Making a budget
It's a good idea to create a budget for managing your money while you're in university. You'll need a plan to finance your tuition, but you also have to factor in additional expenses, including costs for books and supplies, insurance, travel, phone, food, personal items, etc.
The entire Money Matters website has a lot of great financial information about budgeting, cash flow, and funding sources like bursaries and scholarships.
Eating on campus
Meal plans are available to both on- and off-campus students. Dining halls are located in Howe Hall, Shirreff Hall, Risley Hall, and O'Brien Hall.
Residence students select their meal plans as part of their room acceptance process.
Off-campus students can purchase their meal plan online.
All meal plans include Food Bucks loaded on your DalCard, which can be used at many on and off-campus vendor locations. In addition, the university's food service partner has a variety of retail food outlets across campus.
Familiarize yourself with campus buildings
To familiarize yourself with all of the buildings on your campus, visit the Campus Maps page.
Distance from Studley to Sexton: It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to walk from the Student Union Building on Studley Campus to the Ralph M. Medjuck Building on Sexton Campus.
You can also Book a Tour of any campus at any time (Monday–Saturday, excluding holidays). Of course you will have a campus tour when you arrive for Orientation, but you can never be too familiar with where you'll be spending the next four years.
Accessing services on campus
As a Dal student you have access to a wide range of services from academic advising and gym facilities to career advising and health services, and everything in between. To learn more about student services, drop by or call the Student Services office on your campus.
Dairy Building, 11 River Road
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Services on Studley Campus are located in different buildings across campus. Visit the desired service page for specific location and hours.
Main Entrance, B Building
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
*As a Dal student in Halifax, you have access to services at both Studley and Sexton campuses. Whether you live closer to one or just happen to be in the area, drop by or make an appointment.
Authorizing third parties access to your financial information
Account information is private and confidential, however, students can authorize a third party (i.e. parents or sponsors) to discuss your account in detail with our service representatives. Please send a written request, (accepted only from your Dalhousie email account), to email@example.com which includes your name, BOO# as well as the names and relationships to you.
Note: You are still responsible to review your account and ensure payments are made.
Connecting to Wi-Fi
Dalhousie offers wireless Internet on all of our campuses. To provide full service, we've set up wireless zones in all public areas, and you can use any type of wireless device to access the network. You just need your NetID. For more information about setting up wireless, visit the Dal Wireless Access page.
Parking on campus
Dalhousie offers a variety of permit types that allow people at Dal to park on campus throughout the year.
Off-campus students require a general or reserved parking permit, which allows you to park on campus daily between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.
Only on campus for an hour or two? There are metered and short-term parking spots on the neighbouring streets.
Residence students require an overnight parking permit, which allows you to park all day. (But trust us, you don't need a car if you're living on campus.)
To purchase your parking permit online, you'll need your NetID, password, and vehicle information. To purchase your parking permit in person, visit the Securities Services Office, located on the parking level of the Marion McCain Building at 6135 University Ave.
For parking information for Dalhousie's Truro Campus, contact Security Services at 902-893-4190 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation in Halifax
Many amenities are within walking distance of campus, but you can also take taxis or Halifax Transit. Luckily, your DalCard also acts as your UPass which gets you on the city buses and ferries. Halifax Transit has developed a useful map function that helps newcomers figure out what bus to take, from where and when. There are also several smart phone apps you can use including: Transit 360 and the Transit App.
Transit routes that pass through, or next to, Studley campus include: Route 10-Dalhousie, Route 18-Universities, Route 41-Dartmouth/Dalhousie and Route 42-Lacewood/Dalhousie.
And don't forget: your UPass also gets you on the harbour ferries! Take a trip to Dartmouth or just go on a 15-minute sightseeing tour!
The City of Halifax is working to expand the number of bike routes in Halifax. Visit their website to learn more about their Bike & Greenways Map, Bike Week, and on-street bike parking.
Dalhousie also has an on-campus Bike Centre where you can learn about biking in Halifax, rent a bike (for free!), and learn more about maintenance and repair.
Open a bank account
Below is a list of banks in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit their website to learn more about student banking.
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC)
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
When choosing a bank, don't forget to ask about:
- Unlimited banking versus charges after a number of transactions and/or fees associated with the account
- Access to a credit card that is pre-approved and preferably unsecured (i.e. does not require monies deposited to the credit card)
- Additional incentives e.g. points card for movies, etc.
