Supporting Documents

Supporting Documents

Instructions for supporting documents have recently changed. Please read this entire page carefully before submitting your supporting documents. In particular, if you are a re-applicant to the program, ensure that you inform yourself of these changes before re-applying.

With the exception of references and some transcripts, applicants must upload supporting documents on Minerva by the supporting document deadline specified by applicant category.

Applicants must ensure that their application is complete with all supporting documents. Files will only be reviewed when all supporting documents have been received.

Note for International students

In addition to preparing the supporting documents below, non-Canadian applicants should contact the Canadian Embassy in their home country at least one year prior to program start date to find out what type of additional official documents may be needed, along with medical examinations, etc. McGill International Student Services provides valuable information about this, including Pre-Arrival Orientation Webinars.

Supporting documents required for all categories of applicants (unless otherwise indicated):

  • All post-secondary transcripts
  • Personal statement (750 word maximum)
  • Curriculum vitae (2-page maximum)
  • 2 References (not required for Exchange applicants)

Additional documents may be required:

  • Letter of permission (Exchange and Visiting applicants only) 
  • Photocopy of passport (Exchange applicants only)
  • Final decision from the Comité des équivalences of the Barreau du Québec (Comité des équivalences applicants only)
  • Final decision from the Chambre des notaires (Chambre des notaires applicants only)
  • Supporting Documentation for Indigenous Applicants (for applicants who have self-identified only)

Applicants do not need to submit their LSAT test results. The Admissions Offices receives LSAT results directly from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for those candidates who have taken, or plan to take, the LSAT.

Documents submitted to McGill University in support of an application, including, but not limited to transcripts, diplomas, references, and test scores (in paper or electronic format), become the property of McGill University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another institution.

Admissions checklist

Within 48 hours of successful submission of the online application form, applicants will receive an acknowledgement email which will allow them to login to Minerva and upload their supporting documents. In Minerva, an admissions checklist will show you the status of your file. Please consult your checklist regularly as this is where the Admissions office will update your file and indicate if more, or revised, information is needed.

If the supporting document you uploaded shows a date in the “date received” column on the admissions checklist, then the document has been accepted by the Admissions Office. If the date received column reads “incomplete document”, “bad scan”, or “wrong document”, there is a problem with the document you uploaded and the Admissions office is asking you to upload a new version. Please pay particular attention to uploaded transcripts on the admissions checklist, as these files are often problematic due to illegible scans.

New items may also be added to your checklist when necessary to complete the admissions file. It is important that applicants respond to such requests for documentation by uploading the appropriate document in a timely manner.

During peak periods (i.e., close to deadlines), the volume of document intake is extremely high (over 1,400 applications per admissions cycle) and there may be a delay of up to 48 hours between the receipt of a document and the corresponding change in status on your admissions checklist in Minerva. Taking this delay into consideration, please contact the Law Admissions Office only if your file remains incomplete 48 hours past the deadline for supporting documents.

Uploading supporting documents

With the exception of references, you must upload your supporting documents via Minerva. Do not mail or email them to the Admissions Office.

Some documents may be uploaded only once. You must ensure that you upload the correct version. Only your CV and transcripts may be replaced with updated documents. 

Documents to be uploaded via Minerva Number of uploads allowed
Unofficial transcripts Updated version accepted
Personal statement One
CV Updated version accepted
Letter of extenuating circumstances (if applicable) One

Only required supporting documents will be added to your file. Please refrain from sending other items, as these will not be considered as part of your admission file.

Please see the instructions for uploading supporting documents on the Applying to McGill website.

Submit your documents as early as possible. If you wait until the deadline to submit your documents, the Admissions office will be less available to assist you should you encounter issues in the process.

Inquiries about supporting documents should be directed to:
Email: admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca

Mailing supporting documents (exceptional circumstances only)

NOTE: Due to the closure of McGill University because of COVID-19, until further notice, please refrain from mailing anything to the Faculty of Law directly.

In exceptional circumstances, uploading documents may not be possible. In such cases, applicants may mail, courier, or submit documents in person to this address:  

BCL/JD Admissions Office
Faculty of Law, McGill University
New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street, Room 418
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
CANADA

Documents sent by mail must be postmarked or delivered on or before the relevant deadline date. Documents sent by email or fax will not be accepted, unless specifically indicated in the instructions for document submission.

Transcripts

Applicants must submit a complete academic record from all previous post-secondary studies, as well as subsequent transcripts issued to the applicant after the deadline date, until such time as the applicant has received a final decision from the Admissions Committee.

All previous post-secondary studies includes transcripts for studies completed while on exchange, unless the marks as well as the credits obtained are already included on transcripts issued by your home university. It also includes transcripts from French or English courses taken outside a degree program, which would contribute to an assessment of your language competency. You must also report any courses taken outside a degree program in the University History section (or the Quebec Collegial Studies section) of the online application form.

