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McGill University
McGill University
Motto Grandescunt Aucta Labore (Latin)
Motto in English By hard work, all things increase and grow[1]
Established 1821
Type Public university
Endowment C$763 million[2]
Chancellor H. Arnold Steinberg
Principal Heather Munroe-Blum
Faculty 6,061[3]
Staff 9,345[3]
Undergraduates 23,758[4]
Postgraduates 8,756[4]
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Campus Urban
Downtown: 32 ha (80 acres)
Macdonald Campus: 6.5 km² (1,600 acres)
Former names University of McGill College (1821–1885)
Colours      Red
Mascot Marty the Martlet
Athletics 49 varsity teams
McGill Redmen (men's)
McGill Martlets (women's)
Affiliations AAU, G13, Universitas 21, ATS, CUSID, UArctic, AUCC, CIS, QSSF, CBIE.
McGill Wordmark.svg

McGill University (or simply McGill) is an international research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university. Founded in 1821, McGill is one of the oldest universities in Canada, chartered during the British colonial era, 46 years before Canadian Confederation.

The university's main campus is set upon 32 hectares (80 acres) at the foot of Mount Royal in Downtown Montreal. A second campus, the Macdonald Campus, is situated on 6.5 square kilometres (1,600 acres) of fields and forested land in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 30 kilometres west of the downtown campus. With 21 faculties and professional schools, McGill offers degrees and diplomas in over 300 fields of study, including medicine and law. Although the language of instruction is English, students have the right to submit any graded work in English or in French, except when learning a particular language is an objective of the course. Over 34,000 students attend McGill, with international students comprising one-fifth of the student population.

McGill is recognized for its award-winning research and participates in research organizations both within Canada and in the world, including the G13, the Association of American Universities, and Universitas 21. Its undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools consistently ranks the top university in national rankings such as those published by Maclean's, and among the top 50 universities in regional and worldwide rankings, including the Times Higher Education (THE) – QS World University Rankings and Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities. With around 200,000 living alumni worldwide, students and professors at McGill have been recognized in fields ranging from the arts and sciences, to business, politics, and sports. Notable alumni include six Nobel Laureates (out of eight Nobel Laureates affiliated with the university), three astronauts, two Canadian prime ministers, four justices of the Canadian Supreme Court, three foreign leaders, nine Academy Award winners, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and twenty-eight Olympic medalists. A nation-leading 131 students have also won Rhodes Scholarships to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.



Establishment of McGill College

James McGill, the original benefactor of McGill University.

James McGill, born in Glasgow, Scotland on 6 October 1744, was a successful English and French-speaking merchant in Quebec. Between 1811 and 1813[5] he drew up a will leaving his Burnside estate, a 19 hectare (46 acre) tract of rural land and 10,000 pounds to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning.[6] [7][8] Upon McGill's death in December 1813 the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, established in 1801 by an Act of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada,[9] shifted focus from administering elementary education in Lower Canada, to establishing a University pursuant to the conditions of McGill's will. As a condition of the bequest, the land and funds had to be used for the establishment of a "University or College, for the purposes of Education and the Advancement of Learning in the said Province."[9] The will specified that the college would be required to bear his name and must be established within 10 years of his death; otherwise the bequest would revert to the heirs of his wife.[10]

On March 31, 1821, after protracted legal battles with the Desrivieres family (the heirs of his wife), McGill College received a royal charter from King George IV. The Charter provided that the College should be deemed and taken as a University, with the power of conferring degrees.[11] Despite having a royal charter, McGill College was inactive until 1829 when the Montreal Medical Institution, which had been founded in 1823, became the college's first academic unit and Canada's first medical school. The Faculty of Medicine granted its first degree, a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, in 1833; this was also the first medical degree to be awarded in Canada.[12] The Faculty of Medicine remained the school's only functioning faculty until 1843 when the Faculty of Arts commenced teaching in the newly constructed Arts Building and East Wing (Dawson Hall).[13]

Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning

The creation of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning (RIAL) in 1801, and its formation of two new Royal Grammar Schools in 1816, acted as turning points for Canada in two particular ways. First, the schools "were created by legislation, the District Public Schools Act of 1807, and they showed the government's willingness to support the costs of education and even the salary of a schoolmaster. Second, the law involved the state in education, an important first step in the creation of nondenominational schools." The original two schools closed in 1846; by the mid-1800s the RIAL lost control of the other 82 grammar schools it had administered.[14] Its sole remaining purpose was to administer the McGill bequests on behalf of the college. McGill College continued to grow, now having the sole aim of providing post-secondary education. The RIAL continues to exist today; it is the corporate identity that runs the university and its various constituent bodies, including the former Macdonald College (now Macdonald Campus), Royal Victoria College (the former women's college turned residence) and the Montreal Neurological Institute. Since the revised Royal Charter of 1852, The Trustees of the RIAL comprise the Board of Governors of McGill University.[15]

Early years

The Arts Building, built in 1839 and designed by John Ostell, is the oldest building on campus still standing.

