated issue, the first person you should consult (after attempting to resolve the issue diplomatically with the individual at issue) is your graduate program director. McGill has compiled a list of Current Graduate Program Directors and Secretaries that can be found here. If your department does not have a graduate program director, you should speak to your department chair.

Department Chair
If your problem cannot be resolved with the help of your graduate program director, it may be necessary to contact your Department Chair. A more formal process would involve the Dean of your Faculty, or indeed moving outside of your Faculty for administrative help.

Ombudsperson for Students
If you do not feel comfortable discussing your issues with your GPD or Department Chair, you can contact the McGill Ombudsperson for assistance. The Ombudsperson for students is available to try to solve problems through informal means, including information, advice, and referral. Students should usually speak to the Ombudsperson before lodging a formal grievance. The Ombudsperson is a member of the McGill faculty who is highly respected by staff and students alike.

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
If you decide that you need to seek formal assistance outside of your Faculty, and you have consulted the Ombudsperson about your issue, we then recommend contacting the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. The Associate Dean is responsible for helping graduate students and postdocs deal with problematic situations, and is also the disciplinary officer for all graduate students.

Contact Us:

GPDs and Department Chairs

Ombudsperson for Students

Associate Dean of Grad Studies
To set up an appointment with the Associate Dean for your area, call 514-398-1224


Q. Where can I go to learn about my rights and responsibilities?

A. The Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities at McGill is on the website of the Dean of Students. The Red Book is a graduate calendar offering information on program requirements, important dates, and courses. If you have any questions about these, contact the CGSS.

Q. What do I do if I have a conflict with one of my colleagues?

A. This situation is more common than most of us think. If you can, try to discuss the problem with your colleague directly. If this is impossible, talk to your supervisor about your situation, and see if they can help. The Ombudsperson can also help you negotiate conflict situations with colleagues, you should always consider this as a resource to help you problem solve.

Q. Where can I find funding information?

A. For information on McGill Funding, visit our website. Your next resource should be your graduate program director or the department chair. The Red Book also publishes a section on graduate student funding, and lists a number of sources within the university. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies conducts many workshops on writing research proposals, and provides information on national and provincial funding agencies on their website.

Q. How do I find out about procedures in my department (comps, coursework, dissertation defense, etc)?

A. Many departments have graduate program directors and secretaries whose job is to provide this kind of information to graduate students. A list of directors and secretaries can be found here. If your department does not have a graduate program director, contact your department chair. If you run into a problem or have questions that cannot be addressed by your graduate program director, you should consult the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, in the Office for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Q. Who can I talk to about balancing course work, TA-ships, RA-ships, part-time work? Where can I get information about job searches, networking skills or building my CV?

A. The office for McGill’s Career Planning Services offers a number of career-building services for graduate students and postdocs. Visit the CaPS website for more information.

Q. Who can help me negotiate the McGill administrative bureaucracy?

A. Sometimes graduate school can be a confusing place. Learning who to talk to and when can be a sensitive and complicated endeavor. If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused by the administrative hoops you're jumping through, or if you just want to talk, vent your frustrations, or get information, contact the CGSS. A caseworker will be ready to listen, and provide you with the information you need to have a smooth and successful graduate career at McGill.

Contact Us

Committee for Graduate Student Support (CGSS)
Click on Services for Members / Student Support.