McGill University Faculty of Engineering


The Faculty of Engineering is one of the constituent faculties of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, bio-engineering, materials and mining engineering. The faculty also comprises the School of Architecture and the School of Urban Planning, and teaches courses in bio-resource engineering (Faculty of Agriculture) and biomedical engineering (Faculty of Medicine) at the master's level.

McGill University Faculty of Engineering
McGill Macdonald Engineering Building.jpg
MottoProve All Things
DeanJim A. Nicell
Academic staff
154 (professors)[2]
Location, ,
AlumniOver 24,000[2]
AffiliationsMcGill University
WebsiteOfficial Website



Dawson Lectures (1855)

Thirty years before the construction of Engineering's two original edifices; McGill had been offering lectures in Applied Sciences. This series of lectures was started in 1855 by William Dawson, a renowned geologist and McGill's fifth principal which was offered within the Faculty of Arts until the formation of the Department of Applied Sciences in 1871. Dawson accepted the offer, but he traveled to Britain first and while there delivered several papers at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Eventually, the lectures formed the core of a two-year curriculum leading to a Diploma in Civil Engineering.[3]

First Engineering Buildings (1893)

For the first time in the history of McGill, buildings are constructed specifically to house engineers. The imposing Macdonald Engineering Building and the more modest Workman Technical Shops were both designed by architect Sir Andrew Taylor and his partner, William Gordon. Featuring a symmetrical Italian Renaissance facade and a Montreal limestone exterior, the five-storey Macdonald building is equipped to meet every conceivable need. Among the facilities housed on its five floors are an apparatus museum, a library, a forge, a foundry, and a dynamo and engine room.[4]


Fire of the Macdonald Building and Rebuilding (1907-1909)

On April 5, 1907, the Macdonald Engineering Building burns. Everything in it, except the contents of the ground floor laboratories, is destroyed. Fortunately, the fire doors that were built in the adjoining Workman Technical Shops (commonly referred to as the Workman Wing) do their job, keeping the building intact and sparing it from significant damage. Less than a week earlier the old Medical Building had burned down. Some of the stone salvaged from this fire was used to add a fourth floor to the Workman shops. The Faculty's sponsor, Sir William Macdonald, again stepped forward, this time volunteering to contribute to build a new structure on the foundation of its predecessor. Percy Nobbs, Director of McGill's School of Architecture is asked to design and build the new structure. The University and Macdonald both stress to him the importance of function and fire resistance. The carved phoenix rising from the flames is one of the few ornaments on a building constructed specifically for fire-proof functionality. Although the phoenix is easy to overlook, the Macdonald Engineering Building is a mainstay on the east side of McGill's downtown campus.[5]

Faculty of Engineering Launched (1931)

The Faculty of Applied Science becomes the Faculty of Engineering in 1931. It offers two degrees – Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) and Master of Engineering (MEng). McGill also introduces a completely revised curriculum in Chemical Engineering, to be administered by the Department of Chemistry.[6]

Dawson College Lecture

Dawson College (1945)

Dawson College was opened in 1945 to accommodate the greatly increased enrollment due to the return of students from the armed services and was housed at the R.C.A.F base at St-Jean, Quebec. All first year science and engineering students were transferred there. The number of students enrolled, mainly veterans, reached a peak of 1687 in January 1947. The College was closed in 1950. Dawson College was administered by a Vice-Principal, Dawson College and by various other McGill staff members who undertook duties such as that of Assistant Bursar and Secretary.[7]

First Woman to Graduate From Engineering (1946)

Mary Blair Jackson (later Mary Fowler) graduates from Mechanical Engineering, McGill's first woman engineering (non-Architecture) graduate. She would go on to become a pilot officer at RCAF training command headquarters in Trenton, Ontario, where she conducted statistical work connected with the training of ground crews.[8]

The J.W. McConnell Building Is Completed (1958)

Named in honour of J.W. McConnell, a Governor of the University from 1927 to 1958, the new four-storey McConnell Engineering Building is officially dedicated by Chancellor Ray Edwin Powell on October 6, 1958. The new building doubles the Faculty's space and provides much needed facilities for graduate programs.[9]

Center for Intelligent Machines (1985)