The university's first classes were held in 1829 at Burnside Place, James McGill's country home.[8][16] Burnside Place remained the sole educational facility until the 1840s, when the school began construction on its first buildings: the central and east wings of the Arts Building.[17] The rest of the campus was essentially a cow pasture, a situation similar to the few other Canadian universities and early American colleges of the age.[18] Sir John William Dawson, McGill's principal from 1855 to 1893, is often credited with transforming the school into a modern university.[19] He recruited the aid of Montreal's wealthiest citizens (eighty percent of Canada's wealth was then controlled by families who lived within the "Golden Mile" area that surrounded the university), many of whom donated property and funding needed to construct the campus buildings. Their names adorn many of the campus's prominent buildings, including the Redpath Museum (1880), Macdonald Physics Building (1893), the Redpath Library (1893), the Macdonald Chemistry Building (1896), the Macdonald Engineering Building (1907), and the Strathcona Medical Building (1907)—since renamed the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building. This expansion of the campus continued until 1920. In 1885, the university's Board of Governors formally adopted the use of the name McGill University. The Faculty of Law was founded in 1848, making it Canada's oldest. The school of architecture at McGill University was founded in 1896.[20]

Women's education at McGill began in 1884, when Donald Smith, also known as Lord Strathcona, began funding separate lectures for women, given by university staff members. The first degrees granted to women at McGill were conferred in 1888.[21] In 1899, the Royal Victoria College (RVC) opened as a residential college for women at McGill. Until the 1970s, all female undergraduate students, known as "Donaldas," were considered to be members of RVC.[22] Today, the College is an all-women's dormitory forming part of the university's residence system. In 1900, the university established the MacLennan Travelling Library. McGill University waltz composed by Frances C. Robinson, was published in Montréal by W.H. Scroggie, c 1904.[23]

In 1905, the university acquired a second campus when Sir William C. Macdonald, one of the university's major benefactors, endowed a college in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 32 kilometres west of Montreal. Macdonald College, now known as the Macdonald Campus, opened to students in 1907, originally offering programs in agriculture, household science, and teaching.

McGill established the first post-secondary institutions in British Columbia to provide degree programs to the growing cities of Vancouver and Victoria. It created Victoria College in 1903, a two-year college offering first and second-year McGill courses in arts and science, which was the predecessor institution to the modern University of Victoria. The province's first university was incorporated in Vancouver in 1908 as the McGill University College of British Columbia. The private institution granted McGill degrees until it became the independent University of British Columbia in 1915.[24]

McGill français movement

The 1960s represented an era of large nationalist and labour mobilizations in Quebec. At the time, English was seen as the privileged language of commerce. McGill, where francophones comprised only three percent of the student population, was seen by some as a bastion of anglophone privilege in a predominantly French-speaking city.[25][26]

The McGill français movement began in 1969, clamouring for a new McGill that would be francophone, pro-nationalist, and pro-worker.[27] The movement was led by Stanley Gray, a political science professor from Ontario. It was argued that, since McGill received the lion's share of government funding, paid by a taxpayer base that was largely francophone, the university should equally be accessible to that segment of the population.[28][29] Gray led a demonstration of 10,000 trade unionists, leftist activists, CEGEP students, and even some McGill students, at the university's Roddick Gates on March 28, 1969. Protesters shouted "McGill français", "McGill aux Québécois", and "McGill aux travailleurs" (McGill for workers). However, the majority of students and faculty opposed such a position, and many of the protesters were arrested.[30][31] The McGill français movement is the second-largest protest in the history of Montreal.[32]

Though McGill allowed students to write graduation theses in French as early as 1835, McGill never became a francophone or officially bilingual university. However, francophones now make up approximately 18 percent of the student body, a goal set by the administration in the wake of the movement.[33] Today, McGill is one of only three English-language universities in Quebec; fluency in French is not a requirement to attend. The Faculty of Law does, however, require all students to be "passively bilingual", meaning that all students must be able to read and understand spoken French—or English if the student is francophone—since English or French may be used at any time in a course. Since 1964, students in all faculties have been able to write exams and papers in either English or French, provided that the objective of the class is not to learn a particular language.[34]

University identity

McGill’s coat of arms.

McGill's coat of arms was granted by England's Garter-King-at-Arms in 1922 and registered in 1956 with Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh and in 1992 with the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada. In heraldic terms, the arms are described as "[a]rgent three Martlets Gules, on a chief dancette of the second, an open book proper garnished or bearing the legend In Domino Confido in letters Sable between two crowns of the first." A modern analysis is as follows:

The dancetty division line along the bottom of the chief reflects the three hills of Montreal, while the colours are those of Canada. The book in the centre of the chief represents learning (just like the book in every other university's coat of arms); the writing in the book is In Domino Confido (I trust in the Lord) and is the motto of J. McGill. The crowns (bearing fleur-de-lys) represent the location of the university in 'Mount Royal'.[35]

The Macdonald Campus has a differing coat of arms, honouring Sir William Macdonald, a major benefactor of the university's fledgling agricultural college.

The university's symbol is the martlet, stemming from the presence of the mythical bird on the official arms of the university. The school's official colours are red and white. McGill's motto is Grandescunt Aucta Labore, Latin for "By hard work, all things increase and grow."

The official school song is entitled "Hail, Alma Mater."[36]



McGill's full- and part-time student population includes 23,758 undergraduate and 8,756 graduate students. Of all graduate students, 490 are postdoctoral researchers and 943 are medical residents or fellows. Of the entire student population, 57.3% are from Quebec, while 23.7% come from the rest of Canada. International students make up 19.0% of the student population, the largest percentage of any Canadian university.[37] While the university is located in a Francophone province, only 17.5% of the students claim French as their first language compared to 52.8% English and 29.4% 'other'.[38]

McGill's students represent a diverse geographic and linguistic background. International students hail from about 160 different countries.[39] The plurality of McGill's international students are from the United States, making up 37% of all international students and 49% of all undergraduate international students.[40] A growing number of American students are attending McGill; they represent 9.7% of all undergraduates and 6.9% of all students at the university.[40] Many are attracted to the culture and dynamism of Montreal, the university's reputation, and the relatively low tuition costs in comparison to many top public and private universities in the United States.[41]

Faculties and schools

The Macdonald-Stewart Library Building houses the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering.

