two students talking together outside a building, and a third student with their back turned

Name and Preferred First Name

Name & Preferred First Name

Your Name 

General information

At McGill, a student is registered under their legal name as it appears on their legal documents, such as a birth certificate or study permit, that have been provided to the University. This name will be used on documents such as an official transcript and diploma. 

Your preferred first name is a name by which you are normally addressed and is different than your legal first name. The Preferred First Name Procedure enables students to use an alternate preferred first name for certain purposes while studying at McGill. 

Students who wish to use a Preferred First Name should enter this information into Minerva (see instructions in 'To add a preferred first name' tab) as soon as possible in order to ensure that their preferred first name is used as widely as possible. 

Where Preferred First Name and Legal Name Appear

Please be advised that making a request to use a preferred first name at McGill does not change a person’s legal name in the records of government authorities or a student’s legal name in the McGill student record.  

NOTE: Students who become employees should see the ‘student employees’ tab for processes to ensure their preferred first name will appear on their staff account.  

The preferred first name will appear in: 

  • Accommodations (e.g. after registering with OSD, accommodation records, letters from OSD) 
  • Class lists, course evaluations, graduations lists, class photos  
  • Display Name in Outlook and Office 365 
  • Graduation ceremony and booklet (see instructions in ‘Graduation’ tab)  
  • McGill email address (alias) (see instructions in 'To change your McGill email address (alias)’ tab)  
  • McGill ID cards (see instructions in ‘To update your McGill Student ID card’ tab) 
  • Minerva   
  • myCourses  
  • myFuture  
  • myMcGill portal  
  • myProgress  
  • myThesis   
  • STM OPUS Card (for more information, please see: https://www.mcgill.ca/student-records/personal-information/opus)   
  • Student Advising   
  • Student Directory/Global Adress List (GAL) (see instructions in ‘To update the Student Directory/Global Address List’ tab) 
  • Student Profile  
  • Student Housing 
  • Unofficial transcripts 

The student’s legal name appears in: 

  • Athletics*  
  • Awards, scholarships, and bursaries*  
  • Banner guest access   
  • Convocation management system (CISS)  
  • Course Equivalency System (CEQ)  
  • Diplomas and certificates  
  • Legal documents and government records 
  • Letters of attestation  
  • Library Study Hub reservation system  
  • Minerva and Banner Staff reports  
  • Official university transcripts  
  • Reports to government  
  • STEPS  
  • Tax receipts  
  • Tuition fee e-bills  
  • uApply 

We are currently in the process of developing and implementing the necessary changes in order for preferred first names to also apply to these areas in the future: 

  • Athletics (e.g. team lists and photos)*  
  • Awards, scholarships, and bursaries (e.g. Entrance Scholarship and Entrance Bursary letters to include PFN as greeting but have legal name/ID as a reference, Award Confirmation Letter in Minerva option for with PFN or Legal First Name. Updating Award Recipient reports for University Advancement (donor stewardship), and preparing best practices on reporting student awards.)* 
  • Convocation management system (CISS)  
  • Course Equivalency System (CEQ)  
  • Library Study Hub reservation system  
  • Minerva and Banner Staff Reports  
  • STEPS  

Please note that some services (indicated with an asterisk) may be able to implement partial use of preferred first names, but is also required to use legal first names in some cases (e.g. government reporting).  

To add a preferred first name

  1. Log into Minerva 

  2. Select the Personal Menu 

  3. Click Name Change  

 

You can provide a preferred first name on your application for admission or, once admitted, on Minerva, under the Personal Menu. From the Personal Menu, select Name Change and then add your preferred first name in the preferred first name field. 

Note: Student employees please see instructions in the ‘Student employees’ tab.  

If you require further accommodation with the use of your preferred first name (e.g. transgender student whose legal name does not reflect their gender identity), please contact heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Preferred%20first%20name%20accommodation) (Heidi Emami), heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Preferred%20first%20name%20accommodation) (Associate Registrar), Management of Academic Records and Examinations. 

To change your McGill email alias

Anyone who wishes to change the first name portion of their McGill email address to better reflect their preferred first name can request an email alias. 