ATMs on campus
The Dalhousie Student Union Building has three ATMs on its main floor: two RBC and one CIBC. Other ATMs are located around campus and charge a small fee for any card use.
All major banks have locations within 15 minutes from all Halifax campuses.
Sign up for Dal Alert (text messaging)
Dal Alert allows you to get important updates from the University via text message. We recommend you sign up for this program to get updates on:
- Significant campus closures (e.g. severe weather, utility outage, etc.)
- Campus hazards (e.g. spill, fire, accident, etc.)
- Other unpredictable events
To subscribe to this service, visit the Dal Alert website, click "Subscribe to Dal Alert" and follow the on screen instructions.
The DalSAFE app gives you quick and easy access to Security Services, Tiger Patrol, interactive maps, campus notices, parking info, and many other campus safety-related resources.
Getting ready for the classroom
Meet with an academic advisor
Academic advisors can help you with a variety of tasks—from defining your career goals and choosing courses, to problem-solving if you're struggling with your course load or personal emergencies.
It's important to meet with an advisor in your first year to plan out your next three or four (or five). By having an academic plan you'll be less stressed about sequence, pre-requisites, and taking the right electives.
Visit the Advising webpage to learn more about the Academic Advising team, services, and booking an appointment.
Get your textbooks (new)
To find out what textbooks you need for your classes you can search by course code on the Dal Bookstore website or, on the first day of classes, your professor will include all required textbooks on the syllabus.
There are Bookstores on both the Halifax and Truro Campuses. They even have extended store hours during peak weeks (the first weeks of classes).
Students in Planning, Architecture or Engineering can order textbooks through the Enrolment Services Centre for pick-up the following business day. Please note that all Health Sciences books are now available at the main Bookstore in the Student Union Building.
Get your textbooks (used)
The Dalhousie Bookstore carries used books purchased through the Book Buyback program. Used textbooks typically cost 25% less than new textbooks, are tax-free and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. They are shelved alongside the new books with a sticker to indicate they’re used. Used textbooks can also be found along with new textbooks when you search and order textbooks online.
Find the perfect study spot
In addition to study desks and quiet spaces, each library at Dal has a Learning Commons. Check out the locations, types, and technology available (to print those assignments) on the Learning Commons site.
Dal also offers tours of all its libraries. To request a tour, visit the Library Tours page for the appropriate contact information.
In addition to the libraries, there are study spots in different buildings around campus open to all students:
There is a Graduate Student Space located on the 4th floor of the Killam Memorial Library, accessible with the use of a valid DalCard. Learn more about the space.
Get Microsoft Office for free
Dalhousie’s association with Microsoft gives you access to Office 365 ProPlus for free!
What exactly does this mean?
As a Dal student you can download Office on up to five desktop or laptop computers. If you’re working on a PC you get all the Office 2013 apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, Lync, and InfoPath. If you use an Apple computer, you get Office for Mac 2011: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
How do I get it?
It’s incredibly easy to get your copy:
- Log in to https://outlook.com/dal.ca using your NetID and password
- Click on the gear icon in the top right hand corner and choose "Office 365 Settings"
- Click "software" in the left-hand menu
- Click "desktop setup" in the left-hand menu
- Start your download!
You can also download Office Mobile on up to two mobile devices (Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) using the "phone & tablet" option under Software.
If you have any questions about your free copy of Office 365 ProPlus, or are having trouble installing it, please visit the ITS website.
Students with disabilities
Dal has an Advising and Access Services Centre where the advising team works with students who require accessibility and accomodation services. Contact the advisors as soon as possible to ensure your needs are addressed and met.
Use the libraries
The Dalhousie University Libraries are here to support your academic success and we encourage all students to take advantage of all services.
Our five libraries, archival collections, Geographical Information Sciences (GIS) Centre and Copyright Office will provide service to you, whether you are at one of our physical locations, or using our online resources.
And don’t forget: Your DalCard is also your library card!
For more information on what’s available to you at the Dalhousie Libraries, visit libraries.dal.ca.
Dal also offers tours of all its libraries so you can learn from the experts themselves. To request a tour, visit the Library Tours page.
Keep an eye out for workshops
There are a number of services around campus that will help you transition from high school to university and ace your midterms, assignments, and finals.
Nervous about moving from a classroom to a lecture hall? Dal has a program called Studying for Success that will improve your note-taking, multiple choice strategies, time management skills, and more.
You should also bookmark the library Classes and Workshops page for classes and workshops that cover specific academic research tools and methods at the libraries.
