Grad School Preparation

Many of our students go on to graduate studies at either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level at top universities in Canada, the U.S., and throughout the world. Sometimes our McGill Computer Science undergraduates stay at McGill to do their M.Sc. studies and sometimes they go directly to M.Sc. or Ph.D. studies at another university. Although we hate to see our great students leave us, it is usually advisable for Ph.D. students to get some graduate studies experiences at another university.

B.Sc. / M.Sc. (Thesis) Track

This is an option designed for strong undergraduate students who are interested in research and completing an honours program in our School. The option allows such students to complete a M.Sc. program within one year.

This option is open to students who:

  • have taken at least 3 graduate level courses in computer science at the 500 level as undergraduates;
  • have clearly demonstrated their academic excellence (normally by a GPA above 3.75)
  • have shown strong evidence of research potential (generally through their work on a summer or undergraduate research project);
  • will enter our program with a clear plan for their Master's thesis research and a formal commitment from a faculty member to supervise and, if necessary, provide financial support.
  • have registered for conditional admission no later that 15 September of their U3 year to ensure appropriate course selection and mentoring.

Formal admission to the program will be part of the regular admissions process to the Master's degrees.

Students admitted to this stream of the masters programs have a course requirement of 4 (instead of 6) courses of at least 3 credits each, including at least three 4-credit courses. Together with the courses taken as undergraduates their choice of courses should cover sufficient computer science breadth.

To satisfy residency requirements students will have to be registered and pay for at least three successive semesters in the M.Sc. program (normally Summer, Fall, and Winter).

How this works

Applying to be considered for the B.Sc./M.Sc. track assumes that you are in contact with a faculty member who has agreed to supervise your thesis work.

  1. Prepare a one-page application document listing: a) Your name and student ID, b) the name of the Faculty supervisor who has agreed to supervise the thesis, c) the proposed title for your M.Sc. thesis, and d) the list of six course you wish to count towards your M.Sc. program. These should include two courses that will be completed as part of the B.Sc. and four as part of the M.Sc.
  2. Submit your application by sending it by email to, at the latest by 15 September of your U3 year. CC your proposed supervisor.
  3. If your application is approved, you will receive a conditional admission to the program.
  4. You will then need to formally apply to the M.Sc. program for admission (in the subsequent summer term for U3 students).
  5. Your admission will be official upon admission confirmation by GPS.

More information about the B.Sc. / M.Sc. (thesis) track can be found in the Faculty of Science pages, or by contacting the graduate secretary.


An honours program provides the most rigorous education and provides an ideal preparation for graduate school. However, many of our majors students also go on to be excellent graduate students. Students interested in interdisciplinary graduate research may want to consider a joint major in Math or Physics or combining a major in Computer Science with a minor in another discipline, for example Cognitive Science. Click here to see the programs offered.

Whichever program you choose, you should pick upper-level courses that interest you and where you can get to know some professors in a smaller class setting. When you apply to graduate school it will be helpful if several professors have gotten to know you well and can write good recommendation letters for you.

We also encourage you to get involved in some research experiences during your undergraduate studies. This is the best way to discover the excitement of doing research and to get some ideas for potential M.Sc. or Ph.D. research topics. Our professors really enjoy working with our undergraduate students and we have a lot of interesting projects.

Financial support and fellowships for graduate studies

Many undergraduate students are not aware that most research-based graduate work in Computer Science comes with some sort of financial support, whether that is through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships or a combination of these. See the graduate school funding pages for more information.

Students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents should be aware of the NSERC postgraduate fellowships. Remember to apply for these at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies. Don't by shy to ask for help from our CS professors in preparing your applications and to provide reference letters. We like to see our students be successful in these competitions. Students who are residents of Quebec may, in addition to NSERC, also apply for an FRQNT fellowship (Bourse). This is also done at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies.

Even if you do not qualify for one of these fellowships, computer science departments will usually find other means to provide financial support for qualified graduate students.

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