Life, the Universe, and Everything: A Real Life Q&A with your Student Representative

Contributed by Amanda Fritz

As a student representative for McGill’s Certificate of Public Relations program, I get asked a lot of questions. Last week, I was approached by a number of students with similar concerns about the ‘when’ and ‘why’ of how courses are offered in the certificate program. So off I went to see our program’s (infinitely) wise coordinator, Elizabeth Hirst, for some answers.

While I’ve already reported back personally to these students, we’ve decided to publicize this recent Q&A to help spread the word to others who might be similarly curious.

Q1) Has there been any discussion about holding more classes on the weekend, in addition to the few that are currently offered, for students whose work schedules don’t allow them to make a 6 pm start?

A1) We’re glad to hear that there’s interest in Saturday courses because Event Management (CPRL 228) is scheduled on Saturdays next fall. Because there are a finite number of teachers and classrooms available to McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, and because you don’t want to offer too many different classes on the same night of the week, it makes a lot of sense to offer this elective on the weekend. If it does well, there may be more Saturday classes. Holding classes on Saturday might also help out students who absolutely want to finish the program with the one-year track, though there is some hesitation to put core courses on weekends for those who absolutely can’t make it.

Q2) Is there any possibility of modifying the program timetable so that students beginning the certificate in winter could complete the required courses within a year (the way students who begin in fall can)?

A2) Your program administrators have turned their brains inside out trying to figure out a one-year track for students who start in winter. Right now, there just isn’t a way to fit everything in. We’re working on getting the go ahead to give some core courses more than once a year, which should help, as should having some courses given on Saturdays. Rest assured that we’re trying very hard to find a way to give winter-start students a possible one-year track.

Q3) Can I complete three undergraduate certificates and receive a Bachelor’s degree?

A3) Yes and no. In Québec it’s only the French language universities that will award you a bachelor’s degree in exchange for completing three certificates. This means that you need to complete at least two of your three undergraduate certificates at a French language university, with the requirement that you officially apply to do so during your first year of study. The only local exception we know of is Concordia University’s Journalism Program, which offers students the option to combine three journalism certificates into a Journalism BA.  Contact the undergraduate advisors at any of these universities for additional details.

More questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to contact your program’s student rep!

Certificate program representatives:
Amanda Fritz (
Christine Tourigny (

Diploma program representatives:
Anita Cotic (
Rafael Mayor-Mora (

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