Professional development opportunities for graduate students
Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website to learn more about professional development opportunities including MyGradSkills, MITACS, and PREP.
Additional questions? Contact Academic Advising.
Find out who your roommate is
If you and your roommate have both given the Residence Office permission to release your name and email address, you'll be able to contact each other when you receive your room assignment.
To learn more about room assignments, visit the Residence website.
Your new address
While living in residence at Dal, your family and friends may want to send you packages. The correct way to write your address is:
Your room number
Res hall name
Res hall address
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2
Your room number
Res hall name
Res hall address
PO Box 550
Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N 5E3
Laundry on campus
Some laundry machines on campus will accept your DalCard, while others are still operated by coin.
The following Halifax residences accept DalCard:
Truro residence students pay a flat fee of $35/ semester for laundry.
What to bring to campus
If you're wondering if you can bring candles, extension cords, or your favourite pets to campus, you'll have to leave them at home. For a full list of what to bring and what to leave at home, check the Residence Office website.
The final exam schedule will be posted in early October and early February. We recommend that you don't book any travel arrangements prior to knowing your exam schedule.
Residence students: You're required to leave residence within 24 hours of completing your final exam.
Additional questions? Contact the Residence Office.
Searching for housing
1. Browsing through the listings and select at least 5 places.
2. Contact the landlord to let them know you are interested and the dates you are arriving in Halifax.
3. Try to set up a viewing. We recommend arriving a week or two before the semester starts and staying in temporary accommodations while you go apartment viewing to allow you to see the places in person.
4. Once you are sure you like a place, payment goes directly to the landlord. You should speak to the landlord to find out what are the acceptable forms of payment (postdated cheques, direct deposit, etc).
Renting terms & responsibilities
It can be very confusing to find housing and understand housing terms and responsibilities in Halifax, especially if you are a first-time renter or not from the area. The best way to help and protect yourself is to educate yourself. We advise the following:
- Look at places carefully before you move in. If you are not in Halifax, ask for pictures and the date they were taken.
- Learn what a lease is.
- Learn what a security deposit is.
- Before you move in, make sure you take note of any existing damages, otherwise you may be asked to pay for them when you move out.
- Learn what the full cost of the apartment is with utilities, laundry costs, etc. all added together.
- If you sign a full-year lease, move in to the apartment for a few months, and then decide to leave, you may be asked to pay for all the remaining months on your lease. Make sure you know what the consequences are for moving out early.
- If you plan to share apartments with other students, make sure you nclude all roommates' names on the lease, bill payments, etc. to ensure accountability and responsibility.
Whether you're moving to a new area in Halifax or to Halifax from another province or country, the Moving Resources page offers a list of storage companies, moving companies, supply companies, and second-hand furniture options.
Dal Off-Campus (DOC) is focused on connecting students on the Halifax campuses. The Community Assistants (CAs) can help you with peer counselling and help organize events to get off-campus students more active on campus.
A great place to hang out is the Dal Off-Campus lounge on the 4th floor of the Student Union Building (SUB). It's a great place to relax between classes, grab a coffee and heat up your lunch, chat with a CA, check out events and activities, play a board game, or challenge your friends to some Mario Kart.
Set up Internet (off-campus)
Moving into residence
Students can move into Residence on Friday, August 25, 2017. We encourage students to arrive early for International Orientation starting on Monday, August 28. Contact the International Centre for advice on temporary accomodations.
Shopping (food & essentials)
Visit our shopping in Halifax page for more information on shopping for groceries, essentials, course books, clothing, shoes & accessories.
There are a number of public holidays observed in Canada:
|New Year's Day||January 1|
|George Munro Day (Dal only)||First Friday of February|
|Nova Scotia Heritage Day||Third Monday in February|
|Good Friday||Two days before Easter Sunday|
|Easter Monday||The day after Easter Sunday|
|Victoria Day||First Monday following May 25|
|Canada Day||July 1|
|Natal Day in Nova Scotia||First Monday in August|
|Labour Day||First Monday in September|
|Thanksgiving Day||Second Monday of October|
|Remembrance Day||November 11|
|Christmas Day||December 25|
|Boxing Day||December 26|
Getting a Social Insurance Number (SIN) (card to work in Canada)
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that is required to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.
