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General information

for Graduate Students Registered in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences
McGill University, Macdonald Campus

Telephone: 514-398-7838


The following information will make your life on the Macdonald Campus easier (we hope!). Much of this information is available elsewhere, however, finding it is the key.


Yes, you do have to register every year and you do so electronically via Minerva. Minerva course selection forms are available on the web by clicking the link to the Minerva Course Selection Form. Entering students register for the first time in September or January, depending upon when you start your program. Thereafter, you normally pre-register every Spring (April-June) for the following year. If you plan to submit your thesis before the end of August, you need not re-register.

Fee payments are normally required twice a year. Information on fees is available on the web: http://www.mcgill.ca/student-accounts/

Popular topics:


Course Changes ID Cards
Transcripts Coffee
Desk Space Telephone/Fax
Keys/Access to Building Departmental Computers
  Departmental Vehicles
Supervisory Committees Thesis
Bulletin Boards E-Mail
Mail Photocopying
Poster printing Parking Permits
Teaching Assistantships Getting Paid
Student Services Graduate Fellowships and awards
Immigration (International students) Key Staff Members


Course Change

For information on course add/drop deadlines follow this link: http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/drop/ 

For other course information consult the booklet: University Regulations and Resources (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2012-2013 or the GPS web site.

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ID Cards

New students can obtain an i.d. card from the Student Affairs Office (Macdonald Campus) in Laird Hall, Room 106.  Please contact the Macdonald Campus Student Affairs Office for more details.

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Forms to order transcripts are available from the Student Affairs Office (Macdonald Campus) and on Minerva (confirmation of registration or official transcript); the exception is the request for transcripts for certain fellowship competitions. Transcripts for these purposes are ordered from the Department. This information is posted, but if you are unsure where to request a transcript, please see the graduate coordinator.

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There's a coffee room (MS2-094) where everyone can meet informally. If you drink tea or coffee, you are welcome to join our coffee club. The club is self-supporting and non-profit. A fixed sum of $2.00 per week is charged for all the coffee you drink. Coffee is also available for $0.50 a cup. Contact: Chris Buddle

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Desk Space

The Department is now using a "hoteling" system for graduate-student workspace in MS 2-094.  Desks and lockers are available for graduate students.  Please contact: ann [dot] gossage [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ann Gossage) to obtain keys for the lockers. 

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There are telephones in each research lab which you may use for local calls. To reach a McGill number, dial only the last four digits; to reach a telephone number outside of McGill you must dial 9 first. Please remember that these rooms are for research and keep calls to a minimum. There is a fax machine in the Reception (MS3-039); the fax number is 514-398-7990. Unfortunately, we cannot send personal faxes. There is a service in Centennial Centre for long distance faxes in Canada and the U.S. and in the Student Affairs Office (Laird Hall) for international faxes.

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Keys/Access to Building

There is a deposit of $10.00 per key, refundable upon return of the key. Contact: Ann Gossage. Access to the Barton/Macdonald-Stewart/Raymond complex after hours is limited to those with a valid i.d. card.

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Departmental Computers

There are several computers available for graduate-student use in the Department in MS2-093. peter [dot] kirby [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Peter Kirby) is in charge of this equipment and any serious problem should be reported to him. Printing is done using McGill's Uprint system. Please see Ann Gossage to set up a printing/photocopying account. Of course, the Faculty computer facilities in MS2-026 are available to graduate students as well. This room is accessible 24 hours a day with a valid student i.d. card.  A large format printer is available to print posters.

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Departmental Vehicles

The Department operates a seven-passenger minivan, two pick-up trucks, and one 4WD Ford Explorer. These may be rented for research and teaching purposes. They are not available for personal use.  Drivers must be approved to operate the vehicles.  Rental rates are $0.25/km + $4/hr (NRS) and $0.25/km + $5/hr (non-NRS).  Contact peter [dot] kirby [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Peter Kirby) for more information.
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Supervisory Committees

Each student shall have a supervisory committee which will serve as a resource for all aspects of the student's graduate program.  A Graduate Student Research Objectives Report Form 1  will be submitted within 60 days of initial registration in the program and thereafter by December 20th annually. Further information appears in the Guidelines for Graduate Studies in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Macdonald Campus

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When you're ready to begin writing your thesis, please consult the GPS website for “Thesis and Non-Thesis Info”. Although you are free to submit your thesis to Graduate Faculty at any time of the year, there are "official" submission dates associated with the various convocations/granting of degrees (see http://www.mcgill.ca/importantdates/category/tags/thesis-submission-gr-graduate-studies).  Contact: Macdonald Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

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Bulletin Boards

There is a general information board for graduate students beside MS2-074.

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It's important that each student communicate their McGill e-mail address to the Macdonald Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Most information is circulated electronically and it's to your own advantage not to miss anything. Contact: Macdonald Computing Centre.

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All students have a mailbox in the Reception area. Outgoing mail leaves the office by 9:30 a.m. and incoming mail is distributed by 11 a.m. Stamps for personal letters may be purchased from the Post Office in Laird Hall (open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon).

Note: Personal mail should be sent to your home address and not to the Department.

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There are two photocopiers in the Department, outside MS3-045 and MS2-045. Upon presentation of a $20.00 deposit, you will receive a code to use these machines. Copies are $0.0775 each. Contact: Ann Gossage
There are also photocopy machines in the Library. Cards to use the Library machines are available in the Library and start at $1.00.

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Poster printing

1) Dimensions:  we use paper that is 36" wide so one of your poster's dimensions can be no larger than 36".  The other dimension is typically limited by your software.  Better to decide on your poster's dimensions FIRST, then create it.  

