Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

McGill's latest COVID-19 measures >>>>

Macdonald Campus's COVID-19 measures >>>>

Arrival on Campus for Fall 2021 Term

Hello to our newly admitted and returning Macdonald graduate students!

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you on campus this fall. Mac OGS is still operating primarily remotely in the summer term but we will be returning gradually to the office in the coming fall term. You can continue to reach us by email in the meantime!

About Arrival for the Fall 2021 Term

All grad students in our Faculty should be aware that McGill has announced that academic programs will be offered in person in the Fall 2021 term. We invite you to read thoroughly Return to Campus Fall 2021. In this blog entry, we are primarily restating guidance sent by email by our Office in May 2021 to newly admitted Fall 2021 Macdonald graduate students. However, returning students should be arranging to be on campus as well, as appropriate, in consultation with their Thesis Supervisor or Program Advisor.


For Newly Admitted Students:

We would like to provide insight on viable options for those of you who are international and may be facing difficulty and/or delays in obtaining immigration documents that may impede your ability to travel to Canada in time to start your new graduate program in person in September 2021.

Ideal Scenario

The student receives their study permit at the beginning of August (or earlier), and makes plans to travel to Canada and arrive by mid-August in order to spend 14 days in quarantine as currently required by the IRCC and the Province of Québec (or if fully vaccinated, the quarantine can now be waived – please see references listed below). The student should be prepared to be on campus (Macdonald or Downtown Campus as applicable) at the beginning of September. Please note that classes for the Fall Term start on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.

If you cannot meet this ideal timeline and expect to be on campus later than September 1, then the recommended options depend on which type of graduate program you have been admitted to.

References (McGill International Student Services):


Options for Late Arrival:

Students Admitted to a Thesis Program (MSc, PhD)

If you have been admitted to a thesis-based program you should confer directly with your thesis supervisor as early as possible to make plans to accommodate (if possible) any coursework or research requirements in the first term of your program. There is typically some flexibility to allow a student to arrive physically on campus after the start of term. The supervisor may suggest that you delay any coursework to a future term for example. However, this situation will vary from student to student and must be determined with your thesis supervisor. You should also keep your Graduate Program Coordinator informed of your arrival status. If you are not able to arrive by a reasonable time, then you should consider deferring the program start to the next term, again, in consultation with their thesis supervisor, as your conditions of admission may change.

Students Admitted to a Non-Thesis Program (MSc, MSc Applied)

As non-thesis programs are course-based, there is far less flexibility in the acceptable arrival date.

  • If you can arrive in Montreal by the end of August and then carry out your quarantine over the next 14 days, or
  • Arrive by mid-September fully vaccinated in which case quarantine would be waived (as per currently published IRCC procedures),

then you would still be in a good position to start your program in mid-September even if you have not been attending classes in person during that first two-week period.

During this two-week period, you would still have access to course material via McGill’s online course software (‘MyCourses’) where you would find slides, readings, etc. You should contact your instructors directly to let them know of your situation and ask for accommodation if it is possible. Since classes are being delivered in person, instructors may decide not to record their lectures.

IMPORTANT! The Faculty recommends that a student withdraw from their program if they cannot make it to Canada early enough to allow them to start attending classes in person by mid-September. For students in non-thesis programs, any delay longer than two weeks in attending courses will very likely lead to a situation of course failure and withdrawal from their graduate program.


Options for All Students (Thesis and Non-thesis Programs):

  • In the worst-case scenario, if you register and then change your mind because you determine that you cannot be here by the required date, you can withdraw from your program with full refund before Sept. 21, 2021. Please contact your Graduate Program Coordinator for help with this.
  • Some academic departments may accept a deferral of your admission to a future term. Please contact your Graduate Program Coordinator well in advance to learn more. This option is only open to those who have not already requested a deferral of one year.

All other circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions or doubts about any of the above, you can contact your GPC directly or send an email to gradstudies.macdonald [at] Please contact International Student Services directly for advising on immigration matters, including CAQ and study permit applications.

We look forward to seeing you in person this coming fall!

Stay safe!

Back to top