With an email alias, you can change the first name of your McGill Email Address from firstname.lastname to nickname.lastname. 

For the procedure to create an email alias, please follow these steps at: https://mcgill.service-now.com/itportalid=kb_article&sysparm_article=KB00106668. 

This will allow people to send you email using your new email alias. However, your existing McGill email address, which is also your McGill Username, remains unchanged, and people may also continue to use that address. Students will still need to use their "McGill Username" (firstname.lastname [at] mail.mcgill.ca) and not the email alias when signing into myCourses, myMcGill, and Minerva.  

Note: Changing the email alias alone does not change the Display name. Students still need to change the Preferred name in Minerva in order to change the Display name. 

The University is working to introduce changes that will use the Preferred Name in more IT systems. 

For technical issues with Preferred First Names please report the issue to McGill IT Services at: https://mcgill.ca/itsupport/servicedesk 

To Update Your McGill Student ID Card

To update your McGill Student ID card follow regular procedures as outlined on the following website: https://www.mcgill.ca/student-records/id/.  

If you add a preferred first name, change degree levels or faculties, or your card expires, there will be no charge for a replacement as long as the old one is returned. 

Students who have access to labs or other McGill facilities using their student ID card should consult the appropriate Security contact to ensure that their access is not interrupted. 

Note: Please wait 24 hours after entering your preferred first name into Minerva before requesting a new McGill ID card. This ensures that our information systems will be updated with your preferred first name so that a new ID card can be issued.  

To Update the Student Directory and Global Address List (GAL)

As a student, you can publish your own listing in the Student Directory. You can decide what information to display and who can see it (e.g., everyone or just the McGill community). 

Information published in the Student Directory is automatically reflected in the Global Address List (GAL) in Exchange, which other McGill students and staff can view via the Outlook app. 

To add or modify your listing: 

  • Select Student Menu > Student Directory. 

  • For more information, click the HELP button on that form. 

Fixing accents or punctuation

Minor changes to your name can be done by clicking Name Change in Minerva under the Personal Menu.

To Update Your Legal Name

In order to update the legal name on your student record you must: 

  1. Complete a Personal Data Change form (sections A&B): https://www.mcgill.ca/student-records/files/student-records/personal_data_change_form_2.pdf  

  1. Provide us with a copy of the appropriate legal document with the correct name (if we don't already have a copy) 
    => The list of acceptable documents is listed in the Calendar under the Legal Name section 

  1. Submit the completed form and copy of the legal document by email attachment (PDF or TIFF format) to legaldocumentation [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Personal%20Data%20Change)  

Note: Student employees please see instructions in the ‘Student employees’ tab.  

Graduation

Graduation Ceremony and Booklet

To have your preferred first name read during the graduation ceremony as well as printed in the graduation ceremony booklet, please send an email to convocation [at] mcgill.ca to make this request. 

Please note in order to have your preferred first name used during the graduation ceremony and printed in the graduation ceremony booklet, you must make the request before the deadline. To check the deadline and ensure your preferred first name is used during the graduation ceremony and printed in the graduation ceremony booklet, please check the name change deadline on the Convocation website.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diplomas and Certificates  

Students who have graduated from McGill and have since had their legal name changed can request replacement diplomas and certificates at no cost. 

For assistance with diplomas and certificates please send an email to convocation [at] mcgill.ca and indicate the reason why you are requesting to have a replacement diploma issued. 

FAQ

What is a preferred first name?

What is a preferred first name?

A preferred first name is a name that you commonly use that is different from your legal first name. The University recognizes that as a community, many of its members use first names other than their legal first names to identify themselves.

Examples:

A transgender student has the legal first name “Jennica” but prefers to be called “Jay”. This student’s preferred first name is “Jay”.

A student, with the full legal name “Robert Jamal Hayes” might actually go by their legal middle name “Jamal” and not their legal first name, “Robert”. This student’s preferred first name is “Jamal.”

Dilini Aruliah goes by her first name, “Dilini”. This student does not have a preferred first name that is different from her legal name.

Do I have to enter a preferred first name?