2) Posters prepared using a PC tend to be less problematic than those prepared on a Mac.  If your poster is prepared on a Mac, then provide a PDF file to me for printing. 

3) Although Powerpoint is by far the most popular software to use for preparing posters, consider using MS Publisher if you have it.  I do not have Adobe Photo Shop so if that is what you want to use, send me a pdf or even a jpg version to print from.

4) Font sizes:  I suggest you use fonts no smaller than 30 or 32, depending on how much text you have.  A good test is to prepare your poster (or at least part of it), zoom your screen to 100% then step back about 4 feet (1.5 m).  If you can read the text easily then the font size should be OK.

5) Don't use weird fonts...I may not have them and if you don't embed them into the file, my computer will change them to a default font.

6) Try to include photos and graphs and not to have too much text.

7) Give me a few days to print it, especially if it's coming from a Mac: problems are common.

8) The ink is water-soluble: Don't get your poster wet!!

Prices vary with size and amount of colour used.  Contact peter [dot] kirby [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Peter Kirby) for more information.

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Parking Permits

Students who live farther than walking distance from the Campus and who park on Campus are required to obtain a parking permit. An annual parking permit costs $200.00 (academic year 2012-2013) and is available from the Security Office in Laird Hall.

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Teaching Assistantships

There are several unionized teaching assistantships available in the Department. Vacancies will be posted by March 15 for Fall coures and October 15 for Winter courses on the bulletin board outside MS3-050 and online at https://csm-caps.mcgill.ca/students/index.php.

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Getting Paid

It takes time (from 6-8 weeks) for new appointments and renewals to be processed by the Payroll Department. Be warned!

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Student Services

Student Services operates a small office on Campus located at Centennial Centre, 1st Floor. Its services include: a nurse, student aid, counselling, off-campus housing and career placement. To obtain more information and make appointments, contact Student Services at 514-398-7992 or visit their web site.

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Fellowship Information

Information on fellowships is available on the GPS internet site: http://www.mcgill.ca/internalawards

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Immigration (International students)

It can take approximately 6 weeks to get an appointment with Immigration Quebec to get a renewal authorization and a further 6 weeks to be processed through Canadian Immigration. Therefore you should start the renewal process 3 months before your authorization expires.

a) For a renewal of your authorization, call Immigration Quebec for an appointment. The following documents are required:


  • A valid Passeport
  • The previous year's Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and present CAQ application form completed and signed
  • Previous valid student authorization issued by Immigration Canada
  • Proof of medical insurance


  • A cumulative report of academic standing 
  • A letter from the Chair which states that you are continuing in the program and the length of time needed to complete your degree (Please request this letter from the graduate coordinator several days in advance of your appointment with Immigration.)


  • Confirmation of your financial standing (bank statements, letters from your sponsors, letters from the Department Chair confirming a graduate assistantship, etc.)

Assuming everything is in order, you will be issued a new CAQ which you must then mail to Canadian Immigration together with a completed application and supporting documents.



b) Permission to Work on Campus

Students holding a Student Authorization are eligible to accept employment on Campus.

To work in Canada you must have a Social Insurance Number. This can be obtained from Employment and Immigration Canada in Pointe Claire (address follows).


Certificat d'Acceptation du Québec (CAQ)

The Québec government’s internet site for immigration is:

In English: http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/immigrate-settle/students/index.html

In French at http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/immigrer-installer/etudiants/index.html

Ministère des Affaires Internationales de
l'Immigration et des Communautés culturels (MAIICC)
415 rue Saint-Roch, Montréal, H3N 1K2 (Parc Metro)
Telephone: 514-864-9191 (Info and appointements)
Fax: 514-873-9930

Student Authorization

For picking up packages only:
Employment and Immigration Canada
1010 St. Antoine West, 2nd Floor
Montreal H3G 1B2
Telephone: 514-496-1010

Completed packages should be mailed to:
CPC Vegreville, 6212-55 Avenue,
Vegreville, AB, T9C 1W5
(No telephone number available).

Employment and Immigration Canada
181 Hymus Blvd.
Pointe Claire (near Zellers)
H9R 5P4
Telephone: 514-496-1101


By mail:
Service des opérations et des renseignements aux personnes assurées
Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec
C.P. 6600 Québec, QC
G1K 7T3

In person:
425, boul. de Maisonneuve-Ouest
3rd Floor
Montreal, QC

E-mail: services [dot] beneficiaires [at] ramq [dot] gouv [dot] qc [dot] ca

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Key Staff Members

Below you will find the names of some of the staff you may have to contact as well as their office and telephone numbers.









jim [dot] fyles [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Jim Fyles)


(514) 398-7758

Chair of the Department

ann [dot] gossage [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Ann Gossage)


(514) 398-7913

Administrative Assistant: photocopier codes, keys

benoit [dot] cote [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Benoit Côté) MS2-067A (514) 398-7952 Graduate Programme Director, Graduate Seminar Coordinator for Soil, Forestry and Agrometeorology 

brian [dot] driscoll [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Brian Driscoll)


(514) 398-7887

Chair Designate, Microbiology Graduate Seminar Coordinator, Microbiology

john [dot] henning [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. John Henning) MS3-037 (514) 398-7826 Program Director (Agricultural Economics)

terry [dot] wheeler [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Terry Wheeler)


(514) 398-7937

Graduate Seminar Coordinator, Entomology and Wildlife

ian [dot] ritchie [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Mr. Ian Ritchie)


(514) 398-7901

Technician: departmental vehicles, Soil Barn, field equipment, incubators and growth benches

khosro [dot] mousavi [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Mr. Khosro Mousavi)


(514) 398-7939

Technician: greenhouse, safety issues, undergraduate lab courses