In the 2007–2008 school year, McGill offered over 340 academic programs in eleven faculties.[4][42] The university also offers over 250 doctoral and master's graduate degree programs. Despite strong increases in university enrolment across North America,[43] McGill has upheld a relatively low[44] and appealing[45] student-faculty ratio of 16:1.[46] There are nearly 1,600 tenured or tenure-track professors and 4,300 adjunct and visiting professors teaching at the university.[3]

Nearly 30% of all students are enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, McGill's largest academic unit. Of the other larger faculties, the Faculty of Science enrolls 14%, the Centre for Continuing Education enrolls 13%, the Faculty of Medicine enrolls 12%, the Faculty of Engineering and the Desautels Faculty of Management enroll 10% each. The remainder of all students are enrolled in McGill's smaller schools, including the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law, Schulich School of Music, and the Faculty of Religious Studies. Schools at the university include the School of Architecture, the School of Computer Science, the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, the School on Nursing, the School of Social Work, the School of Urban Planning, and the McGill School of Environment. The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office[47] (GPSO) oversees the admission and registration of graduate students (both master's and Ph.D.). GPSO administers graduate fellowships, postdoctoral affairs, and the graduation process, including the examination of theses. In conjunction with other units, it conducts regular program reviews in all disciplines.

Founded in 1956, the McGill Executive Institute provides business seminars and custom executive education to companies, government services and non-profit organizations. Led primarily by McGill faculty, the executive courses and management training programs are designed for all managerial levels, from board members to senior-level executives to junior managers.


McGill's Macdonald Campus, a sweeping area for environmental research, was featured for its 100th anniversary on a 2006 Canada Post stamp.[48]

Research plays a critical role at McGill. According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, "Researchers at McGill are affiliated with about 75 major research centres and networks, and are engaged in an extensive array of research partnerships with other universities, government and industry in Quebec and Canada, throughout North America and in dozens of other countries."[49] Annually, around 100 inventions take place at McGill.[50] In recognition of its research quality, McGill is affiliated with 11 Nobel Laureates and professors have won major teaching prizes. McGill's researchers are supported by the McGill University Library, which comprises 13 branch libraries and holds over six million items.[51]

Since 1926, McGill has been a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of research-intensive universities in North America. McGill is also a founding member of Universitas 21, an international association of research-driven universities. McGill is a member of the G13, a group of prominent research universities within Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press began as McGill in 1963 and amalgamated with Queen's in 1969. McGill-Queen's University Press focuses on Canadian studies and publishes the Canadian Public Administration Series. [52]

McGill is perhaps best recognized for its research and discoveries in the health sciences. William Osler, Wilder Penfield, Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and others made significant discoveries in medicine, neuroscience and psychology while working at McGill. The Montreal Neurological Institute is also located in McGill university, where many of these individuals worked. The first hormone governing the Immune System (later christened the Cytokine 'Interleukin-2') was discovered at McGill in 1965 by Gordon & McLean.[53] The invention of the world's first artificial cell was made by Thomas Chang, an undergraduate student at the university.[54] While chair of physics at McGill, nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford performed the experiment that led to the discovery of the alpha particle and its function in radioactive decay, which won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. Jack Szostak, professor of genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer.

William Chalmers invented Plexiglas while a graduate student at McGill.[55] In computing, MUSIC/SP, software for mainframes once popular among universities and colleges around the world, was developed at McGill. A team also contributed to the development of Archie, a pre-WWW search engine. A 3270 terminal emulator developed at McGill was commercialized and later sold to Hummingbird Software.


Undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools

University rankings
THE-QS World[56] 18
THE-QS Arts[57] 14
THE-QS Life Sciences/Biomed[58] 10
THE-QS Natural Sciences[59] 26
THE-QS Social Sciences[60] 17
THE-QS Engineering/Tech.[61] 20
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Medical/Doctoral[62] 1

McGill is Canada's top-ranked university among those offering medical and doctoral degrees, ranking first in Canada for the fifth consecutive year in the Maclean's 19th annual University Rankings issue.[63][64] The university has held first place in student awards for nine consecutive years, and consistently ranks first for reputation, average size, and number of social sciences and humanities grants per full-time faculty.[63] The Gourman Ranking of Canadian Universities also ranked McGill first in Canada in its 1998 report on undergraduate programs.[65]

Since Maclean's began ranking Canadian law schools in 2007, it has placed McGill's law school second overall for the second year in a row.[66][67] In particular, McGill's law school, which requires reading knowledge of French and offers the joint B.C.L./LL.B. degree in both civil law and common law, ranked first by supreme court clerkships, second by elite firm hiring, third by faculty hiring, fourth by faculty journal citations, and eight by national reach.[68]

The Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report awarded McGill top marks in its 2008 annual university survey. McGill received an A+ for Academic Reputation, the highest score of any large, medium, or small sized University. Additionally the school received an A- for: most satisfied students, quality of education, extracurricular activities, recreation and athletics, and campus atmosphere; as well as A's in both library services and campus technology. The Canadian University Report awarded McGill's downtown campus a D for its 'on-campus' food services and a C for its on-campus pub Gerts.[69]

In the Times Higher Education (THE) – QS World University Rankings 2009, McGill was ranked the best university in Canada, the best public university in North America, and 18th in the world.[70][71] Within specific fields, McGill ranked 10th in the life sciences and biomedicine, 14th in the arts and humanities, 17th in the social sciences, 26nd in the natural sciences, and 20th in technology.[72] When McGill placed 12th overall in the 2007 ranking, the achievement was regarded as the "highest rank to be reached by a Canadian institution."[73] In Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities 2009, McGill ranked third in Canada, 44nd in the Americas, and 65th in the world.[74] In its 2006 ranking of global universities, Newsweek ranked McGill third in Canada, 30th in North America, and 42nd worldwide.[75] In the 2008 College Prowler Online rankings for Academics at North American universities, McGill earned an A- for Academics; making it the only Canadian school to achieve a grade above a B-.[76]

