McGill University
#40 Overall Influence

McGill University

English-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec

About This School

How does this school stack up?

By James Barham, PhD

McGill University is the direct descendent of McGill College, founded by royal charter in 1821 and largely funded by a bequest from the Scottish-born Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, James McGill. The university took its present name in 1885.

Though situated on the slopes of Mount Royal in the heart of French-speaking Montreal (with a satellite campus on the westernmost tip of Montreal Island), McGill was founded as an English-speaking institution, and remains so to this day.

Today, McGill is a flourishing, internationally focused university with a student body of around 40,000—one of the largest in Canada.

McGill is associated with 12 Nobel laureates—the most of any Canadian university—and one Turing Award winner, who are listed below. Other prominent McGill-connected individuals include the following:

Fine Arts and Literature

  • Popular composer, Burt Bacharach
  • Classicist, poet, Anne Carson
  • Poet, novelist, singer, songwriter, Leonard Cohen
  • Poet, Irving Layton
  • Novelist, Stephen Leacock
  • Poet, Robert Service
  • Singer, songwriter, Rufus Wainwright

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Philosopher, Mario Bunge
  • Linguist, S.I. Hayakawa
  • Political philosopher, Harold Laski
  • Economist, Nobel laureate, Robert Mundell
  • Psychologist, social critic, Jordan Peterson
  • Cognitive psychologist, Steven Pinker
  • Political philosopher, Judith Shklar
  • Philosopher, Charles Taylor
  • Anthropologist, Lionel Tiger
  • Political philosopher, historian, Immanuel Wallerstein

Film, Photography, and Performing Arts

  • Actor, Hume Cronyn
  • Actor,Mackenzie Davis
  • Actor,Jessalyn Gilsig
  • Screenwriter,Evan Goldberg
  • Actor,Laurie Holden
  • Actor,Jennifer Irwin
  • Actor,Rachelle Lefevre
  • Actor,William Shatner

Media, Law, and Public Affairs

  • Political scientist, former US national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Journalist, John F. Burns
  • Former Prime Minister of Bermuda, Paula Cox
  • Political columnist, Charles Krauthammer
  • Former President of Jamaica, Michael Manley
  • Former Prime Minister of Costa Rica, Daniel Oduber Quirós
  • Political commentator, John Ralston Saul
  • Political commentator, Justin Trudeau
  • Former President of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

STEM Disciplines

  • Botanist, David Baulcombe
  • Computer scientist, Turing Award winner, Yoshua Bengio
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Willard Boyle
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Val Logsdon Fitch
  • Chemist, Nobel laureate, Otto Hahn
  • Cognitive scientist, Stevan Harnad
  • Neuroscientist, Donald O. Hebb
  • Neuroscientist, Nobel laureate, David Hubel
  • Chemist, Nobel laureate, Rudolph Marcus
  • Neuropsychologist, Brenda Milner
  • Mathematician, Abel Award winner, Louis Nirenberg
  • Neuroscientist, Nobel laureate, John O’Keefe
  • Neuroscientist, Wilder Penfield
  • Astrophysicist, Hubert Reeves
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Ernest Rutherford
  • Endocrinologist, Nobel laureate, Andrew Schally
  • Chemist, Nobel laureate, Frederick Soddy
  • Neuroscientist, Nobel laureate, Ralph Steinman
  • Geneticist, Nobel laureate, Jack Szostak
  • Architect, Witold Rybczynski

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this school influential?

#19 World Rank
Medical
#23 World Rank
Political Science
#24 World Rank
Engineering
#30 World Rank
Chemistry
#33 World Rank
Biology
#38 World Rank
Religious Studies
#39 World Rank
Computer Science
#41 World Rank
Psychology
#42 World Rank
Communications
#44 World Rank
Education
#48 World Rank
Business
#50 World Rank
Nursing
#52 World Rank
Law
#60 World Rank
Physics
#65 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#69 World Rank
Social Work
#75 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#80 World Rank
Economics
#84 World Rank
Anthropology
#98 World Rank
Mathematics
#119 World Rank
Philosophy
#138 World Rank
Literature
#159 World Rank
History
#166 World Rank
Sociology

Influential People

Who are McGill University's Most influential alumni?

McGill University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Medical, Political Science, and Engineering. McGill University’s most academically influential people include Steven Pinker, Brian Goodwin, and Charles Taylor.

Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker

Psychologist, linguist, author

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Brian Goodwin
Brian Goodwin

Canadian mathematician and biologist

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Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor

Canadian philosopher

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William Shatner
William Shatner

Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, author and film director

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Ralph Steinman
Ralph Steinman

Canadian immunologist and cell biologist

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Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Brzezinski

Polish-American political scientist

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Harriet Brooks
Harriet Brooks

Canadian nuclear physicist

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Robert Thirsk
Robert Thirsk

Canadian astronaut

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Zenon Pylyshyn

Canadian philosopher

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Hubert Reeves
Hubert Reeves

Canadian astrophysicist and popularizer of science

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Arthur Erickson
Arthur Erickson

Canadian architect and urban planner

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Jack Szostak
Jack Szostak

American biologist

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