Indigenous Applicants

McGill Law is committed to supporting Indigenous students and we welcome dialogue with interested prospective BCL/JD applicants.
Image by Claire Sanford.

McGill Law is committed to recruiting and supporting Indigenous students and we welcome dialogue with prospective BCL/JD applicants. First Nations, Inuit and Métis persons are strongly encouraged to apply to the Faculty of Law, and are invited to self-identify on their application form.

We do not have a separate applicant category for Indigenous students or applicants from other underrepresented groups in view of our overall holistic process. However, self-identification allows McGill to inform Indigenous students of specific services and funding opportunities and to assess our progress in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students. Self-identification includes 'Status,' 'Treaty,' 'Registered', 'Non-Status,' and 'Non-Registered' Indigenous persons.  

Linguistic support

We acknowledge that our bilingualism admission requirement may represent an added challenge for some Indigenous applicants for whom English or French may be a third language, and potentially perceived as a colonizing influence. We do not wish Indigenous candidates to exclude themselves from applying on linguistic grounds – and we encourage you to speak with us if you have concerns on this point.

Financial support is available to admitted Indigenous candidates who wish to improve their abilities in English or French before starting the program and to continue to address a relative weakness in English or French during legal studies here. This program is generously supported by the McCarthy Tétrault Fund for Language Training. Please contact us to find out more!

Indigenous Student Financial Assistance

McGill has established a funding program for Indigenous students, made possible in part by Indspire, an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous peoples of Canada.

Additional Documentation for Indigenous Applicants

We recognize that Indigenous peoples are distinct from other equity-seeking groups in light of the historical and structural effects of colonialism, and we are sensitive to the varied ways in which Indigenous peoples are affected. For this reason, we are interested in understanding Indigenous applicants’ connection to community, or if this connection does not yet exist, the kind of connections the Indigenous applicant would like to build with Indigenous communities in relation to their law school experience.

Indigenous applicants who have self-identified on the application form are required to upload additional documentation to support their connection to an Indigenous community. This documentation should include a statement, separate from the Personal Statement where you can elaborate on your current connection to the Indigenous community and how this may have affected your educational path and goals. If a connection to the Indigenous community does not exist, we invite you to describe your aspirations for legal education as it relates to the Indigenous community. You may support your statement with documentation indicating your connection to an Indigenous community.

This additional documentation will allow the Admissions Committee to incorporate relevant context in the holistic admission evaluation process and to take into consideration the experiences unique to Indigenous applicants.

Indigenous research and experiential opportunities

McGill offers students the opportunity to study and complete research with a wide range of legal scholars in English and French. The Faculty is host to a vibrant Indigenous Law Students’ Association and the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism's Aboriginal Human Rights Initiatives.

McGill also gives students the possibility to acquire practical experience working at the Legal Clinic at Kahnawake, to participate in the Faculty's outreach program L.E.X. (Law-Éducation-Connexion) with Kahnawake Survival School, as well as the chance to participate in the national Kawaskimhon Moot or to complete at McGill a Minor in Indigenous Studies.

Students can partake in a term-away at the Indigenous Peoples and Policies Program at the University of Arizona, and the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Indigenous students may be eligible for numerous sources of financial support.

Pre-law program for Native People

Indigenous Law Centre Programming

The Indigenous Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan offers curriculum and programming that aims to facilitate access to legal education for Indigenous peoples, to promote the development of the law and the legal system in Canada in ways which better accommodate the advancement of Indigenous peoples and communities, and to disseminate information concerning Indigenous peoples and the law.

We encourage all incoming students to explore the opportunities available at the Indigenous Law Centre before beginning their legal studies at McGill.

In order to facilitate access to this program and help offset the cost of associated living expenses and course materials, the Faculty of Law is pleased to offer financial support to incoming Indigenous BCL/JD students attending the Indigenous Law Centre. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

First People's House

McGill's First Peoples' House provides a sense of community and a voice for Indigenous students who have left their communities to study at McGill. A “home away from home,” First Peoples’ House offers a mentoring program, computer facilities, guest lectures, elder visits, academic counselling, and an ever-expanding resource centre as well as housing.

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