McGill University

McGill University. Study in Canada. Top 3 university in Canada.

McGill University Details

  • Country : Canada
  • City : Montreal
  • Acronym : MGU
  • Founded : 1821
  • Students (approx.) : 40000
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McGill University is one of Canada’s best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. With students coming to McGill from some 150 countries, our student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in the country.  McGill was founded in 1821 thanks to a generous bequest by James McGill, and since then, we’ve grown from a small college to a bustling university with two campuses, 10 faculties, some 300 programs of study, and 40,000 students. The University also partners with four affiliated teaching hospitals to graduate over 1,000 health care professionals each year.

A Tradition of Success

McGill is recognized around the world for the excellence of its teaching and research programs. Ernest Rutherford’s Nobel Prize-winning research on the nature of radioactivity was conducted at McGill, part of a long tradition of innovation on our campuses that includes the invention of the artificial blood celland Plexiglas. Today our professors are building the new field of epigenetics, developing alternative energy sources from crop plants and driving human achievement in every field imaginable.  Our 250,000+ graduates form a vast global network, with many alumni reaching the top of their professions as Supreme Court Justices, award-winning authors and musicians, astronauts and more.

The Brightest Students

In addition to a stellar faculty, McGill is known for attracting the brightest students from across Canada, the United States, and around the world. McGill students have the highest average entering grades in Canada, and our commitment to fostering the very best has helped our students win more national and international awards on average than their peers at any other Canadian university. The prestigious Rhodes Scholarship has gone to a nation-leading 138 McGill students.

The ability to balance academic excellence with the extracurricular is another hallmark of the McGill student. In addition to a rich athletic tradition that includes many Olympians and the birth of hockey and football, thousands of McGill students participate in the hundreds of clubs, associations and community groups that enrich Montreal and contribute to a vibrant campus life.

With some 300 buildings, 40,000 students, 250,000 living alumni, and a reputation for excellence that reaches around the globe, McGill has carved out a spot among the world’s greatest universities.

We invite you to explore some of the momentous achievements of McGill and McGillians.  While we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, our story is still being written, and new chapters are added all the time. If you’re considering an academic career at McGill, we hope that one day you will count your own pages among them.

  • 1821 founding date of McGill University
  • 1st in Canada among medical-doctoral universities for eleven consecutive years (Maclean’s 2016)
  • 24th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2015/16)
  • 300+ programs of study
  • 25% international students
  • 23% graduate students
  • Highest % of PhD students of any Canadian research university
  • 180 countries where alumni live and work
  • 139 Rhodes Scholars—the highest among Canadian universities
  • 12 Nobel Prizewinners—the highest among Canadian universities

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences



  • School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition
  • McGill School of Environment


  • Animal Science
  • Bioresource Engineering
  • Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry
  • Natural Resource Sciences – Agricultural Economics
  • Plant Science


  • Farm Management and Technology Program
  • Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Freshman Program
Research centres

  • Avian Science and Conservation Centre
  • Brace Centre for Water Resources Management
  • Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment


  • Institute of Parasitology
  • Institute for Global Food Security


  • Dairy Information Systems Group
  • Lyman Entomological Museum
  • McGill University Herbarium

Faculty of Arts



  • School of Social Work
  • McGill School of Environment
  • School of Information Studies (SIS)
  • School of Religious Studies


  • Anthropology
  • Art History and Communication Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • French Language Centre
  • Langue et littérature françaises
  • German Studies
  • Hispanic Studies
  • History and Classical Studies
  • Italian Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Russian and Slavic Studies
  • Sociology

  • Burney Centre
  • Centre for East Asian Research
  • Indian Ocean World Centre
  • Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Centre for Research on Children and Families
  • Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship


  • Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
  • Institute for Health and Social Policy
  • Institute of Islamic Studies
  • McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
  • Institute for the Study of International Development
  • Media@McGill
  • Centre for Society, Technology and Development(STANDD)

School of Continuing Studies



  • Career and Professional Development Education
  • Education
  • Faculty Partnerships and Summer Studies
  • Language and Intercultural Communication
  • McGill Community for Lifelong Learning
  • Summer Studies
  • Translation & Written Communication

Faculty of Dentistry

Research centres

  • Centre for Research on Pain


Faculty of Education



  • Educational and Counselling Psychology
  • Integrated Studies in Education
  • Kinesiology and Physical Education

Research centres

  • International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors


  • A. S. Lamb Learning Centre
  • Jewish Teacher Training Program
  • McGill Writing Centre
Research labs, groups and projects