With a grant from the Québec Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Science, four researchers – Martin Levin, Steve Zucker, Pierre Bélanger, and George Zames (BEng Engineering Physics 1954)– form McRCIM (the McGill Research Centre for Intelligent Machines), now known as the Centre for Intelligent Machines, to study intelligent systems. CIM seeks to advance the state of knowledge in such domains as robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, computer vision, systems and control theory, and speech recognition.[10]

The M.H. Wong Building Reaches Completion (1997)

The new M.H. Wong Building – the first new major academic construction on McGill's downtown campus in almost 20 years – is erected around the Foster Radiation Laboratory (built in 1948). The building, which became the new home of the Departments of Chemical and Mining, Metals, and Materials Engineering cost close to $34 million, $12 million of which came from private donations. The largest of these was a gift of $8 million from the family and friends of the late Man Hung (Jimmy) Wong (BArch 1981). Another anonymous donor from Hong Kong contributed $1.9 million in honour of the late Chemical Engineering professor J.B. Philips.[11]

2000- PresentEdit

Philanthropist Lorne Trottier Makes Transformative Gift (2000)

Quebec entrepreneur Lorne Trottier announced a gift of $5 million to help build a new Information Technology undergraduate teaching facility at McGill, estimated at a cost of $17 million. The government of Quebec announced that it will provide $7 million to complete the Lorne M. Trottier Building, prompting Trottier to double his gift to $10 million. In 2003, the Lorne M. Trottier Building opened in September. The building houses six floors of advanced teaching laboratories, interactive learning rooms and meeting spaces and is equipped with all of the latest high-tech equipment.[12]

School of Architecture Receives Landmark Gift (2017)

Through a gift from McGill alumnus Peter Guo-hua Fu, the School of Architecture is renamed the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture. His gift will support the full range of architecture education at McGill, creating new learning and research opportunities that will position the school and its students for a vibrant future. One portion of the gift will be used to create the Peter Guo-hua Fu Fellowships. These will be awarded, on the basis of academic merit, to graduate students entering or enrolled in the School. Preference will be given to citizens of China.[13]

Departments and SchoolsEdit

Department of Civil Engineering and Applied MechanicsEdit

The Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics (est. 1871) offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Department currently has twenty-two full-time faculty members. In addition, the department enjoyed great relations with corporate partners and has many Faculty Lecturers, Associate Professors, and researchers working with students in the department. The Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics has consistently ranked in the top hundred Civil Engineering schools worldwide and top 3 in Canada.[14]

There are approximately four hundred undergraduate and eighty graduate students in the department, of whom over half are women and over one-third are from outside Canada as of 2018. Broad programs of study are available that offer specialized courses in all areas of civil engineering. Facilities include state-of-the-art teaching, research, and computing laboratories.

Department of Mining and Materials EngineeringEdit

Established in 1871, the mining engineering program is the oldest in Canada,[15] and oldest of its kind in North America. In the mid 1960s mining engineering at universities in Canada was suffering. Toronto closed its school; McGill had only one undergraduate student and its Professor of Mining was due to retire.[16] In 1964 John Ross Bradfield, Chairman of Noranda Inc., was asked to form a committee to study and resolve the problem.[17] The result was the raising of funds to help finance a Chair of Mining at McGill and to persuade Professor Frank T. M. White to come from the University of Queensland in Australia to take the position of Chairman of the Department of Mining Engineering and Applied Geophysics. Professor White initiated a program that graduated a large cohort of postgraduate engineers, many of whom served to rebuild the educational capacity of mining throughout Canada.[18] This, together with the contribution that he made in promoting mining education, resolved the crisis. Professor White died in 1971; McGill University and the Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation set up an award, the F.T.M.White Scholarship, to honour him for his outstanding contribution to mining education in Canada.[19]

Department of Chemical EngineeringEdit

Over one hundred years of chemical engineering at McGill has evolved through several distinct stages. The chemical engineering curriculum, established at McGill in 1908, produced its first bachelor's degree graduate in 1911. Today, collectively, 17 members of the academic staff conduct research programs in almost all areas of modern chemical engineering, drawing upon theoretical, computational and experimental methodologies.[20]

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)Edit

The department of Electrical & Computer Engineering is located in McGill's downtown Montreal campus with a student body of 900 undergraduate students, 350 graduate students, 20 staff members and 40 faculty members.[21] ECE offers four undergraduate degrees in the areas of Electrical (including Honours), Computer and Software Engineering, all accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).

