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. The Faculty’s excellence is rooted in the diversity of our learning community.
Our admissions process is holistic, meaning that reviewers consider at all aspects of an application to get an overall sense of the candidate. Committee reviewers assess the applicant's academic strength; abilities in English and French; expression of motivations for studying law; extracurricular, community or professional activities; and references (see Supporting documents) all to understand the applicant and what they might contribute to our Faculty and the legal profession.
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, and judgement. We have no quotas for any categories of applicants. While we do not apply GPA or LSAT cut-offs, evidence of academic abilities remains critical.
We seek to create a diverse community of learners drawn from across Quebec, Canada and beyond, in which there is a wide range of career aspirations, backgrounds and life experiences. This approach contributes to the rich and dynamic learning environment for which McGill Law is renowned.
How we make admissions decisions
The BCL/JD is a limited enrollment program with highly competitive admission. Each year the Faculty welcomes approximately 180 students in its first-year cohort. The number of applications is approximately eight times greater than the number of available places. Consequently we must refuse many qualified candidates every year.
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, four senior law students selected by the Law Students' Association Executive, the Assistant Dean, Inclusion – Black and Indigenous, and the Assistant Dean, Admissions and Recruitment.
We conduct a limited number of admissions interviews, most between March and May. We interview a selection of CEGEP candidates, of whom some receive offers of admission. We also interview select University and Mature candidates and candidates applying under the optional Indigenous applicant category.
Interviews may be held in person at the Faculty of Law or via videoconference. Conducted by two professors, they are typically no longer than 25 minutes. Interviewers engage with applicants to test their ability to articulate a position and their critical thinking skills. Interviewers typically use issues or experiences mentioned in the candidate’s application as a starting point. Particularly for CEGEP candidates, interviewers also assess maturity, readiness for our program, and reasons for studying law directly from CEGEP.
Separate from this process of interviews, the Admissions Office tests some applicants’ language proficiency. 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, 2SLGBTQ+ people, women, people who are the first in their family to attend a post-secondary institution or are from an economically disadvantaged background, and others who may face systemic barriers that impact their access to education.
In accordance with McGill's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan and the Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism, we are committed to increasing enrolment of students from specific equity-deserving groups, including, Black, Indigenous and first-generation university students. We strongly encourage applicants from these communities and those belonging to other equity-deserving groups to include information in their Personal Statements on how their circumstances, experience, work, community involvement, and extra-curricular activities relate to their desire and preparation for the study of law at McGill University.
As of September 1, 2022, McGill students and applicants can now list their legal gender marker as “X” on McGill records to match their legal documents. This update comes just three months after the Province of Québec passed legislation which recognizes the new third legal gender marker X. McGill’s Student Information System now allows applicant users to select the new gender marker X on their file. BCL/JD applicants can select their legal gender marker when applying through the Applicant Portal. Applicants wishing to change their legal gender marker after their application is submitted should complete the applicant profile form in the Applicant Portal.
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 returned to in-person teaching in Fall 2021.
As stated in the Faculty’s Academic Regulations, 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).
At the time of admission, 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:
- disability, defined as a physical, mental, learning or sensory impairment that restricts the candidate’s ability to perform the daily activities necessary to pursue studies on a full-time basis at a postsecondary level, as attested by a professional in the relevant specialization;
- pregnancy and childbirth; and
- responsibility as a primary caregiver for an individual that the candidate regularly and continuously assists in carrying out a basic activity of daily living.
Applicants seeking admission to study on a part-time basis must submit a separate letter outlining the reason they need to study part-time, accompanied by supporting documentation. 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 must 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 eligibility 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
Except for the circumstances described below, the Faculty of Law does not normally accept requests for deferred entry. Candidates are expected to start the program on the date and term they applied for and as indicated in their 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. They may exceptionally be granted for activities that are specific and time-bound that would add to the caliber of the student’s profile. Decisions on deferrals are made by the Assistant Dean, (Admissions and Recruitment) and are final.
Candidates wishing to submit a deferral request must follow the process below:
- The offer of admission must be accepted, and the $400 deposit paid.
- A written request (a detailed email is fine) for a one-year deferral must be submitted to the attention of the Assistant Dean (Admissions and Recruitment) outlining the reason for the request.
- Relevant supporting documentation (i.e., admission letter, employment contract, medical diagnosis, etc.) must be attached.
The evaluation of deferral requests is made according to the following criteria:
- Strength of application (likelihood that the candidate would be admitted to the BCL/JD program in subsequent admissions cycles).
- Substance of request: please note that deferrals of admission are very exceptional within the Faculty of Law and generally permitted only for extenuating circumstances beyond one’s control.
Note: Deferrals are not granted for financial reasons nor for completing conditions of admission.
Candidates wishing to request a deferral for non-extenuating circumstances (i.e., an academic program or employment opportunity) must do so by August 1 of the cycle for which they are admitted. Only deferrals for extenuating circumstances will be considered after August 1 until the University’s fall add/drop deadline.
As of 2023: Deferral Policy for Parliamentary Internship Program Participants
McGill Law seeks to admit students from myriad backgrounds with unique life and work experiences. The excellence of our learning community is rooted in the diversity of the perspectives our students bring with them. The Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP) admits 10 outstanding university graduates annually, who spend a year gaining practical skills that are useful for work in the Parliament of Canada and government. Many students admitted to the BCL/JD program over the years have participated in the PIP prior to their law school experience, bringing their valuable perspectives with them. In recognition of the value and relevance of the PIP to our unique bilingual, transsystemic program, admitted BCL/JD candidates who have been accepted to the PIP are eligible for a one-year deferral to allow them to participate in the internship. These candidates should submit their request in accordance with the process outlined above.
Deferral Policy for Indigenous Applicants undertaking Language Courses
Indigenous applicants to the BCL/JD program who have been admitted with a condition to improve their proficiency in either French or English are eligible for a one-year deferral to allow them to complete the required training. These candidates should submit their request in accordance with the process outlined above.