Graduate Reasearch Trainees


If you are enrolled in a graduate program at another university and would like to attend McGill for a limited period of time (up to a maximum of 12 months) to conduct research only, you must apply as a Graduate Research Trainee.

Please note:  Extensions beyond 12 months are not granted. 

This category of registration is for students registered in graduate programs in other universities to conduct PART of their thesis research at McGill under the supervision of a McGill professor.

The purpose of the training period at McGill must be described. Acceptable reasons include:

  • the student is engaged in collaborative projects between professor(s) at McGill and the student’s sponsoring Institution;
  • the student wishes to take advantage of specific expertise, academic resources or technical capabilities at McGill to enhance the thesis research being conducted at the sponsoring Institution;
  • the student is spending a stage at McGill under a specific Memorandum of Understanding between McGill and the sponsoring Institution;
  • the student’s thesis supervisor has relocated to McGill, but the student remains registered at the former Institution to complete his/her graduate degree

Please note:  The category of Graduate Research Trainee cannot be used to conduct the majority of thesis research at McGill under the supervision of a McGill professor.



Students applying to be a graduate research trainee

  • must be registered in a graduate degree program at another university
  • must have permission from the sponsoring Institution and include a letter of permission with the application
  • must have the approval of a McGill professor and graduate program to supervise the research
  • may apply for a start date throughout the academic year, but for administrative reasons, must reapply at the beginning of the formal academic year (for Fall term admission) if remaining at McGill
    • e.g., if you begin a 12-month visit in January, you must reapply for the Fall term (September)
    • A trainee may spend up to a total of 12 months at McGill, but the time does not have to be consecutive
    • The trainee can apply for multiple stages over a period of time that does not exceed 12 months
  • must include copies of transcripts (as part of the application package)
  • must demonstrate adequate proficiency in English to function in the university environment, including any required safety training and understanding of policies and procedures
  • Assessment of written and verbal language skills is the responsibility of the supervising professor
  • are not charged fees for any term of registration including summer terms
  • Membership to athletics services may be purchased
  • Graduate Research Trainees do have access to McGill libraries, email, and required training in research ethics and safety
  • are not charged any Student Services or Ancillary fees and thus do not have access to these services (including health insurance)
  • must arrange for basic health insurance coverage prior to arrival at McGill and may be required to provide proof of coverage


Admissions/registration checklist

1. Complete the Graduate Research Trainee registration form.

2.  Prepare your Letter of Permission.

  • Enclose with the Graduate Research Trainee registration form a Letter of Permission, signed by a competent authority at your University (such as the Registrar)
  • The Letter of Permission must:
    • acknowledge that you are permitted to pursue your research at McGill University
    • give a specific Start and End date for the period you are permitted to be at McGill (for example: January 1, 2010 to July 15, 2010)
    • describe the purpose of the training period at McGill (see Eligibility)
    • be an original, bearing the signature of the signing official
    • be on letterhead of your University
      • Note:  To expedite the processing of your file, an email version of the Letter of Permission will be accepted as a placeholder.  However, the original must be submitted upon your arrival for completion of your file.

3.  Prepare your transcripts.

  • Enclose copies of transcripts from the university where you are currently enrolled (these need not be official).

4.  Review process.

  • Once your file is complete (i.e., all required documents received), it will be reviewed by the unit and forwarded to Management of Academic Records, Enrolment Services.

5.  Notification.

  • Management of Academic Records, Enrolment Services will send you an invitation letter which you can use to obtain the necessary work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

n.b. All of the above steps (1 through 5) are to be completed before you come to McGill.  Invitations cannot be made retroactive.

NOTE: If you have received an invitation letter from McGill and are not able to attend or your start date is delayed, you must inform Management of Academic Records by email, in order for your traineeship to be cancelled or your start date changed.

Please remember that you must make your own arrangements for health coverage (insurance) for the duration of your visit to McGill. You may be required to provide proof of coverage upon your arrival at McGill. 

As a Graduate Research Trainee you will not be charged any tuition or ancillary fees; however, this means that you will not be a member of any student society and will not be eligible for services provided by Student or Enrolment Services in relation to this appointment (e.g., Student Health Service, advice on immigration issues, etc.). You will be issued a McGill Student ID card which will give you access to University buildings and labs pertinent to your area of research as well as the libraries. Should you wish to use the athletics facilities you may purchase a membership.


Tax information

McGill University will not issue T2202A forms to Research Trainees, as they are not registered at McGill in an eligible program for the Canadian federal income tax "Education amount". Therefore, any scholarship, fellowship or stipend received while a Research Trainee at McGill may be subject to Canadian federal income tax, unless the trainee is eligible for the "Education amount" through an appropriate student status at their home university during that period. Please consult the relevant Canadian federal income tax guide for further information.


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