Department of BioengineeringEdit

Established in 2012, the Department of Bioengineering is the newest department to join McGill University's Faculty of Engineering. McGill researchers from nearly all Faculty units, including seven Canada Research Chairs and many colleagues in the Faculties of Medicine, Science, and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences are actively involved in various areas of Bioengineering. Within the Department, the faculty are focusing on three major directions: biological materials and mechanics; bio molecular and cellular engineering; and biomedical, diagnostics and high throughput screening.[22]

Department of Mechanical EngineeringEdit

The department of Mechanical is located in McGill's main downtown Montreal campus and is one of the primary engineering departments.[citation needed]

School of Urban PlanningEdit

The Macdonald-Harrington Building, named in honor of William Christopher Macdonald. Since 1987, the Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning have been housed in the Macdonald-Harrington Building, which was originally constructed in 1896 by Sir Andrew Taylor to accommodate the Departments of Chemistry and Mining by 1896. The building was renovated for Architecture and Urban Planning by architects Ray Affleck and Arcop Associates in 1987.

McGill was the first university in Canada to offer a full-time program in urban planning. An interdisciplinary program through which students combined a master's degree in their original field was combined with urban planning was established in 1947. An autonomous program was established in 1972. In 1976, the School of Urban Planning was established as a unit within the Faculty of Engineering.

The School offers three Master of Urban Planning programs (a Core Program, with a concentration in Transportation Planning, and with a Concentration in Urban Design) and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning, Policy, and Design program. Major research areas include the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), Transportation Research at McGill (TRAM), and Whole-corridor Urban Design Strategies (WCUDS).

Peter Guo-hua Fu School of ArchitectureEdit

Founded in 1896, McGill's School of Architecture is among the oldest architecture schools in North America, offering professional and post-professional programs from undergraduate through to PhD levels. The School has established an international reputation and a record of producing leading professionals and researchers, with McGill alumni practicing and teaching in firms and institutions across the nation and the globe. It is housed in the Macdonald-Harrington Building, designed by Montreal architect Andrew Taylor. The School of Architecture has produced renowned architects, including Arthur Erickson, Moshe Safdie, Melvin Charney, Raymond Affleck, Catherine Wisnicki, Blanche van Ginkel, Witold Rybczynski, and Raymond Moriyama; leading Montreal-based architects such as Howard Davies and Anne Cormier of Atelier Big City and Annie Lebel of In Situ; Julia Gerzovitz and Alain Founier of EVOQ, Danny Pearl and Mark Poddubuik of L’OEUF as well as contemporary international architects such as Adam Caruso (London), Amale Andraos (Work Architecture, New York), Eric Bunge (nArchitects, New York), and Todd Saunders (Bergen, Norway).

On 26 September 2017, the School was renamed the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture following a $12 million gift from Chinese architect and McGill graduate Peter Fu.


Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI)Edit

IPLAI (Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas) is a collaboration among six faculties across McGill, two schools and the McGill Libraries.[23]

Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED)Edit

McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE)Edit

MIAE is an initiative of the Lorne Trottier Chair in Aerospace Engineering to foster interest in Aerospace Engineering among undergraduate and graduate students and awareness of the multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural environment in which they may work as future engineers working in the Aerospace Industry. Students accepted into the Institute will be given the opportunity to participate in a number of 500 to 1000 hours Research Projects proposed by the Aerospace Companies.[24]

McGill Institute for Advance Materials (MIAM)Edit

McGill Institute for Advance Materials was established by the Faculties of Science and Engineering for research into all forms of advanced materials.[25]

Buildings and laboratoriesEdit

Macdonald Engineering Building

Macdonald BuildingEdit

When the Arts Building was becoming overcrowded in the 1890s as enrollment climbed; new faculties were added to the University Campus. The Applied Science Faculty, (which was the term used for Engineering at that time), relocated in 1893 to two new buildings. One was donated by Thomas Workman and the other by Sir William Macdonald, one of McGill's most generous benefactors.

Macdonald-Harrington BuildingEdit

The Macdonald Chemistry Building, recently renamed the Macdonald-Harrington Building after its first Chemistry professor, Bernard Harrington, was built between 1896 and 1897 and was one of the many donations made to the University by Sir William Macdonald. Located in the Macdonald-Harrington Building are: Engineering Micro-computing Facilities; School of Architecture; School of Urban Planning.

