Mission statement of the Admissions Office
The Admissions Office at the McGill University Faculty of Law supports the selection of future members of the legal community. We advance the Faculty and University’s institutional goals through the attraction of a pool of diverse and talented candidates. We strive for excellence in all aspects of our operations. Conscious of the implications of our work on access to justice, we are committed to dismantling systemic barriers to legal education. In all that we do, we uphold the principles of equity, fairness, transparency, consistency, sustainability and integrity.
What we look for in our students
The Faculty’s admissions policy is to select applicants who are best suited to studying law in McGill’s unique comparative, transsystemic, and bilingual environment. Diversity and excellence are essential to our Faculty. Indeed, our Faculty’s excellence is based on its diversity.
Our admissions process is holistic, meaning that reviewers look at all aspects of an application to get a sense of the candidate as a whole. Committee reviewers assess the applicant's academic ability, linguistic abilities, personal motivations for studying law, extracurricular, community or professional activities, and references (see Supporting documents) with a view to gaining an understanding of the applicant and what they might contribute to our Faculty and to the study of law generally.
The Admissions Committee is looking for applicants who have the ability to succeed academically in our rigorous academic program, as well as 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. We do not use GPA or LSAT cut-offs and we do not have quotas for categories of applicants.
We seek to create a diverse learning community drawn from across Quebec, Canada and beyond, in which there is a wide range of career aspirations, backgrounds and life experiences. We have found year after year that this approach leads to a rich and dynamic learning environment for which McGill Law has become known.
How we make admissions decisions
The BCL/JD is a limited enrollment program for which admission is competitive. Each year the Faculty admits approximately 180 new students. The number of applications is approximately 8 times greater than the number of available places. Unfortunately, every year we must refuse many qualified candidates due to lack of space in the program.
Files are reviewed by the Admissions Office and the Faculty's Admissions Committee, which is composed of full-time faculty members appointed by the Dean, two senior law students selected by the Law Students' Association Executive, and the Assistant Dean, Admissions and Recruitment. Files are read by 1-4 file reviewers before a final decision is rendered. Due to the competitiveness of the program, we must unfortunately refuse many qualified applicants.
We conduct a limited number of interviews as part of the Admissions process. The majority of interviews take place between March and May. All CEGEP candidates are interviewed before being sent an offer of admission. We do not interview all CEGEP candidates, only those whom we are interested in admitting. We also interview select University and Mature candidates.
Interviews are held in person at the Faculty of Law; or, when this is not possible, via videoconference. They are 25 minutes in length and with two Faculty members. The goal of the interviews are to become engaged in an analytic conversation with applicants; to test their ability to articulate a position, and critical thinking skills. Interviewers typically use issues raised or experiences indicated in the candidate’s own application file as a starting point for conversation. Particularly for CEGEP candidates, interviewers are also assessing maturity, readiness for our program, and reasons for studying law directly from CEGEP.
Language proficiency testing is NOT an admissions interview. See the ‘Language requirements’ section of the Eligibility page for more.
Equity and diversity
The Faculty of Law is committed to equity and diversity. We welcome applications from Indigenous people, people with disabilities, racialized people, gender non-conforming and trans people, LGBTQ+ people, women, people from an economically disadvantaged background, and others who may face systemic barriers that impact their access to education.
We strongly encourage applicants belonging an equity-deserving group to include information in their Personal Statements on how their personal circumstances, lived experience, work, community involvement, and extra-curricular activities relate to their desire and preparation to study law at McGill University.
To meet its government reporting obligations, McGill University is required to collect legal sex designation in its application form, with options limited to only two categories (male, female). McGill University is actively working with its government and post-secondary partners to create a more inclusive reporting system that recognizes and respects sex and gender diversity. In the interim, applicants are invited to use the other elements of their application to elaborate on gender identity, as they deem appropriate. This information will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and used in a manner consistent with the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
All applicants are required to submit the Admissions Demographic Survey as part of the Supporting Documents requirements. Each survey question contains the response “Prefer Not to Answer” and as a result, applicants are given the choice as to the information they choose to provide. This survey requests demographic information which is used for statistics and the assessment and development of our recruitment and outreach efforts. The individual responses to the survey will not be considered in deciding on a candidate’s admission.
The BCL/JD program is a full-time program with courses offered Monday to Friday during the day. Although some courses may finish later, the majority of our courses are held between 8:00 and 19:00. The Faculty does not offer evening classes, correspondence or distance courses, 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.
NOTE: Exceptionally, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McGill University provided the majority of its courses remotely during 2020, but will return to in-person teaching beginning in Fall 2021.
A candidate may seek permission to pursue studies on a part-time basis, either before admission (from the Admissions Committee which will consult the Associate Dean, Academic) or while studying in the Faculty (from the Associate Dean, Academic). The Faculty may grant permission in very exceptional circumstances for the duration of studies or for a limited period. Specifically, the student must demonstrate that full-time study is impossible for any of the following reasons, the validity of which shall be established to the satisfaction of the Associate Dean, Academic:
- Health problems (including mental health), physical disability
- Responsibility for the primary care of others
- Serious financial hardship
- Other exceptional circumstances
Applicants seeking admission to study on a part-time basis must submit a separate letter outlining the reason they need to study part-time. The Admissions Committee evaluates applications for part-time study on the same basis as those for full-time study.
Students granted permission to register on a part-time basis must register for a minimum of nine credits per term, and complete all the requirements of the BCL/JD program within seven academic years.
Candidates seeking admission on a part-time basis must fulfill all the standard entrance requirements of the Faculty of Law.
Honesty and integrity of applicants
McGill University and the Faculty of Law value honesty and integrity. Applicants to the Faculty of Law are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.
The submission of false, incomplete, inconsistent or misleading information, or any omission that may result in a false or misleading conclusion, constitutes misconduct in the admission process. Instances of such misconduct include, as examples: the submission of a Personal Statement that was not written by the applicant, and failure to disclose an LSAT score.
A finding of misconduct in the application process may lead to a refusal or, if an offer of admission has already been extended, a withdrawal of the offer at the sole discretion of the University. Intent is not an element of a finding of misconduct.
As a member school of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), McGill’s Faculty of Law reserves the right to report any misconduct to LSAC’s Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admissions Process Subcommittee for its investigation.
Faculty deferral policy
The Faculty of Law does not normally accept requests for deferred entry. You are expected to start the program on the date and term you applied for and as indicated on your admission offer letter. Deferrals of admission are very exceptional within the Faculty of Law and generally permitted only for extenuating circumstances beyond one's control. Decisions on deferrals are made by the Assistant Dean (, Admissions and Recruitment) and are final.
If you nonetheless seek to request 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 then submit, in writing, a request for the deferral. The request should be addressed to the Assistant Dean, Admissions and 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.