In 2009, Forbes ranked McGill's business school, the Desautels Faculty of Management, 11th in the world among non-U.S. universities for its two-year MBA program.[77] The Financial Times, in its global MBA ranking, placed Desautels 44th in the world in 2006 and 96th in 2008, for a three year average rank of 77.[78] The ranking placed it 33rd and 31st worldwide in the value for money and alumni recommended categories respectively. In BusinessWeek's Best International B-Schools Of 2008, Desautels was ranked among the top 16 international business schools, ranking fourth in intellectual capital with a selectivity of 32%.[79] In 2009, The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the business school 75th in the world, and in particular, 15th in the world for breadth of alumni network.[80]


Research Infosource named McGill "Research University of the Year" in its 2003 and 2005 rankings of Canada's Top 50 Research Universities.[81][82] In 2007, Research Infosource ranked McGill the second-best research university in the country, after the University of Toronto.[82] They also ranked McGill University third in Canada in research-intensity and fourth in total-research funding,[83] finding that McGill ranks in the top five universities in terms of research dollars per full-time faculty member and number of refereed publications per full-time faculty member. The study showed that research funding represents approximately $259,100 per faculty member, the fourth highest in the country.[83]


McGill was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" in October 2008 and October 2009 by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine.[84]

The Sustainable Endowments Institute gave McGill a grade of "B" on the 2009 College Sustainability Report Card for its improvements in on-campus environmental sustainability,[85] with only 34 schools earning higher grade.[86]

Playboy Magazine, in its May 2006 issue, ranked McGill as the tenth best party school in North America. McGill was the only Canadian university in the list.[87]


Undergraduate and graduate schools

Admissions to McGill's undergraduate and graduate schools are competitive.[88][89] For the entering class of Fall 2008, McGill admitted 12,680 (47%) of 27,030 undergraduate applicants, and 3,426 (40%) of 8,540 graduate applicants. In total, 5,849 undergraduate students and 2,060 graduate students matriculated.[90]

McGill's entering undergraduate class has the highest average entering grades in Canada,[4] with about 90% of students ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.[40] The median high school average for the entering undergraduate class was 90% for Canadian students (90% for students in Ontario and 91% for students from other provinces) or a 3.7/4.0 GPA for American students.[90] The median SAT scores for verbal, math, and writing were 690, 680, and 690, respectively. The median ACT score was 30.[90] The median Quebec CEGEP r-score was 30.15.[90] Admissions to McGill are based on the overall average of top 5 grade 12 level courses, which must include grade 12 level English course. Depending on faculties, the pre-requisites must be included in the top 5 courses. Elective courses such as art, band, and geography can be included in the top 5 average.

A point to note is that Canadian students completing the regular high school curriculum as well as enriched programs including the International Baccalaureate Diploma program will receive offers of admission to the undergraduate faculties based strictly on their top 5 average. As opposed to reviewing the IB predicted scores, McGill has decided to review students' top 5 averages, an admission procedure that differs from almost every university in North America. Students are considered for admission based on high school percentages, per the requirements for their applicant pool,[91] giving disadvantages to IB diploma candidates with regard to admissions and scholarships. As a result, IB diploma candidates are placed in the same applicant pool as students completing the regular curriculum. Should a student not meet the minimum requirements, he or she will then be considered admission based on the IB predicted scores.[91] As a result, McGill is not appreciated or favoured by many IB students as well as IB coordinators alike. Since IB diploma students complete higher level courses as well as standard level courses, which are all academically challenging, it is difficult to receive high averages. Due to the competitive nature of the undergraduate schools, IB diploma candidates are required to obtain 5 or above on each IB subject or an overall predicted score of 30 or above, excluding extra points from the extended essay and theory of knowledge course.

Professional schools

Admissions to McGill's professional schools are also competitive.[92] For McGill law school students in 2007, the median undergraduate GPA was 83% (or 3.77/4.0) and the median LSAT score was 160 out of a possible 180 points (83rd percentile).[66][93] Among the 32% of applicants admitted to the Desautels Faculty of Management's MBA program, applicants had, on average, a GMAT score of 645, an age of 30, and 73 months of work experience.[80]


Downtown campus

Map of McGill campus and surrounding area.
Looking on to Downtown Montreal from the steps of the McGill Arts Building.

McGill's main campus is situated in downtown Montreal at the foot of Mount Royal.[94] Most of its buildings are situated in a park-like campus located north of Sherbrooke Street and south of Pine Ave between Peel and Aylmer streets. The campus also extends west of Peel for several blocks, starting North of Docteur-Penfield. The campus is near the Peel and McGill metro stations. All of the major university buildings were constructed using local grey limestone, which serves as a unifying element.[95]

Since the 1880s,[96] McGill has been affiliated with three Theological Colleges; the Montreal Diocesan Theological College (Anglican Church of Canada), The Presbyterian College, Montreal (Presbyterian Church in Canada), and United Theological College (United Church of Canada).[97] The university's Faculty of Religious Studies maintains additional affiliations with other theological institutions and organizations, such as the Montreal School of Theology.[98]

In addition to McGill's own Health Centre, McGill has been directly partnered with five separate teaching hospitals for decades, and also has a history of collaborating with many hospitals in Montreal. These cooperations allow the university to graduate over 1,000 students in health care each year.[99] McGill's contract-affiliated teaching hospitals include: Montreal Children's Hospital, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal Neurological Hospital, Montreal Chest Institute and Royal Victoria Hospital. Other hospitals that health care students may use include: Sir Mortimer B. Davis – Jewish General Hospital, Douglas Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital Center.[100]

Designed in the late 1980s, the McGill University Phytotron occupies the two top floors of the south block of the Stewart Biological Sciences Building.[101] It brings together a combination of growth chambers and greenhouse compartments to provide a diverse array of environments for the growth of experimental plants and organisms.[102]

The university's athletic facilities, including Molson Stadium, are located on Mount Royal, near the residence halls and the Montreal Neurological Institute. The Gymnasium is named in honour of General Sir Arthur William Currie.