No, entering a preferred first name is optional. Enter a name in the Preferred First Name field only if you commonly use a first name that is different from your legal first name.

Do I need to show any documentation to update my preferred first name?

No, there is no documentation required to add, change, or delete a preferred first name.

How do I indicate my preferred first name to the University?

Prospective students applying to study at McGill may enter their preferred first name on their application form.

Once admitted, students may indicate their preferred first name on Minerva, under the Personal Menu. From the Personal Menu, select Name Change and you will be able to add/modify your preferred first name under this field.

Can I delete or modify my preferred first name?

Yes, you can delete or modify your preferred first name. Go to Minerva, and select the Personal Menu. From the Personal Menu, select Name Change, and delete/modify your preferred first name in the Preferred First Name field. Keep in mind that barring special permission, you can change your preferred first name only once in an academic year.

How do I update my McGill Student ID card?

To update your McGill Student ID card follow regular procedures as outlined on the following website: https://www.mcgill.ca/student-records/id/.

Note: Please wait 24 hours after entering your preferred first name into Minerva before requesting a new McGill ID card. This ensures that our information systems will be updated with your preferred first name so that a new ID card can be issued.

Can I use any preferred first name that I wish?

Yes, students are free to determine the preferred first name that they want to be known by in the university's information systems, as long as they act in good faith. Note that inappropriate use of the preferred first name procedure, including attempts to avoid a legal obligation via misrepresentation, or the use of inappropriate language, will result in the denial and/or reversal of the request.

I’m an employee at McGill. Can I designate a preferred first name?

Faculty and staff can add a preferred first name, title and prefix by filling out the Display name and prefix change form.

For more information, please see the ‘Student employees’ tab.

Where is my preferred first name used?

Your preferred first name will be used in places such as your Student ID card, Minerva, and class lists.

For a full list of where your preferred first name will be used and where your legal name will be used, please see the ‘Where preferred first name and legal name appear’ tab.

When is the best time to change my preferred first name?

You can enter your preferred first name into Minerva at any time. However, keep in mind that the earlier you enter your preferred first name into Minerva at the start of a new academic term, the more likely you will experience the consistent use of your preferred first name by professors, Academic Advisors, etc. For example, some professors may print off a class list after the Add/Drop period has passed, then use it for the remainder of the semester. Changes made to your preferred first name after Add/Drop period would not be picked up by the professor in this case.

Can I use my preferred first name in my McGill email address?

Students can create an email alias by following the instructions available on the ‘To Change Your McGill Email Address (Alias)’ tab.

This will allow people to send you email using your new email alias. However, your existing McGill email address, which is also your McGill Username, remains unchanged, and people may also continue to use that address. Students will still need to use their "McGill Username" (firstname.lastname [at] mail.mcgill.ca) and not the email alias when signing into myCourses, myMcGill, and Minerva.

Note: Changing the email alias alone does not change the Display name. Students still need to change the Preferred name in Minerva in order to change the Display name.

The University is working to introduce changes that will use the Preferred Name in more IT systems.

How do I get assistance with my diplomas/certificates

Students who have graduated from McGill and have since had their legal name changed can request replacement diplomas/certificates at no cost. 

For assistance with diplomas and certificates please contact Heidi Emami, Associate Registrar, Management of Academic Records and Examinations: heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca  

What if I require further accommodation with the use of my preferred first name?

A student who requires more widespread use of their preferred first name for serious reasons (for example, a transgender student whose legal name does not reflect their gender identity) may contact Enrolment Services to seek individual accommodation. Please contact heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Preferred%20first%20name%20accommodation) (Heidi Emami), Assistant Registrar to make an appointment. 

Note that general questions about the preferred first name policy should be directed towards Service Point.

I am experiencing an issue with Preferred First Names, what should I do?

For technical issues with Preferred First Names, please report the issue to McGill IT Services at: https://mcgill.ca/itsupport/servicedesk  

If you require further accommodation with the use of your preferred first name, please contact heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Preferred%20first%20name%20accommodation) (Heidi Emami), heidi.emami [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Preferred%20first%20name%20accommodation) (Associate Registrar), Management of Academic Records and Examinations. 

 

 

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