University of Montreal: Best Option for French Speaking Americans

One of the many perks of studying abroad is developing your language skills.

Knowing how to speak a language other than English is great for having a career that allows you to travel and interact with foreigners, from teaching to managing a resort or hotel.

Whether you are a francophone or want to be one, consider flying to Canada to study.

There are numerous French-medium universities there, particularly in Quebec — the largest of the 13 provinces of Canada by land area and second only to Ontario in terms of population.

A Canadian university you may add to your college list is the University of Montreal.

You can also call it UdeM, short for Université de Montréal, its French name.

Whether you prefer to call it by its English name or French name, the fact remains that it’s one of the top institutions of higher education in Canada and on the planet.

Not that confident with your French-speaking ability?

Don’t cross UdeM out of your list — although it’s true that around 82% of people in Quebec predominantly speak French at home, four out of five people in the said Canadian province are bilingual.

On campus, many courses come in English.

University of Montreal
University of Montreal

Recognized by Global Ranking Sites

As an international student, you will spend years away from your family and friends.

Attending an institution many revere, however, can make everything worth it!

Prestige- and reputation-wise, UdeM is not one to overlook — it consistently ranks high year after year in some of the most reputable listings, particularly those that pit global universities against each other.

Almost in the Top 100 of THE’s Ranking

Times Higher Education (THE) ranks UdeM #111 in World University Rankings.

It may not be in the top 50 or top 10, but its current position is impressive enough — THE’s current ranking includes 1,906 colleges and universities across 108 countries and regions.

Here’s a more detailed look at UdeM’s ranking using the ranking site’s new WUR 3.0 methodology:

Research environment54.1
Research quality81.7
International outlook87.7

Its Attempt to Solve World Problems Appreciated by QS

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings rank UdeM #141.

The highest ranking it has obtained from the popular UK-based college ranking site was #83 in 2015, while the lowest ranking it has garnered from it thus far was #149 in 2019.

UdeM is also #81 in the QS Sustainability ranking.

The category evaluates international postsecondary institutions according to social impact, environmental impact, and governance, thus demonstrating a school’s effort in dealing with pressing global challenges.

US News Ranks UdeM and Its Offered Subjects

The go-to college ranking site of many high schoolers looking for institutions to shortlist, which is US News, ranks UdeM #156 in Best Global Universities and #6 in Best Global Universities in Canada.

It also ranks many subjects offered, and some of those near the top of the list include:

  • #20 in Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • #62 in Public, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • #62 in Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • #74 in Computer Science
  • #87 in Oncology
  • #88 in Clinical Medicine

Should You Know How to Speak French?

Quebec is indeed a bilingual Canadian province.

It’s also true that while the primary language of instruction at UdeM is French, heading there to work on a degree with very little French-speaking ability is a complete no-no.

Learning how to speak French beforehand, therefore, is a must.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should enter the campus as a seasoned linguist or as if you have been speaking one of the sexiest languages since birth.

The key to succeeding in a UdeM program is your French corresponding to the B2 level.

Explaining the Different Levels of French-Speaking Ability

A six-point international standard helps to establish an individual’s ability to speak a non-native language, including French, German, Spanish, and English.

It’s called the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

CEFR categorizes foreign language learners into three main types: A, B, and C. In addition, each one comes in two types: A1 and A2, B1 and B2, and C1 and C2.

Here’s what each type means:

  • A1: Beginner
  • A2: Elementary
  • B1: Intermediate or threshold
  • B2: Upper intermediate or vantage
  • C1: Advanced or effective operational proficiency
  • C2: Proficiency or mastery

Again, you must obtain a B2 level of speaking French to increase your chances of reaping academic success as an international student enrolled in a UdeM undergraduate program.

It means that you should be able to:

  • Understand the basic idea of a complex text or technical piece
  • Communicate fluently and spontaneously without too much strain
  • Produce detailed text on various subjects
  • Explain your opinion on a current issue

Academic Programs It’s Known for Globally

Many international students looking to earn a prestigious degree attend UdeM to work on some of its most popular programs, which include business, computer science, and engineering.

The other top programs University of Montreal is known for include the following:

  • Biology
  • Clinical medicine
  • Economics
  • Environmental health
  • Occupational health
  • Radiology
  • Toxicology
  • Public health
  • Social sciences

Numerous American students interested in research and publication consider attending, too.

That’s because UdeM is one of Canada’s top research universities.

So much so that it has 460+ research units (thanks to its affiliated schools), and its research revenue exceeds $650 million per year.

UdeM established the following world-renowned research laboratories:

  • Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP)
  • Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC)
  • Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA)

Speaking of which, MILA is considered the world’s leading university research center in deep learning.

It isn’t surprising that UdeM is known for its development of artificial intelligence (AI) and its programs associated with the discipline, including undergraduate degrees and massive open online courses (MOOCs).

MILA’s founder was Yoshua Bengio.

Also serving as the Scientific Director of MILA, he is a full-time professor at UdeM’s Computer Science and Operational Research Department and is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in AI.

Because of his pioneering work in deep learning, he received the following prestigious awards:

  • Killam Prize (2019)
  • AM Turing Award (2018)
University of Montreal
University of Montreal

Getting Into UdeM From the US

It’s one thing to decide to include UdeM on your college list after researching it thoroughly and carefully weighing the pros and cons of working on a college degree there.

Getting into it, however, is another.

UdeM’s general acceptance rate is around 57% — for international students, that’s 40% to 50%.

Compared to some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States with single-digit acceptance rates, you have higher chances of getting into UdeM than any highly selective domestic schools.

I can’t seem to find any minimum GPA requirement from UdeM itself.

However, numerous websites agree that American teens looking to become University of Montreal, Quebec students must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 to get in.

The following are also must-haves before you head to UdeM:

  • Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)
  • Study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • An entry visa from the Government of Canada or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Given that it can take months for these immigration procedures to complete, it’s a good idea to start taking the necessary steps as soon as you receive your UdeM acceptance letter.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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