McGill's downtown campus at night viewed from Mount Royal. The circular building in the foreground is the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building.

McGill's residence system is relatively small for a school of its size, housing approximately 2,400 undergraduate students and a handful of graduate students.[103] Most McGill students do not live in residence (known colloquially as "rez") after their first year of study, even if they are not from the Montreal area. With the exception of students returning as "floor fellows" or "dons", the majority of McGill residences are for first-year undergraduate students only. Senior students are expected to find off-campus housing.

Many first-year students live in the Bishop Mountain Residences ("Upper Rez"),[104] a series of concrete dormitories on the slope of Mount Royal, consisting of McConnell Hall, Molson Hall, Gardner Hall, and Douglas Hall. Douglas Hall, which opened in 1937, is distinguished by its impressive stone facade and wood interiors. McConnell, Molson, and Gardner Halls, all built in the 1960s, share a cafeteria, located at the centre of the three dormitories, known as Bishop Mountain Hall.

Royal Victoria College, the second-largest residence at McGill, is a women's only dormitory. McGill's second newest residence, aptly named New Residence Hall ("New Rez") is a converted four-star hotel located a few blocks east of campus. New Rez is the largest of the university's dormitories. Solin Hall is an apartment-style residence four metro stops from campus. The McGill Off-Campus Residence Experience (MORE) residences consist of a series of converted apartment buildings and houses, the largest of which is The Greenbriar, an apartment-style residence located across from the Milton Gates.

In autumn 2008, due to the abundance of first-year students seeking to live "in rez" and the lack of available rooms in which to place said students, the University chose to lease four floors of a privately owned apartment building and turn them into a typical McGill "rez" by installing four floor fellows. The building, called "515 Ste. Catherine", is on the corner of Rue Ste. Catherine and Rue City Councillors, close to campus yet in the heart of downtown Montreal. It was completely renovated before McGill students moved in and features a gym, movie theater, and fully furnished apartments. However, the McGill Residence Office decided to forgo use of the building after summer 2009. Instead, in April 2009, McGill acquired the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at 475 Sherbrooke Street West. The hotel was converted into a new student residence, which opened in fall 2009. Although it is the newest residence, students either call it Sherbrooke or, informaly, "New New Rez"; officially, however, the building has been named Carrefour Sherbrooke Residence Hall.

Most second-year students transition to off-campus apartment housing, and apartment hunting is sometimes seen as a rite of passage for McGill students. Many students end up living in the "McGill Ghetto," the neighbourhood directly to the east of the downtown campus. In recent years, finding affordable housing has been challenging because of the city's tight housing market, particularly in neighbourhoods close to the McGill campus.[105] Students have begun moving out to other areas because of rising rent prices.

Master Plan

McGill has begun an ambitious process to lay the groundwork for future development. A Task Force on Campus Planning has been created to study the issue. It has begun to consult widely within the McGill and greater community on a broad range of issues including community life, physical development plans, and other issues. Its recommendations include how McGill can develop in a way that supports the University’s mission and goals, and continues to benefit and bring value to the surrounding areas and the greater Montreal community. Among the guiding principles of the Task Force’s work are commitment to community, responsible stewardship, maintenance of green space and the integrity of the mountain, and the preservation of heritage architectural assets.[106][107]

One new initiative is to turn McGill into a car-free campus.[108]

Redevelopment Plan

In 2006, the Quebec government initiated a $1.6 billion LEED redevelopment project for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The project will expand facilities to two separate campuses[109] and consolidate the various hospitals of the MUHC on the site of an old CP rail yard adjacent to the Vendôme metro station. This site, known as Glen Yards, comprises 170,000 square metres (43 acres) and spans portions of Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood and the city of Westmount.[110] The Glen Yards project is controversial due to local opposition to the project, environmental issues, and the cost of the project itself.[111] The project, which has received approval from the provincial government, is expected to be complete by 2010.[112]

Macdonald Campus

A second campus, the Macdonald Campus, in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue houses the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Science, the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, the Institute of Parasitology, and the McGill School of Environment. The Morgan Arboretum and the J. S. Marshall Radar Observatory are nearby.

The Morgan Arboretum was created in 1945. It is a 2.5 square kilometre (610 acres) forested reserve with the aim of 'teaching, research, and public education'. Its mandated research goals are:

* To continue research related to maintaining the health of the Arboretum plantations and woodlands.
  • To develop new programs related to selecting species adapted to developing environmental conditions.
  • To develop silvicultural practices that preserve and enhance biological diversity in both natural stands and plantations.
—Morgan Arboretum[113]


In 2007, McGill premiered its Office of Sustainability and added a second full-time position in this area, the Director of Sustainability in addition to the Sustainability Officer.[114] Recent efforts in implementing its sustainable development plan include the new Life Sciences Center which was built with LEED-Silver certification and a green roof, as well as an increase in parking rates in January 2008 to fund other sustainability projects.[114] Other student projects include The Flat: Bike Collective, which promotes alternative transportation, and the Farmer's Market, which occurs during the fall harvest.[115] The Farmer's Market and many other initiatives came out of student collaboration during the Rethink Conference 2008.[116]

Other facilities

McGill's Bellairs Research Institute, located in St. James, Barbados 12°10′N 59°35′W / 12.167°N 59.583°W / 12.167; -59.583, is Canada's only teaching and research facility in the tropics.[117] The institute has been in use for over 50 years. Its facilities are regularly utilized by the Canadian Space Agency for research.

The laboratories of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre are located in St. Andrews, N.B., on 300,000 square metres (74 acres) of land at the estuary of the St. Croix River.[118] It hosts the Atlantic Reference Centre, which is known throughout the Maritimes for its extensive marine biology collections.[119] The HMS is a research facility "committed to the advancement of the marine sciences through basic and applied research"[120] and acts as a field facility for research and teaching by McGill and other member universities.