  • Advanced Technologies for Learning in Authentic Settings (ATLAS)
  • Aging Muscle Lab
  • Applied Cognitive Science Research Group
  • Biomechanics Lab: Ice Hockey Research Group (IHRG)
  • CORE (Coping and Resilience) Research Team
  • Doc-Work
  • Health Behaviour and Emotion Lab (HBEL)
  • Heath Research Team
  • High Ability and Inquiry Research Group
  • Higher Education Research Group
  • McGill Psychotherapy Process Research Group (MPPRG)
  • McGill Youth Study Team (MYST)
  • Multimodal Interaction Laboratory
  • Muscle Physiology and Biophysics Lab
  • Neuromuscular Control Lab
  • Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Lab
  • Resilience, Pediatric Psychology, and Neurogenetic Connections Lab (The Connections Lab)
  • Sladeczek Research Team
  • Sport Psychology Research Lab
  • Talwar Child Development Research Lab

Faculty of Engineering


Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


Faculty of Law


Interdisciplinary programs

  • Joint Program in Management & Law (MBA & BCL/LLB)
  • Joint Program in Social Work & Law (MSW & BCL/LLB)
  • Master’s Specialization in Bioethics
  • Masters in Law with Specialization in Environment

Research centres

  • Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
  • Centre for Intellectual Property Policy
  • Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law


  • Institute of Air & Space Law
  • Institute of Comparative Law
  • Institute of European Studies

Desautels Faculty of Management


Undergraduate Programs

  • BCom
  • International Summer Program

Master’s Programs

  • MBA
  • Professional Part-Time MBA
  • MBA Japan
  • Masters In Manufacturing Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Professional Accounting (CPA)
  • MBA/Law
  • MD/MBA

Executive Programs

  • McGill Executive Institute
  • McGill-HEC Executive MBA (EMBA)
  • International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL)
  • International Masters In Practicing Management (IMPM)
  • McGill Executive Leadership Experience (MELE)

PhD Program
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  • Social Learning for Social Impact

Other resources

  • Career Services
  • University Advancement

Research centres

  • Business & Management Research Centre
  • Centre for Strategy Studies in Organizations
  • Desmarais Global Finance Research Centre
  • Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies
  • International Business Families Centre
  • Management Science Research Centre
  • Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management
  • McGill Institute of Marketing
  • McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics
  • NSERC-CREATE Program on Healthcare Operations and Information Management
  • Program for International Competitiveness

Faculty of Medicine



  • School of Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Ingram School of Nursing
  • School of Physical & Occupational Therapy


  • Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • Anesthesia
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health
  • Family Medicine
  • Human Genetics
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology & Immunology
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Physiology
  • Psychiatry
  • Social Studies of Medicine
  • Surgery

Affliated hospitals

  • Douglas Hospital
  • Montreal Children’s Hospital
  • Montreal General Hospital
  • Montreal Neurological Hospital
  • MUHC (McGill University Health Centre)
  • Royal Victoria Hospital
  • St. Mary’s Hospital Center
  • Sir Mortimer B. Davis – Jewish General Hospital
Research centres

  • Centre for Bone and Periodontal Research
  • Centre for Nursing Research
  • Centre for Research in Neuroscience
  • Centre for Research on Language, Mind and Brain
  • Centre for the Study of Host Resistance
  • McGill AIDS Centre
  • McGill Cancer Centre
  • McGill Centre for Bioinformatics
  • McGill Centre for Studies in Aging
  • McGill Centre for Translational Research in Cancer
  • McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre


  • Biomedical Ethics Unit
  • Centre for Medical Education
  • Continuing Medical Education
  • Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Division of Dermatology
  • Division of Gastroenterology
  • Division of General Internal Medicine
  • Division of General Surgery
  • Division of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry
  • Division of Surgical Research
  • Division of Urology
  • Global Health Programs
  • Programs in Whole Person Care
  • Technology Assessment Unit of the MUHC

Schulich School of Music



  • Performance
  • Music Research

Research centres

  • Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology


  • McGill Conservatory of Music

Faculty of Science


Schools and departments

  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth & Planetary Sciences
  • Geography
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • McGill School of Environment
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Redpath Museum
  • School of Computer Science

Affiliated departments

  • Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Physiology

Interdisciplinary programs

  • Bachelor of Arts & Sciences (BA & Sc)
  • Cognitive Science
  • Earth System Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Sustainability, Science and Society

Field stations

  • Bellairs Research Institute (Holetown, Barbados)
  • Gault Nature Reserve (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC)
  • McGill Arctic Research Station (Expedition Fjord, on Central Axel Heiberg Island, NU)
  • McGill Subarctic Research Station (Schefferville, QC)
  • Wilder and Helen Penfield Nature Reserve (Lake Memphrémagog, QC)
Research centres, research institutes, other

  • Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain
  • Cell Imaging and Analysis Network
  • Centre for High Energy Physics/Astrophysics
  • Centre for Intelligent Machines
  • Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology
  • Centre for Research on Language, Mind and Brain
  • Centre for Self-Assembled Chemical Structures
  • Centre for the Physics of Materials
  • Developmental Biology Research Initiative
  • Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre (GEC3)
  • Institut des sciences mathématiques
  • Laboratory for Experimental Ecology and Evolution
  • Limnology Research Centre
  • McGill Centre for Bioinformatics
  • McGill Centre for Research on Pain
  • McGill Institute for Advanced Materials
  • Polymer McGill Research Centre
  • Pulp and Paper Research Centre
  • Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science

Facilities and services

  • Facility for Electron Microscopy Research
  • High Field (800 MHz) NMR Facility
  • Nanotools Facility
  • Nanotools Microfab Laboratory
    Office for Science and Society (OSS)
  • Office for Undergraduate Research in Science (OURS)
  • Phytotron
  • Research Innovation Office (RIO)
  • Science Internships & Field Studies Office
  • Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA)
  • Statistical Consulting Service
  • Tomlinson Project in University-Level Science Education (TPULSE)


The Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning (RIAL) was created in 1801 under an Act of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada – An Act for the establishment of Free Schools and the Advancement of Learning in this Province.

In 1816 the RIAL was authorized to operate two new Royal Grammar Schools, in Quebec City and in Montreal. This was a turning point for public education in Lower Canada as the schools were created by legislation, the District Public Schools Act of 1807, which showed the government’s willingness to support the costs of education and even the salary of a schoolmaster. This was an important first step in the creation of nondenominational schools. When James McGill died in 1813 his bequest was administered by the RIAL.

The original two Royal Grammar Schools closed in 1846 and by the mid-19th century the RIAL lost control of the other 82 grammar schools it had administered. Its sole remaining purpose was to administer the McGill bequest on behalf of the private college. 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), the Montreal Neurological Institute and the Royal Victoria College (the former women’s college turned residence). Since the revised Royal Charter of 1852, The Trustees of the RIAL comprise the Board of Governors of McGill University.

James McGill, born in Glasgow, Scotland on 6 October 1744, was a successful English- and French-speaking merchant in Quebec, having matriculated into Glasgow University in 1756. Between 1811 and 1813, he drew up a will leaving his “Burnside estate”, a 19-hectare (47-acre) tract of rural land and 10,000 pounds to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning.

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, added the establishing of a University pursuant to the conditions of McGill’s will to its original function of administering elementary education in Lower Canada.

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.” The will specified that a private, constituent college would be required to bear his name and the school must be established within 10 years of his death; otherwise the bequest would revert to the heirs of his wife.

On March 31, 1821, after protracted legal battles with the Desrivières 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.

Though McGill College received its Royal Charter in 1821, it 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.

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). The university also historically has strong linkage with The Canadian Grenadier Guards, a military regiment in which James McGill served as the Lieutenant-Colonel. This title is marked upon the stone that stands before the Arts building, from where the Guards step off annually to commemorate Remembrance Day.

The Faculty of Law was founded in 1848 which is also the oldest of its kind in the nation. 48 years later, the school of architecture at McGill University was founded.

Sir John William Dawson, McGill’s principal from 1855 to 1893, is often credited with transforming the school into a modern university. 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 Square Milearea 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.

William Spier designed the addition of West Wing of the Arts Building for William Molson, 1861. Alexander Francis Dunlop designed major alterations to the East Wing of McGill College (now called the Arts Building, McGill University) for Prof. Bovey and the Science Dept., 1888. This expansion of the campus continued until 1920. Buildings designed byAndrew Taylor, include the Redpath Museum (1880), Macdonald Physics Building (1893), the Redpath Library (1893), the Macdonald Chemistry Building (1896), the Macdonald Engineering Building (1907)—now known as the Macdonald-Stewart Library Building, and the Strathcona Medical Building (1907)—since renamed the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building.

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.

In 1885, the university’s Board of Governors formally adopted the use of the name “McGill University”. 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.

George Allan Ross designed the Pathology Building, 1922–23; the Neurological Institute, 1933; Neurological Institute addition 1938 at McGill University. Jean Julien Perrault (architect) designed the McTavish Street residence for Charles E. Gravel, which is now called David Thompson House (1934).


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