Transcripts for studies in Quebec universities may be submitted electronically via the BCI system (formerly known as CREPUQ). Applicants must contact the Registrar of their home university to request transcript submission via the BCI system.

Transcripts for studies at McGill are obtained by the Admissions office directly from McGill's Enrolment Services. However, applicants who studied at McGill and participated in an exchange must submit transcripts for their exchange grades.

CEGEP transcripts are obtained by the Admissions office electronically from the Québec Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES). Applicants must provide their permanent code in order for the Admissions office to access these transcripts.

All other transcripts must be uploaded via Minerva. This includes Quebec French baccalaureate transcripts. Transcripts that are uploaded via Minerva are considered unofficial. The Admissions office will request official transcripts if and when an offer of admission is made. Our offer of admission will be conditional upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. If you have uploaded unofficial transcripts, you are not required to submit official transcripts until we request them from you.

Scanning your transcripts for Minerva: Make sure that the page orientation of the scanned document matches the original. For example, transcripts that are printed vertically (portrait) should be scanned so that they appear in portrait format. Transcripts printed horizontally (landscape) should appear in landscape format. To prevent refusal of your uploaded transcripts, please make sure that your scans are legible – for example, they are not fuzzy, too small, or too pale to read easily. Please see the “Admissions Checklist” section above, for information on how to know whether your documents have been approved or refused as illegible by the Admissions office.

Submitting official transcripts: Official transcripts must be sent to the Admissions Office by mail in an envelope sealed by the Registrar of the issuing institution. If your institution offers the option of sending official e-transcripts to McGill, the email address to use is: officialschooldocs [at] mcgill.ca. This email address is for the reception of official transcripts and/or proof of graduation only and must be sent to us directly from the institution or 3rd party service provider (e.g. Parchment, NSC, Digitary).

NOTE: McGill University reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and rescind an offer of admission in the event of discrepancies between unofficial and official transcripts.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all required transcripts are submitted as early as possible.

Transcripts in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation provided either by the school issuing the transcript or by a certified translator.

Transfer students should forward the transcript of their winter term results as soon as they become available. Transfer applications will not be evaluated without these results.

McGill Law Admissions does not receive transcripts through the Law School Data Assembly Service or through OLSAS.

LSAT results are received by the Admissions office directly from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for those candidates who have taken, or plan to take, the LSAT. You therefore do not need to submit your LSAT transcripts.

Transcripts sent to McGill become the property of the University and will not be returned or forwarded to other institutions.

Personal statement

Applicants must submit an essay of a maximum of 750 words, referred to as the Personal Statement.

What is the purpose of the Personal Statement?

The Personal Statement is your moment to showcase the unique aspects of your motivations, your background, and your personality that make you a compelling candidate for our program.

The Admissions Committee relies on the Personal Statement to understand the factors that motivate you to pursue a legal education, the particular meaning that the study of law holds for you, and the reasons for your interest in our program. In addition, your Personal Statement shows the Admissions Committee your writing style, your ability to present your ideas in English and/or French, and your maturity and judgment as shown through your writing.

What is the Admissions Committee looking for in reading your Personal Statement?

The Admissions Committee is interested in hearing why you want to study law, why you are interested in McGill in particular, and what you will bring to our learning community. The Committee looks for indicators of intellectual curiosity, community engagement, political/social insight, leadership skills, ability to work with others, openness to diversity (cultural, linguistic and otherwise), maturity, judgment, and potential for development through opportunity or adversity.

We strongly encourage applicants belonging an equity-seeking 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.

The Personal Statement should be a product of your own reflection. We truly value a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and future aspirations. Whether you wish to become a practicing lawyer or you have other ideas about your career path following a legal education, your application, and specifically your Personal Statement, should show thoughtful consideration of your reasons for studying law, and at our Faculty in particular.

Practical Tips

Read our Admissions Policies to get a sense of what we look for in our admitted students.

Before writing, reflect critically on your motivations, your interests, and your convictions, and their connection to our program. Do some research on our law faculty and others. Law faculties all tend to have their own strengths and particularities. Doing some research may help you identify and articulate why you are interested in studying at McGill in particular.

The Personal Statement should not be used as a vehicle for narrating or repeating your CV. You have a limited amount of writing space; make it count. Do not repeat aspects of your candidacy that the Committee will see in other documents unless these aspects are directly linked to your interest in studying law at McGill. Be authentic. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to be original, but be careful not to sacrifice substance.

You may submit your Personal Statement in English, French, or both. It is important that you write the statement in whatever of the two language(s) you are most comfortable expressing yourself. It is not recommended to use the Personal Statement as a way to establish your bilingualism unless you are very comfortable expressing yourself in the other language.

Importantly, make sure that your Personal Statement follows our formatting guidelines (see below) and that it has grammatical integrity. Only one submission of the Personal Statement is accepted so it is important to submit the Personal Statement in its final version of both format and substance.