McGill's Gault Nature Reserve 45°32′N 73°10′W / 45.533°N 73.167°W / 45.533; -73.167 spans over 10 square kilometres (2,471 acres) of forest land, the largest remaining remnant of the primeval forests of the St. Lawrence River Valley.[121] The first scientific studies at the site occurred in 1859. The site has been the site of extensive research activities: "Today there are over 400 scientific articles, 100 graduate theses, more than 50 government reports and about 30 book chapters that are based on research at Mont St. Hilaire."[122]


McGill's urban location in downtown Montreal provides students the opportunity to experience both a rich campus culture and an urban lifestyle.[123] Students also have the benefit of an expansive agricultural campus, the Macdonald Campus.

Student organizations

SSMU was one of the first student societies in Canada to use an online voting system for campus elections.

The campus has an active students' union represented by the undergraduate Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU) and the Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University (PGSS). In addition, each faculty has its own student governing body. There are hundreds of clubs and student organizations at the university. Many of them are centred around McGill's student union building, the University Centre. In 1992, students held a referendum which called for the University Centre to be named for actor and McGill alumnus William Shatner.[124] The university administration refused to accept the name and did not attend the opening. Traditionally, the administration names buildings in honour of deceased members of the university community or for major benefactors—Shatner is neither.[125] McGill has had a student club supporting lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender students since 1972. The group, originally named "Gay McGill", was renamed "Queer McGill" in 1998 to better identify with the diversity of its members.[126] Queer McGill supports both students and non-student members of the McGill community.[127] Membership in 2002 was over 400.[126]

McGill has two English-language student-run newspapers: the McGill Daily and the McGill Tribune, both of which are financially independent publications. The McGill Daily was first published in 1911. The Daily is the oldest daily student paper in Canada; it currently is published twice weekly.[128] The Délit français is the Daily's French-language counterpart. The combined circulation of both papers is over 28,000.[128] The McGill Foreign Affairs Review is a student-run journal about international affairs. Since 1988, The Red Herring has been the main satire magazine of Mcgill University. CKUT (90.3 FM) is the campus radio station. TVMcGill is the University TV station, broadcasting on closed-circuit television and over the internet.[129]

While fraternities and sororities are not a large part of student life at McGill, some, including fraternities Sigma Chi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Upsilon, and Zeta Psi, and sororities Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Alpha Omicron Pi, have been established for many years at the university. Phi Kappa Pi, Canada's only national fraternity, was founded at McGill and the University of Toronto in 1913 and continues to be active to this day. Events including Greek week, held annually during the first week of February, have been established to promote Greek life on campus. With just over 2% of the student body population participating, involvement is well below that of most American universities,[130] but on par with most Canadian schools.

The three oldest a cappella groups on campus are Tonal Ecstasy, Effusion and Soulstice. These groups perform multiple times during the year at on- and off-campus events.

Student organizations at McGill are internationally recognized in a variety of ways. Many larger organizations and NGOs have a local presence on campus. The International Relations Students Association of McGill (IRSAM) currently has consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).[131] Since 1990, IRSAM has hosted an annual Model United Nations, McMUN, for university students and since 1993 it has hosted an annual Model United Nations, SSUNS, for high school students.

Numerous other humanitarian groups can be found: Oxfam McGill, End Poverty Now, and Free the Children are just a few. Numerous student interest groups enhance university life while representing a variety of interests and perspectives.


McGill is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) by the McGill Redmen (men's) and the McGill Martlets (women's). The school fields between 45 and 53 varsity teams on an annual basis.[132] McGill's unique mascot, Marty the Martlet, was introduced during the 2005 Homecoming game,[133]

The downtown McGill campus sport and exercise facilities include: the McGill Sports Centre (which includes the Tomlinson Fieldhouse and the Windsor Varsity Clinic),[134] Molson Stadium, Memorial Pool, Tomlinson Hall, McConnell Arena, Forbes Field, many outdoor tennis courts and other extra-curricular arenas and faculties.[135] The Macdonald Campus facilities, include an arena, a gymnasium, a pool, tennis courts, fitness centres and hundreds of acres of green space for regular use.[136] The university's largest sporting venue, Molson Stadium, was constructed in 1914. It seats over 20,000 people and is the current home field of the Montreal Alouettes.[137]

Fight song

The McGill University song book, compiled by a committee of graduates and undergraduates, was published in Montreal by W.F. Brown, circa 1896.[138] Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are:

  • 'Alma Mater McGill,' with words by J. McDougall;
  • 'L'Enfant du McGill,' with words by Louis-Honoré Fréchette, and music by Guillaume Couture;
  • 'God Save McGill,' with words by W.M. Mackeracher, tune 'God Save the Queen';
  • 'A Health to Old McGill,' with words by R.W. Huntingdon, and music by Mrs W.C. Baynes;
  • 'McGill,' with words by C.W. Colby, sung to the tune 'The Gay Cavalier';
  • 'McGill Revisited,' with words by John Cox,
  • 'McGill Students' with words by W.N. Evans;
  • 'The Student of McGill,' with words by R.D. McGibbon[139]


A hockey match taking place at McGill in 1901.

The inventions of North American football, hockey, rugby and basketball are all related to McGill in some way. Even the introduction of cross-country skiing has a McGill connection.

The first game of North American football was played between McGill and Harvard on May 14, 1874,[140] leading to the spread of American football throughout the Ivy League.[141] The world's first organized hockey club, made up of McGill students, played their first game on January 31, 1877.[142] In 1865, the first recorded game of rugby in North America occurred in Montreal, between British army officers and McGill students.[143][144] McGill alumnus James Naismith invented basketball in early December 1891.[145] Norwegian Herman "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen popularized cross-country skiing in North America from McGill's Gault Estate in Mont St. Hilaire. Johannsen also helped coach Canada's 1932 Olympic team.

