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About the Freshman Year

Fresman advisor with studentsChoosing to become a freshman in our Faculty will allow you to benefit from the vibrant research environment of McGill, while taking advantage of the intimate community and smaller class sizes of the Macdonald Campus. The purpose of Macdonald Campus' Freshman Program is to create a foundation for academic success as you study towards your degree in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In that spirit, we are dedicated to ensuring your smooth transition into university life, to helping you achieve your academic goals, and to enhancing your academic experience by connecting you with the university community.

Most of our freshman students are people who apply from outside Quebec, Canada to study towards a Bachelor degree in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, including the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.

Some Background on the Freshman Year

In the province of Quebec students leave high school after Grade 11, and then go to a 'junior college' for two years before proceeding to university. The 'junior college' is called CEGEP. Thus, in Quebec, the equivalent of Grade 12 and the first year of university (in the rest of Canada and the US) are folded into CEGEP, and for such students, university programs start at a level corresponding to the sophomore year in many other places. In Quebec the university years are called U0, U1, U2, and U3, etc, where U0 corresponds to the university freshman year elsewhere.

So, how does this work if you're not from Quebec?

If you are a non-Quebec student who has completed Grade 12 in another Canadian province, in the US, or the equivalent elsewhere in the world, you will enter McGill University in the Freshman Year. The Freshman Year accommodates students from outside the province of Quebec, and is just like the first year of university in most Canadian and American universities. Completion of the Freshman Year will get you ready to move into our regular programs, putting you on par with Quebec students entering in year U1.

What if your educational history is just a little different?

We understand that there are many different school systems in the world, most of which give students an excellent background to go to university. If you have a "non-standard" academic background, please contact the studentinfo [dot] macdonald [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Student Affairs Office) for details on how to apply.

Degrees Offered on McGill's Macdonald Campus

The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers a few different undergraduate degrees. You will be registering in one of these:

  1. B. Eng (Bioresource) --- Bioresource Engineering
  2. B. Sc. (Agr. Env. Sc.) --- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  3. B. Sc. (F. Sc.) --- Food Science
  4. B. Sc. (Nutr. Sc.) --- Nutritional Sciences
  5. B. Sc. (F. Sc) / B. Sc. (Nutr. Sc.) --- Concurrent degrees in Food Science and Nutritional Sciences.

For information about the freshman courses required for each of these degrees, click here.

If you are unsure which degree interests you, do not worry too much about ending up in the wrong one. During the freshman year it is not that difficult to change your mind, and switch to another degree within the faculty. You will also be exposed to the various majors and/or specializations that are available, and the Freshman Advisor as well as the U1 advisors can assist you with those decisions during the annual spring Majors Fair.


Many of our programs are professionally accredited so that graduation from them qualifies you to become a professional such as an agrologist, a chemist, a dietitian, or an engineer, for example. More detailed information on careers can be found on the specific degree pages, as well a lot of helpful advice on the general McGill’s Career Planning Service (CaPS) webpages. There are also pages specifically oriented to degrees within our Faculty - Macdonald Campus CaPS pages.

Admission Placement Exams

An important part of ensuring your academic success involves an assessment of your background preparation; you may have studied one subject at a high level, and another not at all. If you have taken a more advanced high school course, or studied a university-level course already elsewhere, you may be eligible to take the admission placement exams. The University offers Science and Math Admission Placement Exams; these are formal examinations held on the downtown campus during the last two weeks of August only. Successful completion of these exams gives you the opportunity to avoid re-taking courses in subjects that you have already studied.

Pre-Calculus Exam

All Freshman students are administered the Pre-Calculus Exam. Based on your results, you may be advised to register for a Pre-Calculus Lab Course during your semester. The Freshman advisor will guide you in this.