To apply for a SIN, you will need:
- a study permit that indicates the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada; OR
- a study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by CIC
Getting a driver's license in Nova Scotia
As an international student, you can apply for a Nova Scotia driver’s license. You will be required to pass a written test and a road test before receiving your driver’s license. It is also mandatory to hold an insurance policy on the vehicle you are driving.
Reminder: We drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- The use of seat belts is mandatory for all car passengers.
- It is against the law in Nova Scotia to use a hand-held cellular phone, or text messaging device, while driving. Under this law, you may only drive and talk on a mobile phone by using the hands- free function.
Getting a Nova Scotia Identity Card (NSID)
We recommend applying for a Nova Scotia Identity Card (NSID) when you arrive in Halifax so that you do not have to carry around your passport to prove your age and identity.
You can get your Nova Scotia ID card at Access Nova Scotia. The closest one to Dal's Halifax campuses is located in Bayers Lake Business Park. It will take approximately 45 minutes to get there by bus.
Don't forget to bring: your passport, study permit, AND DalCard (student ID).
Get a cell phone
Cell phone plans can vary amongst providers. It is a good idea for you to explore your options before signing a contract. Here is a list of the main cell phone companies.
Tips for choosing a cell phone provider
- Ask about extra charges
- Find out the cost of cancelling your plan
- Ask about the benefits and the downsides of contacts versus pay-as-you-go options
Setting up your cell phone
Visit your chosen cellphone service provider and present:
- Photo Identification - either a Passport or Driver’s License
- Second piece of identification - either a credit card, Social Insurance Number card, or bank cheque
Note to American citizens and permanent residents of the USA:
Verizon Wireless and AT&T provide a nationwide plus Canada plan that makes it easy to call home and anywhere in Canada (and the US) at no extra charge, eliminating long distance charges and the need for calling cards. Visit the Verizon wireless website (www.verizonwireless.com) or AT&T website (www.att.com) for more details.
Additional things to pack
We highly recommend the following items:
Why this is important
Study Permit Approval letter
Government Identification (ID)
Original Police Report
A waterproof winter coat
Original Education Qualifications (degrees, diplomas, certificates, etc) and if you are married a marriage/wedding certificate.
Medical Files (books, cards, any document detailing your medical history)
Dalhousie Admission letter
Personal items that hold sentimental value
Cell/Mobile phone (unlocked)
Additional questions? Contact the International Centre.
Clubs and societies for everyone
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) has over 280 student societies. There really is something for everyone. Visit the DSU site to find out more about your student societies.
Intramural sports leagues
Intramural registration starts the first week of September and January and many leagues fill up fast.
Registration is generally done as a team, with the exception of a few individual sports like tennis or badminton singles. If you’d like to join a team, contact your faculty or residence sport rep to join their team. Your faculty head office or residence council can provide you with your sport representative’s contact information.
You can also become a team captain and register your own team, or you can register as a 'free agent' at Dalplex and you may be picked up as a spare by an incomplete team.
Volunteer in the community
It's never too early to begin building your resume and start differentiating yourself from your graduating class.
Halifax students: You can get hands-on experience by registering with the DALConnects leadership certificate program. This program allows you to build your skills through a combination of leadership development workshops and events with community volunteering/work integrated learning.
Truro students: Check out the Student Advancement In Leadership (SAIL) program where you will develop skills in areas such as career exploration, personal growth, communication and leadership development.
Don't forget to get your experience on record by creating your Co-Curricular Record (CCR). Your CCR complements your academic transcript by recording your experience and achievements outside the classroom. It's a great testament to your character for potential employers or professional schools.
Visit our Volunteering & Leadership page to learn more about the specific volunteer opportunities on campus.
Join a sports club
Dal sport clubs are organized by Dal students and allow you to continue to participate in some of your favourite sports or activities once you come to campus. Or if you're feeling adventurous, you can try out a sport or activity for the first time.
Sport clubs are categorized as either:
Tier 1/Competitive clubs: football, rugby, field hockey, lacrosse, etc.
Tier 2/Recreational clubs: table tennis, cheerleading, fencing, dance, squash, etc.
Dal After Dark
Dal After Dark is a student-run group that leads late night, alcohol-free, on-campus activities (and some other events off campus). They're fun, free/low cost, and take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It's a great opportunity to socialize, make new friends, and be active.
Schedules will be posted on the Dal After Dark page weekly. Make sure you bookmark the page so you can check back for new activities.
Get a job
Whether it's to pay for tuition or just to have some spending money while you're on campus, getting a job is something you might be considering. Check out the Finding Employment page for more information on opportunities and recommendations.
