Montreal, QC
Tuition (in-state)
$16,360 ($5,378)
Admission Difficulty
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5 College Freshman

Diversity: It's an international school, nuff said.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: The student body at McGill University is very diverse and includes students from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 138th
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 277th
    Most Open-Minded Schools
  • 1252nd
    Most Conservative Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Kelly Baker
Weston, CT
View all previous student authors

McGill has one of the highest international student populations of any university, somewhere around 18 percent. That said, a significant portion of that percentage is American students, which doesn’t help the diversity. Still, there are a lot of students from all over the world, and there are so many different languages and cultures represented. Even many of the Caucasian students hail from outside of North America or have lived and traveled around the world. The most represented minority is Asian, with many students coming from China, India, and all over the Middle East. Going to McGill, one comes in contact with so many different ways of doing things, and one comes to realize that each way is embedded in a specific culture.

Contrary to popular (American) belief, the population of Canada is not solely comprised of white lumberjacks. Canada has a huge immigrant population—in fact, it has the highest per capita rate of immigration in the world. However, despite having many international people of color, it seems that there is a slight lack of national people of color at the school. Race in Canada is a very different thing than race in the United States. The McGill application does not even ask for the race of the applicant, indicating a very different approach to Affirmative Action. This does not mean that ethnic tensions do not exist in Canada, nor does it mean that Canadians deny that they exist. They just go about things differently. When it comes down to it, McGill, like Montréal, is exceptionally diverse and exudes a very international atmosphere.

Facts & Statistics

Out-of-State Students
Gay Pride
Queer McGill is an organization very active in promoting its hotline and services for the GLBTQ population of McGill. They have posters up all over campus, and they host many different events, activities, and lectures. McGill is a fairly liberal school with liberal administration, and Montréal is a very liberal city. The university population is overall very accepting, and issues of gender and sexuality always seem to find their way into class discussion.
Political Activity
In part due to the high number of international students, students at McGill are hyper aware of the world around them. For this reason, there is a great amount of political activity on campus. Though politics are generally left-leaning, there is still a diversity of opinions represented on campus, and controversy occasionally ensues. Lately, extremely controversial issues have flared up on campus, with such questions as whether to condemn Israel or admit a pro-life group official club status. McGill students are always looking to make a point, whether to have their voices heard or simply beef up their résumés.
Economic Status
International students tend to be much wealthier than Canadian or Québec students. There is definitely a “rich American” stereotype. The wealthy kids with trendy clothes are the most visible economic class, but this is probably because they are the flashiest. Talking to some of the Québec residents who make up about half of the population, one will find many who pay for school themselves or live with their parents to save money. Québec tuition is very cheap, so not only the elite can afford it. In general, since McGill is a public university, the student body is pretty well-rounded when it comes to economic status.
Most Common Religions
Christianity is the dominant religion at McGill, but the most visible religious groups are probably Islamic and Jewish. There is an interfaith publication called Radix, and many clubs for various faiths. These clubs host holiday parties and help students find places of worship. They occasionally hold lectures or discussions on campus, but most religious practice is private.
Minority Clubs on Campus
McGill's clubs read like a U.N. attendance record, with a club for practically every country. Since the international population is high, minority status is not lumped into “Middle Eastern” or “Asian,” but often in terms of specific nations.
Did You Know?
  • Only about 50 percent of students identify English as their mother tongue, and nearly 30 percent report that their first language is neither French nor English.
  • American students make up only about 7 percent of the total student population.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 22 responses

  • 14% Libertarian
  • 5% Not sure
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 9% Conservative
  • 18% Moderate
  • 27% Liberal
  • 27% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 22 responses

  • 0% Libertarian
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 5% Conservative
  • 14% Moderate
  • 14% Not sure
  • 36% Liberal
  • 32% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 22 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 21 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 21 responses

  • 5% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 0% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 10% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 86% Very accepting.


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