McGill’s new Diploma in Commercial Cannabis has been given the green light by the University’s administration, making McGill one of the first Canadian universities to offer such a degree.
Last week, the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Macdonald Campus launched the pre-screening process for prospective students interested in the 30-credit program, which includes two full academic terms and a 12-week industrial internship.
Starting in June 2020, classes will focus on cannabis cultivation, pathology and breeding. Students will get hands-on experience by conducting experiments using state-of-the-art microbiology and molecular biology tools at Macdonald Campus’s laboratories and growth chambers.
Applicants need to meet certain admission requirements – such as a Bachelor of Science in biological, agricultural or environmental sciences – if they hope to get into the program.
“The diploma is only a year long. We’ll really be diving into issues that are very specific to the cannabis industry and so these courses are designed in such a way that people without the proper background won’t be able to follow,” said Anja Geitmann Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Rony Chamoun, the diploma’s academic coordinator and industry liaison, said the program aims to meet the needs of Canada’s burgeoning cannabis industry.
“The industry is growing rapidly and there’s a really strong demand for this kind of diploma,” he told the Reporter. “We’ve built the curriculum to make sure our graduates become highly skilled workers.”
During the second term, classes will focus on the chemistry of cannabinoids, product development and quality control. Attention will also be given to the societal and regulatory framework of cannabis production.
“Our students will have the tools to get the high-paying jobs – master growers, quality managers, microbiologists and formulation specialists – in the cannabis industry,” Geitmann explained.
Filling the need for skilled workers
Geitmann said courses will be delivered by faculty lecturers and professors as well as guest lecturers from the cannabis industry to ensure the program “remains relevant and delivers up-to-date content.”
The Diploma in Commercial Cannabis also includes a 12-week internship, a great opportunity for both students and industry players.
“Lots of our partners are very happy because they’ll have early access to very skilled employees and it should be easier for students to quickly find a job after they graduate,” said Chamoun.
Interested applicants must complete the diploma’s pre-screening process by January 17, 2020. For details about admissions, prospective students can visit the Diploma in Commercial Cannabis website.