Indigenous applicants are invited to submit additional documentation in addition to the Personal Statement. Please see the Indigenous Applicants page for more information.

Re-applicants

Candidates who have applied to the Faculty in the past must submit a new Personal Statement with any new application. Re-applicants who make no substantive changes to their Personal Statement from one application to the next are unlikely to be viewed as competitive.

Format

Maximum 750 words

Include a word count at the end of your Personal Statement.

Indicate your name and McGill ID (found in the Minerva acknowledgement notice) at the top right corner of all pages.

CV

Applicants are required to submit a CV highlighting:

  • Academic background and achievements;
  • Work experience;
  • Volunteer and community work;
  • Extra-curricular activities, sports, hobbies, and other significant interests.

The CV assists the Admissions Committee in its assessment of a candidate's academic strength, depth of involvement in extra-curricular activities, leadership, and time management skills.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to indicate the number of hours worked during their studies, as well as the time commitment involved in any volunteer and community activities. It is in applicants’ interests to share with the Admissions Committee their academic and non-academic contributions and distinctions. Any and all work experience is relevant.

Re-applicants

Candidates who have applied to the Faculty of Law in previous years are required to submit an updated CV.

Format

While you may format your CV in any way that best presents your information, the CV must conform to the two-page maximum. The Admissions Committee will not read beyond the two-page limit.

We have provided an optional template with instructions below.

Instructions: PDF icon 2019 CV Instructions for candidates

Template: File McGill_ID_Last_First_CV

References

Two (2) references are required. The Admissions Committee does not accept additional references.

Applicants must indicate the 2 chosen referees in the first and second fields of the Referee Information section of the online application. Only forms received from the 2 chosen referees will be inserted in the candidate's file. If you wish to make a referee substitution, you may do so until the deadline to submit Supporting Documents. In this case, please advise the Faculty of Law's admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Referee%20Substitution) (Admissions Office) in writing.

Selecting referees

Applicants who are students, or who have recently completed programs of study, are expected to provide academic references from current or recent professors or teachers who are familiar with their work. Applicants in the CEGEP and Quebec French Baccalaureate (Collège international Marie de France and Collège Stanislas) category are expected to submit two letters of reference from CEGEP or college professors.

Applicants who are unable to obtain academic references because they are no longer students should submit letters from individuals who are well placed to evaluate the applicant's academic abilities such as critical thinking, research, and writing; these may be professional references, but ought to be from a person who is in a supervisory position vis-à-vis the applicant.

It is highly recommended that candidates also review the Instructions and form for referees to think of referees who might best be able to respond to the questions asked.

Personal references are not helpful.

Requirements

Each candidate must send referees the link to Instructions and form for referees. The Admissions Office does not contact referees to invite them to complete the reference form.

On the Instructions and form for referees page, referees may download the Reference form which they must complete and email directly to the Admissions Office.

The candidate must inform their referees what category of admission they are applying under. It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that Reference forms are received by the Admissions Office by the applicable deadline.

The Admissions Office does not confirm receipt of references with the referee via email. Applicants are instead encouraged to verify the status of their documents via their Supporting Documents Checklist in Minerva.

Re-applicants

Re-applicants may choose to either re-use references submitted in previous applications or choose new referees and have them submit new references. If you wish to re-use references, simply fill in the names of the same referees in the on-line application and the references from your previous application will be carried forward.

Additional Documentation for Indigenous Applicants

Candidates who have self-identified on the application form are required to submit additional documentation that explains their connection to an Indigenous community, or if that connection does not exist, to describe their aspirations for legal education as it relates to the Indigenous community. Please see the Indigenous Applicants page for more information.

Extenuating circumstances

If you have experienced serious medical or personal difficulties that have had an impact on your academic performance, you may submit a separate letter to explain the impact of these extenuating circumstances on your academic record. If appropriate, applicants may include supporting documentation such as a medical certificate.

By allowing you to provide an explanation for circumstances beyond your control that may have impacted your academic transcripts, the extenuating circumstances letter will let you to focus your Personal Statement on your motivations for studying law.

Format

  • The extenuating circumstances file should include both the letter and supporting documentation (where applicable) and must respect the maximum file size (3MB)
  • Indicate your name, McGill ID (indicated in the acknowledgement notice), and the subject of your letter "Extenuating circumstances" in the top right corner of each page
  • Only one version is accepted. Updates and additional documents sent by mail will not be included.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

For specific information about the Law School Admission Test, please refer to our LSAT page and check the LSAT section of our FAQ.

Letters of Permission/Nomination

For candidates applying as Exchange or Visiting students only. The permission/nomination letter should be written on university letterhead and include the student’s name, the faculty where the student wishes to study and the semester(s) of the exchange.

Photocopy of Passport

For candidates applying as exchange students only. Please upload a scanned copy of your passport.

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