McGill University is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant, from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university. Founded in 1821, McGill was chartered during the British colonial era, 46 years before the Canadian Confederation. It is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, and among the top four academic institutions in Canada.
McGill's main campus is set upon 32 hectares (80 acres) at the foot of Mount Royal in Downtown Montreal. A second campus, the Macdonald Campus, is situated on 6.5 square kilometres (1,600 acres) of fields and forested land in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 30 kilometres west of the downtown campus. With 21 faculties and professional schools, McGill offers degrees and diplomas in over 300 fields of study, including medicine and law. Although the language of instruction is English, students have the right to submit any graded work in English or in French, except when learning a particular language is an objective of the course. Approximately 34,000 students attend McGill, with international students comprising one-fifth of the student population.
McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in Canada. In 2010, QS World University Rankings placed the university at 19th position in world, the 1st highest ranked in Canada. As per Maclean's 20th annual University Rankings issue McGill is Canada's top-ranked university among those offering medical and doctoral degrees, ranking first in Canada and Top 20 in the World for the sixth consecutive year; McGill is also ranked 35th in the world and third in Canada in the Times Higher Education 2010-2011 rankings. With around 200,000 living alumni worldwide, students and professors at McGill have been recognized in fields ranging from the arts and sciences, to business, politics, and sports. Notable alumni include eight Nobel Laureates, one hundred thirty-one Rhodes Scholars, three astronauts, two Canadian prime ministers, four justices of the Canadian Supreme Court, three foreign leaders, nine Academy Award winners, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and twenty-eight Olympic medalists.