There has been a McGill alumnus or alumna competing at every Olympic Games since 1908.[146][147][148] Swimmer George Hodgson won two gold medals at the 1912 Summer Olympics, ice hockey goaltender Kim St-Pierre won gold medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics and at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Other 2006 gold medalists are Jennifer Heil (women's freestyle mogul) and goaltender Charline Labonté (women's ice hockey).

In 1996, the McGill Sports Hall of Fame was established to honour its best student athletes. Notable members of the Hall of Fame include James Naismith and Sydney Pierce.


McGill maintains an academic and athletic rivalry with Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Animosity between rowing athletes at the two schools has inspired an annual boat race between the two universities in the spring of each year since 1997, inspired by the famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. The football rivalry, which started in 1884, ended after Canadian university athletic divisions were re-organized in 2000; the Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference was divided into Ontario University Athletics and Quebec Student Sports Federation. The rivalry returned in 2002 when it transferred to the annual home-and-home hockey games between the two institutions. Queen's students refer to these matches as "Kill McGill" games, and usually show up in Montreal in atypically large numbers to cheer on the Queen's Golden Gaels hockey team. In 2007, McGill students arrived in bus-loads to cheer on the McGill Redmen, occupying a third of Queen's Jock Harty Arena.

The school also competes in the annual "Old Four (IV)" soccer tournament, with Queen's University, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.

McGill and Harvard also maintain a rivalry, represented by the biennial Harvard-McGill games, alternately played in Montreal and Cambridge, MA.

Hazing scandal

A 2005 hazing scandal forced the cancellation of the final two games in the McGill Redmen football season. An investigation into the incident showed that "the event did involve nudity, degrading positions and behaviours, gagging, touching in inappropriate manners with a broomstick, as well as verbal and physical intimidation of rookies by a large portion of the team."[149] In 2006, McGill's Senate approved a proposed anti-hazing policy to define forbidden initiation practices.[150]


As a public university, McGill is not as dependent on its endowment for operating revenue as some of its international peers. The McGill endowment only provides approximately 10 per cent of the school's annual operating revenues.[151] Nonetheless, McGill's endowment rests within the top 10 percent of all North American post-secondary institutions' endowments.[152] While McGill's conservative investment policy has protected it from the more substantial losses experienced at many other universities during the market crisis of 2008–2009, it still faced a 20% endowment decline from approximately $920 million to $740 million.[151] Valued at $21,633 per student, the university maintains one of the largest endowments among Canadian universities on a per-student basis.

In an open letter to faculty and students, Heather Munroe-Blum wrote: "The next few years do not promise to be easy. But in facing this challenge, McGill has a unique advantage in addition to that of the fundamental progress we have made. This university has lived with restricted resources and uncertainty for almost two hundred years – it is part of our culture. And yet, against this backdrop of hardship, we have always retained our commitment to excellence. We are one of the world’s great universities. This will not change. In my installation speech in the spring of 2003, I said McGill “punches above its weight.” We will continue to do so. In order to stay the course, we must now move with confidence, pride, excitement and discipline to seize every opportunity to put McGill in an ideal position to leap forward with the inevitable recovery."[151]

Campaign McGill

Campaign McGill: History in the Making is a five-year comprehensive campaign that began in October 2007,[153] with the goal of raising over $750 million for the purpose of further "attracting and retaining top talent in Quebec, to increase access to quality education and to further enhance McGill's ability to address critical global problems."[154] The largest goal of any Canadian university fundraising campaign in history,[154][155] within the first six months, McGill had accumulated over $400 million towards its efforts.[156] Support to McGill’s annual fund has actually increased during the market crisis.[151] According to Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, she is confident that Campaign McGill will reach its $750 million goal by 2012.[151]


Tuition fees vary significantly between in-province, out-of-province, and international students, with full-time Quebec students paying around $1,868 per semester, Canadian students from other provinces paying around $7,500 per year, and international students paying $14,000–$22,000 per year.[157][158] Students must also pay housing costs, though Montreal has some of the least expensive housing among large North Americans cities.

Since 1996, McGill, in accordance with the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), has had eight categories that qualifies certain international students to be excused from paying international fees. These categories include: students from France, a quota of students from select countries which have agreements with MELS, which include Algeria, China, and Morocco,[159] students holding diplomatic status, including their dependents, and students enrolled in certain language programs leading to a degree in French.[160]

Scholarships and financial aid

Scholarships at McGill are relatively difficult to attain, compared to other Canadian universities.[161][162][163][164][165] This is predominantly due to the number of high academic achievers at the school. For out-of-province first year undergraduate students, a high school average of 95% is required to receive a guaranteed one-year entrance scholarship.[166] To be considered for the same scholarships, Quebec CEGEP students need a minimum r-score of 35.5, United States high school students need a minimum A average as well as at least 700 in each SAT or 33 in the ACT, and French Baccalaureate students need an average of 15.5 plus a minimum score of 14 in each course; similarly, students in the British education system need As in both GCSE Level and predicted Advanced Level results, and International Baccalaureate students need to attain a minimum overall average of 6.9 on predicted grades or a score of 42 on exam results. In general, entrance scholarship recipients rank in the top 1–2% of their class.

For renewal of previously earned scholarships, students generally need to be within the top 10% of their faculty.[167] For in-course scholarships in particular, students must be within the top 5% of their faculty.[168][169] McGill itself outlines scholarship considerations as follows: "Competition for basic and major scholarships is intense at McGill. An extraordinary number of exceptional applications are received each year and therefore we cannot award scholarships to all good candidates."[166] However, it should be noted that for the 2008–2009 school year, over 85% more entrance scholarships may be given to applicants, a number greater than ever before.[170]

The university has joined Project Hero, a scholarship program cofounded by General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier for the families of fallen Canadian Forces members. [171]

Notable people

Charles Taylor studied at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from McGill.