You should also check out the Career and Leadership Development Centre where you'll find valuable information and job resources.
Truro Students: Drop by the Career Advising Centre on the Lower Level of the Dairy Building for information on career planning, agricultural specific information, job search techniques, and more.
International students: Depending on your type of study permit, you may not need an additional work permit to work on or off campus. Find out more information about working in Canada on the International Centre website.
Looking for even more ways to get involved?
Taking care of yourself
Your gym membership is already paid for
Your full-time Dalhousie student fees include access to our fitness facilities.
In Halifax, Dalplex is Dal's main fitness and rec facility. It offers free equipment rentals and certain group fitness classes, and significantly discounted rates on classes like yoga, pilates, and kickboxing, climbing programs, first aid classes, and more.
Your Dalplex membership gives you access to:
- Group fitness classes
- Cardio & weight rooms
- Indoor pool (8-lane, 50-metre)
- Indoor track (1/6 mile)
- Climbing facilities
- Hardwood basketball courts
- Badminton, squash, and racquetball courts
- Outdoor turf
- Outdoor tennis and beach volleyball courts
Also in Halifax is the Sexton Gym, a smaller facility on Sexton Campus, which includes a main gymnasium, fitness centre with cardio and strength training equipment and weights, stretching room, a selection of group fitness classes, and two squash courts.
On the Agricultural Campus, the Langille Athletic Centre offers a cardio room, weight room, double gymnasium, and racquetball and squash courts.
Transferring your medical records
Transferring your medical records before you get here will make accessing services A LOT easier. Learn more about why and how on the Student Health Services website.
Mental health on campus
Dal Thrive is a university-wide mental wellness initiative aimed at building a positive mental health environment for students. faculty and staff. Visit our student page for mental health resources, initiatives, training information, and more.
Dal also has a free online self-help program for students to help improve their feelings and thoughts. See dal.ca/welltrack for more info.
Peer Health Educators
The Student Health Promotion team collaborates with campus and community resources to deliver health promotion and prevention initiatives that heighten awareness, increase knowledge, and direct students to appropriate resources.
If you’re interested in joining the team contact email@example.com for more information.
RESPECT (Real Energy Supporting Peer Education on Current Topics) works collaboratively with Health Services at DAL-AC to create a healthy campus environment, by promoting and educating their peers to adopt health enhancing behaviours and attitudes.
The RESPECT office is located in the Dairy Building, if you are interested in getting involved with the RESPECT team, drop in during office hours which are posted on the door of the RESPECT office or email RESPECT@dal.ca.
You can book a free tour of Dalplex
Going to the gym can be intimidating. Especially if you don't know where to go or what to do. Why not go on a free facility tour?
Call 902-494-3372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment.
Booking a doctor's appointment
Student Health Services offers an on-campus clinic in Halifax with doctors, nurses, and a nurse practitioner, as well as a variety of health care services, including:
- Medical exams and consultations
- Sexual health
- Mental health
- STI and pregnancy testing
- Flu shots
- Sports medicine
To make an appointment, visit Student Health Services, located on the 2nd floor of LeMarchant Place (1246 LeMarchant St.), or call 902-494-2171.
Truro Campus: Health Services is located in the Dairy Building, next to Cumming Hall. Visit the Health Services webpage for more information on hours and appointments, or call 902-893-6300 or 902-893-6369.
Nighttime safety (a free ride home!)
Dal offers a free shuttle service to Halifax students during the academic year: Tiger Patrol. Whether you have a late class or are taking advantage of extended library hours, we want to ensure you get home safe. From 6:15 p.m. until 1:15 a.m. everyday, the shuttle departs from the Student Union Building (SUB). Just show your DalCard and hop in!
Are you an Agricultural Campus student? The SAFEWalk service is there to help you get home within campus boundaries.
For quick and easy access to Tiger Patrol, SAFEwalk, security services, interactive maps, parking info, campus notices and more, download the free DalSAFE mobile app.
Know your rights and responsibilities
Dalhousie has a number of policies and supports on campus to ensure that your rights and responsibilities are met and supported throughout your university experience. From appealing grades, to hazing, to issues with consent, to problems with your landlord, Dal can support you.
Sustainability on campus
At Dal, we're conscious of being sustainable, just like you. Our Office of Sustainability is always working on supporting solutions that create positive social, ecological and economic change. Visit the website to learn more about sustainability at Dal and how you can get involved.