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September 15, 2005

Source: McGill University:

McGill: The heart of a college 'town'

September 15, 2005
Facts and figures about Canada's leading university

>From orientation events on campus to study groups in bustling neighbourhood coffee shops, the signs are all around that school is back in session. The suitcases are unpacked and the books cracked open as 17,000 international students return to one of North America's biggest college "towns" — Montreal. With four universities and several colleges, this cosmopolitan urban centre of over three million people is the place to be.

For many of these students the destination of choice is McGill University. Indeed, more than 6,000 international scholars from 150 countries, one-third of whom hail from the U.S., have registered at McGill. Why? Because McGill is Canada's best-known university and home to 32,000 scholars at the graduate and undergraduate levels. McGill is also Canada's leading medical/doctoral, research-intensive university. It is renowned for the highest standards and quality of its faculty, teaching and research programs. The University provides dynamic learning environments at its downtown campus at the foot of a mountain and its Macdonald Campus on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Both campuses provide a blend of English and French joie de vivre that can only be found in Quebec.

Please read on to discover what makes McGill so attractive to international students. Media wishing to write about McGill are welcome to call Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, associate director of the McGill University Relations Office, at 514-398-6754 or 514-398-1076. To learn more about Montreal, please consult the Montreal International website.
A first-rate, global university

McGill is consistently ranked among the world's top public research universities. It recruits the very best students and has produced more than 125 Rhodes Scholars — more than any other Canadian university. And with 21 faculties and professional schools offering graduate and undergraduate programs, students can excel in virtually any academic discipline.

McGill's programs in biotechnology, environmental studies, music, medicine and law, to name just a few, are leaders in their fields. Graduates of the University are sought after and recruited by some of the top organizations in the U.S. and around the world.

The Faculty of Music is among the top ten in the world — a category that includes the Juilliard School of Music in New York. The Princeton Review ranks McGill alongside Harvard, and reports that "McGill is as tough as it comes in Canadian higher education... competition from applications around the world is intense." And McGill's programs aren't only competitive, they're unique. The new combined BA&Sc program allowing students to study in both the arts and the sciences has been flooded with applicants after only a year in existence.
McGill in the world

McGill is by any measure an international university. McGill's professors are leaders in their fields who have been recruited from around the world, including many Americans who have chosen the University. Students come from 150 countries. Of 32,500 students, 17 percent of our 22,000 undergraduates and almost 20 percent of our 7,800 graduate students come from outside Canada. About one-quarter of students have a mother tongue other than English or French — a good reason why McGill receives high marks in the Princeton Review's diversity rankings, including the No. 1 spot for race and class interaction among students.

McGill scholars can study abroad virtually anywhere in the world. The University has bilateral and multilateral agreements linking its students to over 500 other universities around the world. Other students choose to participate in McGill's hands-on field study programs, available in Barbados, Panama and Africa. Read more at Student Exchanges and Study Abroad.
McGill research and interests

With over a half billion dollars invested annually in research, it's no surprise that McGill is synonymous with innovation. From the Nobel prize-winning discovery of radon in 1903, to the creation of the world's first artificial cell in 1957 or even the mapping earlier this month of a gene that can be used to halt the growth of breast cancer cells, McGill has a long history of making groundbreaking discoveries. Whether in medicine or neuroscience, astrophysics or the arts, McGill students study in an environment of exploration. McGill's world-class network of hospitals operates more than 300 research laboratories and generates close to $100 million in research funds annually.

The reach of McGill research is equally international. Funded by government agencies, financial institutions and private donations, more than 30 new international research projects are launched every year. McGill's current portfolio represents over $60 million in investments and boasts projects from Asia to Latin America.

Research centres that complement McGill's international research focus include:

  • McGill Institute for the Study of Canada

  • North American Studies Program

  • Institute for European Studies

  • Institute of Islamic Studies

  • Centre for Developing-Area Studies

    Just last year, McGill researchers earned five Killam prizes, and eight were elected to the Royal Society of Canada. Another was honoured with the National Academy of Sciences Award in Neuroscience: the first researcher from outside the U.S. to earn that distinction.
    Americans at McGill

    McGill's largest international population hails from the United States. In spite of a rising Canadian dollar, admission of U.S. students has nearly doubled in the last five years — proving that American students come to McGill for its quality, not its price. Today, more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the United States call McGill home.

    Many of McGill's top professors were recruited south of the border and were attracted by Canada's generous public and private research grant programs. Victoria Kaspi, a professor in the Department of Physics, performs groundbreaking studies on pulsars. And psychology professor Daniel Levitin — a former rock musician and producer for Stevie Wonder — has relocated from Stanford to McGill, where he is doing cutting-edge research on how music affects the brain.
    McGill tradition, McGill tomorrow

    The institution was born thanks to the foresight of James McGill, an industry titan who bequeathed his 46-acre estate and 10,000 pounds to the "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning," inaugurated in 1829. Thirty-three of McGill's architectural treasures qualify as heritage properties — from the Redpath Museum to the Macdonald Engineering Building.

    Proud of its past, McGill marches on towards its future. The University is in a period of academic and physical renewal. Until 2010, McGill will hire 100 new professors every year, drawing talent from universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Cornell. McGill's physical spaces are also being transformed. A new engineering building that is 100 percent dedicated to teaching and a cutting-edge genomics research facility were recently added, while a $70-million music building featuring the world's largest scoring stage opens in fall 2005.
    Living and learning in Montreal

    The Montreal area has more students per capita than any other city in Canada and is rivalled in North America only by Boston, Mass. Montreal is consistently rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world: it is affordable, safe, diverse and, above all, fun. And while most classes at McGill are given in English, the city and culture that surrounds it is decidedly French. Thanks to the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) — a province-wide consortium of universities both anglophone and francophone — McGill students can take courses in either language and in nearly any subject at neighbouring universities.
    Heart of it all

    As a major global cultural and technological centre, Montreal offers students unparalleled opportunities to explore both the arts and the sciences outside the classroom. In summer and winter, spring and fall, Montreal offers a virtually non-stop schedule of festivals and cultural events. And with Toronto, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington all less than a 90-minute flight away, McGill students find it easy to stay connected to the rest of the world.

    For more information about McGill, please consult the McGill website, McGill Facts or Public and media.
    Richard Hink
    Communications associate
    McGill University Relations Office

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