M. H. Wong Engineering Building

M. H. Wong BuildingEdit

This edifice, donated by Mr. Wong, an alumnus of McGill's School of Architecture, preserves the atmosphere of the campus both in its size and in its materials. It is composed of two sections, the older Foster section which consists of four storeys, and a new wing north of Foster which adds another six storeys to the whole. The Foster Wing, which will be used as offices, has had classrooms and labs added to both its west side and the top of the building, designated for Metallurgical Engineering labs. The new wing is used for Chemical Engineering labs.

McConnell Engineering BuildingEdit

The McConnell Engineering Building was donated to McGill in 1959 by John W. McConnell, a major benefactor of the University since 1911 and one of its Governors from 1928 until 1958. In the period after World War II when all of the Engineering Faculties were greatly expanding, this nine-storey structure doubled the number of classrooms, lecture rooms, and offices available for use by the above faculties.

Lorne M. Trottier Engineering Building

Frank Dawson Adams BuildingEdit

The Physical Sciences Centre was renamed the "Frank Dawson Adams Building" after a professor of Geology who was the first chairman of Graduate Studies, and also served as Vice Principal from 1920 to 1924. The building was completed in October 1951.

Lorne M. Trottier BuildingEdit

The Lorne M. Trottier Building was inaugurated on March 26, 2004. This building is part of the TechSquare and will allow the University to expand its popular electrical engineering, computer science and telecommunications programs.

Student lifeEdit

Architecture Students Association (ASA)Edit

Architecture Students Association (ASA) is a non-profit student-run society within the School of Architecture. The society serves as an organizational body for student activities and affairs, a voice for students in academic and university issues at McGill, and a link between other schools of architecture across the country.

Notable alumniEdit

Les Vadasz, Founding member of Intel Corporation
Julie Payette, Former Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency and current Governor General of Canada.



  • Arthur Erickson (BArch’50) – Renowned Canadian Architect and Urban Planner
  • Raymond Moriyama (MArch’57) – Notable Canadian architect of Japanese descent
  • Witold Rybczynski (MArch’72) – Canadian American architect, professor and writer
  • Moshe Safdie (MArch’61) –Israeli-Canadian architect, urban designer, educator, theorist, and author.
  • Maxwell M. Kalman (MArch’31) – Canadian architect, real estate developer, and philanthropist


  1. ^ McGill Faculty of Engineering. "History". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Faculty of Engineering (2018). "Quick Facts". McGill University. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  3. ^ "William Dawson". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "1811-1899". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  5. ^ "History of the Faculty of Engineering". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  6. ^ "1900-1950". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  7. ^ "Dawson College". Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  8. ^ "1900-1950". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  9. ^ "1951-2003". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  10. ^ "1951-2003". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  11. ^ "1951-2003". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  12. ^ "1951-2003". Faculty of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  13. ^ "Illustrious Chinese architect invests in future of education: landmark $12-million gift to transform teaching and research, build stronger academic ties to China". Newsroom. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  14. ^ Top Universities. "Civil Engineering Rankings". QS World University Rankings. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Mining Engineering".
  16. ^ Frost, Stanley Brice (1984). McGill University: For the Advancement of Learning, Volume II, 1895-1971. McGill - Queens University Press. p. 347.
  17. ^ Bradfield, John. The Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation. As cited by Frost Op Cit.
  18. ^ White F. Miner with a Heart of Gold: biography of a mineral science and engineering educator. Friesen Press, Victoria. 2020. ISBN 978-1-5255-7765-9 (Hardcover) 978-1-5255-7766-6 (Paperback) 978-1-5255-7767-3 (eBook)
  19. ^ Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation. F.T.M. White Scholarship Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  20. ^ "History". Chemical Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  21. ^ "Electrical and Computer Engineering". Electrical and Computer Engineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  22. ^ "Department of Bioengineering". Department of Bioengineering. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  23. ^ "Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas". Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  24. ^ "McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE)". McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE). Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  25. ^ "McGill Institute for Advanced Materials". McGill Institute for Advanced Materials. Retrieved 2018-10-26.

Coordinates: 45°30′19″N 73°34′35″W / 45.50528°N 73.57639°W / 45.50528; -73.57639