First-Year Students Checklist


This checklist is a step-by-step guide of to-do items to prepare your first year at the Schulich School of Music. This checklist is broken down into five phases.


Recommended Completion Time Frame

  1. First Steps to Schulich School of Music

Early April to late May

  1. The Essentials

Early June to late July

  1. Registration

Early June to late July

  1. One-Month Countdown

Early August to early September

  1. Class Preparation

Late August to mid-September

We strongly recommend students take action in each phase within the recommended time frame.

Contact the [at] (Student Affairs Office) if you foresee not being able to complete one or more of the key steps within the recommended time frame.

Phase 1: First Steps to the Schulich School of Music

International Students

  • If you are an international student, you must now apply for a Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec (CAQ, a provincial government study permit) and a Study Permit (a federal government study permit) once you have accepted the admission offer to attend McGill. Valid immigration documents are required to remain registered in a program here.

For detailed instructions on how to apply for a Canadian Study Permit and a CAQ, visit the International Student Services webpage.

Find a place to live
Explore on-campus and off-campus housing options if you are looking for a place to live. Learn more.

Set up your McGill Email

  • Now that you are a McGill student, we will only exchange official communication via your McGill email address. Check your McGill email on a frequent basis to receive updates and important information.
  • Your McGill email is normally your firstname.lastname [at]
  • You can access your McGill email from Outlook by logging in via Outlook. Contact McGill IT for assistance if you have trouble accessing your McGill email.

Apply for Practical Instruction (MUIN courses)

  • You cannot register for practical instruction (courses with MUIN prefixes), which are private lessons with a teacher, on Minerva. The Music Performance Department adds MUIN courses to your records. You must first submit a practical instruction request to indicate your teacher preference.
  • May 15, 2024 is the application deadline. To apply for practical instruction, see here.

Note: A Music Private lesson fee is charged when students take practical instruction for instrument/voice. A detailed list of fees specific to the Schulich School of Music is found here.

Attend “Intro to Registration” Info Sessions

Learn about using Minerva and other useful online tools to navigate course registration.
Info sessions run from May 22-24, 2024. Exact time and registration link for these Info sessions are found in McGill’s Get Ready website.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

  • New students receiving a Canada Award, an entrance or renewable scholarship should be mindful of the minimum number of credits and GPA required to keep the scholarship. See your scholarship offer letter for details.
  • Haven’t received an entrance scholarship from McGill? Not to worry, you will be considered for merit-based Music In-Course Awards starting your second academic year as a returning student. Conditions for an in-course award are found under Current Students in the Tuition and Funding website for Schulich students. No applications are required for Music In-Course Awards.
  • Canadian or US students may apply for financial-need based government aid, or McGill loans and bursaries. See Scholarships and Financial Aid for details.

Legal Status

  • Confirm your legal status in Canada, even if you are born in Quebec. Tuition fee rates vary by legal status. Visit Legal Documents to determine which documents you need to provide for fee assessments. The tuition rates based on residency status are found on the Student Accounts website.

Check out campus-wide events

  • Campus Life & Engagement (CL&E) hosts a series of events and orientations designed for all new McGill students throughout the summer.
  • On a aussi un groupe dédié aux étudiants francophones!

Phase 2: The Essentials

Apply to McGill Residence

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2024 is the deadline to apply to McGill Residence. Learn more.
  • If you are not planning on living in residence, but are looking to live near campus, be sure to take the necessary steps to secure off-campus housing. Learn more on our off-campus housing website.

Placement Exams

  • Online placement tests are available between June 10 and July 5, 2024 for first-year core courses.

Most placement exams are optional with the exception of Theory (MUTH). Students who plan to register for MUTH courses must take the theory placement exams before registering.

  • Students have the opportunity to take placement exams to seek exemption from first-year required theory (MUTH), musicianship (MUSP) or jazz (MUJZ) courses. If you pass one or more of these exams, you may take second-year core courses during your first year here. Placement exam dates and examination materials are found on the Placement Exams webpage.
  • There is no placement exam for music history courses (MUHL 186 or MUJZ 187). Students can be exempt from either course if they successfully completed equivalent history course(s) from previous studies or exams. See Transfer Credits FAQ for detail.
  • It is recommended that students finalize their course registration after having received the results from placement exams, transfer credits and/or ensemble auditions.

Transfer Credits

  • If you were a Cegep student, a transfer student, or a student who has completed an International Baccaulauréat (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) exam, you will likely receive transfer credits for one or more courses towards the Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) or Licentiate in Music (L.Mus.) program. See Transfer Credits FAQ for more information.

Program Audit (PA)

  • All students enrolled in a Bachelor of Music or Licentiate in Music program will receive a Program Audit (PA) around late July. The PA includes a summary of placement exam results and transfer credits. Click here for instructions on how to access your PA.

Phase 3: Registration

  • New students should attend all three information sessions about registration between early June and early August. Each session addresses different key registration topics. All sessions are given on Zoom.

    “Intro to Course Registration”
    “What to Register For”
    “Post Placement Exam and Transfer Credits Registration”

    Visit the Orientation website to find out the exact time and dates for these registration info sessions.

  • New students may begin to register as of Monday, June 10, 2024
  • Is this your first year in university and you are unsure which courses to register for, or how to register? Registration is not as daunting a process as you think! Visit our Registration website to access a comprehensive guide on registration, including FAQs from first-year students.
  • It is normal not to have all course registrations finalized before classes begin as you need to wait for the ensemble audition and placement exam results. Students have until Tuesday, September 10, 2024, to make changes to their fall registration without incurring a course change fee.

Phase 4: One-Month Countdown

Ensemble auditions

  • Verify audition materials and the audition schedule for your instrument or for the ensemble you are interested in joining. Ensemble audition material, time and date are updated here.

Student Associations

  • Check out frosh events hosted by MUSA and MEDUSA, two music students’ associations.


  • Attend the Welcome Orientation, where you will meet key people who can guide you on your journey as a music student.

McGill ID Card

  • Pick up your McGill ID card from Service Point before the first day of class to avoid the big rush at the beginning of the semester. You need your McGill ID card to access practice rooms, libraries and other student services and resources.

Accessibility/Academic Accommodation

  • Register with Student Accessibility & Achievement (SAA) before the academic year starts if you have documented disabilities, mental health conditions, chronic health conditions, or other impairments, which will require supportive resources or academic accommodations.

Tuition Fees and Funding

  • Visit Tuition and Funding website if you have questions on tuition fees, scholarships and other types of funding you can access as a McGill student.
  • Have questions about your eBill and tuition payment? Student Accounts has the answers.

International Students

Phase 5: Class Preparation

Finalize course registration

  • Once you have received your placement exam results, the ensemble assignments and a summary of transfer credits, make changes to your registration before Tuesday, September 10, 2024, the add/drop deadline for Fall semester courses.
  • For small ensemble registration, pay close attention to theCourse Reference Number (CRN). A CRN is a four-digit number which refers to a unique identifier for a course section in each term. You will not receive credit(s) or a grade if you register for a course using a wrong CRN.

Look-up Your Class Locations

  • Most music courses take place at the Strathcona Music Building.
  • To find out where your classroom is located for each course, look at your weekly class schedule in Minerva > Registration Menu > View Personal Weekly Class Schedule.

Purchase Textbooks and Course Materials

  • Check your course outline on MyCourses to see which materials are required for each course. You can purchase textbooks from McGill’s Book Store.

Lockers and Practice Rooms

  • You may reserve a locker to store your personal items. You may also begin to use our practice rooms.
Back to top