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McGill University

McGill University, established in 1821, is located in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It has long been considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Canada and among the finest in North America. It is also one of the most selective schools in the country, according to the Macleans newsmagazine.

Known to some as "The Harvard of Canada", McGill is well-known for pioneering research in the medical sciences, chemistry, physics and biology, though it is also famous for its high standard of undergraduate education and has an established history in the humanities, social sciences, law and physical education. For a long time, McGill was considered Canada's best university. In recent years however, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto have outpaced McGill in many areas. This change is linked to the decline of Montreal's economic importance relative to Toronto and Vancouver and the greater ease of raising money in the latter two cities.

The main campus is situated in downtown Montreal at the foot of Mount Royal. Most of the buildings are situated north of Sherbrooke Street between Peel and Aylmer streets, and north of Dr. Penfield Avenue west of Peel (near Peel and McGill metro stations). A secondary campus is located in the district of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, some 32 kilometres from downtown Montreal in the western tip of the Island of Montreal.

The student population is 28 000. McGill has a higher percentage of American students than any other Canadian university, and it has students from over 150 countries. Although the university is one of two English-language universities in Montreal, 22% of students at McGill speak French as their first language.

McGill, and other Quebec universites, have long encouraged international students from selected countries over students from other Canadian provinces. Since 1996 it has been more expensive for an Ontario student to attend McGill that it was for many foreigners from countries that have special agreements with Quebec. This partially accounts for why McGill has a higher percentage of foreign students than any other university in Canada.

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In 1813, James McGill bequeathed his 46-acre estate and 10,000 pounds to "the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning." This institution established McGill University in 1821. Later, in 1905, Sir William Macdonald helped develop a second campus 32 kilometres west of downtown Montreal. This campus now houses research and classes in botany, agricultural science, and the like.


McGill was the first non-denominational university in the British Empire.

It is one of only two Canadian universities holding a membership in the American Association of Universities (http://www.aau.edu/aau/aaufact) (AAU), an organization comprising top-tier U.S. research universities.

McGill boasts six Nobel laureates and two Canadian prime ministers.

McGill has had the most Rhodes Scholars of any Canadian university (surpassed in recent years only by the University of Toronto). To date, it has produced 116 Rhodes Scholars.

McGill's MBA program has been consistently been ranked among the top 40 in the world by the Economist and Financial Times.

Some famous alumni and professors include:

Academics and Scholars

Current Presidents of other Canadian Universities

Business and Media

Politics and Government

Art, Music and film



Nobel Prize winners:

It is a little known fact is that the inventions of hockey, basketball and North American football are all related to McGill in some way. The first international game of North American football was played between McGill and Harvard Universities in 1874. During World War II, the International Labour Organization was headquartered at McGill.

In terms of contributions to computing, MUSIC/SP, a piece of software for mainframes, once popular among universities and colleges around the world at its time, was developed at McGill. A team also contributed to the development of Archie, one of the pre-WWW search engines. A 3270 terminal emulator developed at McGill was commercialized and later sold to Hummingbird Software.


McGill University is affiliated with seven teaching hospitals in Montreal, four of which compose the McGill University Health Centre:

The MUHC has set up a plan to close its current hospital facilities and replace them with a "superhospital" at the Glen Yards near Vendôme metro station. This plan has encountered a variety of problems and cost overruns and remains controversial.


The university's symbol is the martlet; its motto is Grandescunt Aucta Labore (by work, all things grow). Inscribed in its emblem is In Domino Confido (In God we trust). Its sports teams are named Martlets (women) and Redmen (men), and its school colours are red and white. The school song is entitled "Hail Alma Mater".

Other universities in Montreal

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