Students and professors at McGill have been recognized as academics, businesspeople, politicians, and sportspeople.

In the arts, McGill students include three Pulitzer Prize winners,[172][173][174] Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor,[175] essayist and novelist John Ralston Saul, a Companion of the Order of Canada along with Charles Taylor, Juno Award winner Sam Roberts, and William Shatner, best known for his portrayal of Captain Kirk on Star Trek and winner of several Emmy Awards. Nine Academy Award winners studied at McGill.[176] In the sciences, students include doctors, inventors, three astronauts and scientist Dr. Mark J. Poznansky, a member of the Order of Canada.[177] On October 16th 2009, the 42nd American president, Bill Clinton accepted an Honorary Doctorate from McGill University.[178]

Some politicians and government officials both within Canada and abroad are McGill alumni, including two Canadian prime ministers and four justices of the Supreme Court of Canada.[179] Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga completed her Ph.D. at McGill and was elected as president of the Republic of Latvia in 1999 as the first female president in Eastern Europe after Turkey's Tansu Çiller. Ahmed Nazif also completed a Ph.D. at McGill in 1983 and has served as the youngest prime minister of Egypt since the republic's founding 1953.

Corporate leaders and media personalities have also studied at McGill. Leading Canadian philanthropist and entrepreneur Seymour Schulich donated $20 million, the highest donation to any music school in Canada, to the newly-named Schulich School of Music. Henry Mintzberg, a professor at McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management is an acclaimed management thinker and contributes to The New York Times and The Economist. Mintzberg is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Co-founder and president of Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd., which innovates globally in graphics, video editing, and image processing, Lorne Trottier has donated $10 million towards services in information and technology at McGill. The new engineering building is called Trottier, named after Lorne Trottier.

McGill students are also recognized as beauty queens, including one Miss Earth titleholder, and athletes, including various members of Canadian national teams and twenty-eight Olympic medalists. Since the Olympics began, McGill has produced 112 Olympians who have won a total of eight gold medals, nine silver, and eleven bronze.[180][181]

Jacob Viner, who would later go on to form the beginnings of the modern day Chicago School of Economics, earned his undergraduate degree from McGill.

Professors at McGill have won 26 Prix du Québec, 14 Prix de l'Association francophone pour le savoir and 21 Killam Prizes. Eight Nobel Laureates have studied or taught at McGill.

As chair of physics at McGill, Ernest Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his work in atomic physics.

Since 1902, Canadian undergraduate students have been eligible for Rhodes Scholarships to study at the University of Oxford. Today, 2 Canadian students in Quebec (out of 11 scholarships given to Canada overall) are awarded these scholarships each year. More than any other university, McGill students have earned 131 Rhodes Scholarships.[182][183] These students include parliamentary and cabinet ministers David Lewis (1932), Alastair Gillespie (1947), and Marcel Massé (1963), the political philosopher Charles Taylor (1952), and the U.S. political advisor and inventor Jack Phillips (1978).

Fictional people

In fiction, characters from movies and television shows have also been portrayed as McGill students, professors, or researchers. Fictional alumni from McGill include Lieutenant Alan McGregor, played by Gary Cooper in the movie Lives Of the Bengal Lancers (1935), and Major Donald Craig, a Canadian commando serving with British special forces during World War II, portrayed by Rock Hudson in the 1967 war movie Tobruk (though the film was loosely based on real events, it is not clear whether or not Hudson's character was based on a real person: most likely he was a pastiche character, given a Canadian background as cover for Hudson's inability to emulate a British accent). In the television drama House by Fox Network, James Wilson, an oncologist at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital is also a McGill alumnus. Walter Langkowski, a researcher from the Marvel Comics Canadian superhero series Alpha Flight, is portrayed as a McGill-based biophysicist researching the gamma radiation accident which created the Hulk. Langkowski's discoveries transformed him into the superhero known as Sasquatch.

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Further reading

  • Axelrod, Paul. "McGill University on the Landscape of Canadian Higher Education: Historical Reflections." Higher Education Perspectives 1 (1996–97).
  • Coleman, Brian. "McGill, British Columbia." McGill Journal of Education 6, no. 2 (Autumn 1976).
  • Collard, Andrew. The McGill You Knew: An Anthology of Memories, 1920–1960. Toronto: Longman Canada, 1975.
  • Frost, Stanley B.'The History of McGill in Relation to the Social, Economic and Cultural Aspects of Montreal and Quebec' (Montreal: McGill University. 1979).
  • Frost, Stanley B. 'McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning.' Vols I.(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press © 1980)ISBN 9780773503533
  • Frost, Stanley B. 'McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning.' Vol II.(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press © 1984)ISBN 9780773504226
  • Gillett, Margaret. 'We Walked Very Warily: A History of Women at McGill'. Montreal: Eden Press, 1981.
  • Markell, H. Keith 'The Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, 1948–1978' (Montreal: Faculty of Religious Studies, 1979)
  • McNally, Peter F. McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning (1970–2002)' Vol III (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press Not yet published.)
  • Young, Brian J. 'The Making and Unmaking of a University Museum: The McCord, 1921–1996' (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, June 1, 2000)ISBN 9780773520493 and ISBN 9780773520509

External links

Coordinates: 45°30′15″N 73°34′29″W / 45.50417°N 73.57472°W / 45.50417; -73.57472

Simple English

McGill University or just McGill is an university in Montreal, Canada. It was created in 1821, few years before the country Canada existed. McGill University does a lot of important research and has North America's first Museum, called Redpath Museum.

Many people think McGill University is one of the best universities in North America[1].


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