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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 wireless.dal.ca.
If you're living in residence, specific wireless network information will be provided on move-in day.
Parking on campus
Dalhousie offers a variety of permit types that allow people at Dal to park on campus throughout the year.
For information about all parking pass types, dates, FAQs and more, visit Dalhousie's Parking website.
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 partnered with Google Transit so that newcomers can figure out what bus to take, from where and when. There are also several smart phone apps you can use including the Transit App.
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 the 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.
Getting ready for the classroom
Important academic terms
You'll begin to hear new terms as you start your Dal experience. It's a good idea to make sure you know what they mean! Take some time to review these important academic terms.
Meet with an academic advisor
Advisors can help you figure out your courses and overall academic path.
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.
The Dal Bookstore allows you to purchase new or used textbooks, or access a digital copy online when available. If you order your textbooks online, they'll be shipped to you directly.
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.
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:
- International Centre, 1246 Lemarchant Street, Suite 1200
- Student Union Building Atrium, 6136 University Avenue, First Floor
- Lemarchant Place Atrium, 1246 Lemarchant Street, First Floor
There is a Graduate Student Space located on the 4th floor of the Killam Memorial Library, accessible with the use of a valid DalCard.
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 following Office apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, Lync, and InfoPath. If you use an Apple computer, you get the following Office apps: 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.
Student Accessibility Services
Dal has a Student Accessibility Centre where a team of access advisors work 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. We encourage all students to take advantage of the wide range of services available, whether you are at one of our physical locations or using the 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 Online Tutorials page for tutorials 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
For a complete list of residence addresses, visit the Residence Contact Us page
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:
When it comes close to move-in day, you'll find up-to-date information on check-in locations and procedures on the Residence website—including maps, drop-off locations and parking instructions.
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. Check the Residence site for a full list of what to bring and what to leave at home.
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. Students can apply for extensions under situational circumstances, however extensions are not guaranteed.
Additional questions? Contact the Residence Office.
Searching for housing
1. Browsing through the listings and select at least 5 places. Begin looking as far in advance as you can, as inventory is limited and the market is highly competitive.
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). If you find a great place, make sure you act on it quickly as there is quite a bit of competition in the rental market.
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.
Places to relax on campus
If you don't have time to go home between clases, no worries! There are plenty of great places for you to relax and recharge, study, or grab a bite to eat at Dal. There are also Quiet Rooms on campus where you can go to reflect, pray, or just take a break from your hectic day.
Set up Internet (off-campus)
If you live in residence, you will have access to high-speed Internet, which includes both ethernet and wireless connected.
If you live off campus, Internet providers in Nova Scotia to consider include:
Check out the "Connecting to Wi-Fi" tip at the top of this page to learn how to connect to Wi-Fi on campus.
Moving into residence
International students can move into residences early before the International Student Orientation. Contact the International Centre for information on move-in dates.
Shopping (food & essentials)
Visit our shopping in Halifax page for more information on shopping for groceries, essentials, course books, clothing, shoes & accessories.
The Dal Bookstore also has a great selection of items for your residence room or apartment. If you're beginning your studies in September and in residence, check out Dorm Essentials to learn how you can order items online have them ready for you to pick up on move-in day.
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
More information can be found on the International Centre website.
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)
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 may provide a nationwide plus Canada plan that makes it easy to call home and anywhere in Canada (and the US). Visit the Verizon wireless website (www.verizonwireless.com) or AT&T website (www.att.com) for more details.
Getting a driver's license in Nova Scotia
As an international student, you can apply for a Nova Scotia driver’s licence. 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).
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.
Attend events at Dal
There is always something fun and exciting happening on campus, and most of it is free for students! Visit dal.ca/events to see all the upcoming events happening 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.
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 Working While Studying page for more information on opportunities and recommendations.
You should also check out the Bissett Student Success 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. The International Centre website has more information about working in Canada.
Attend the Society & Volunteer Expo
The Society and Volunteer Expo is a great way for you to get connected to local non-profits and find out all about the volunteer opportunities Halifax has to offer. It's also a great way to find out what Student Societies are active at Dal and how you can get involved on campus!
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.
Mental health on campus
Dal has many in-person services and supports, online resources, and workshops to help you foster and maintain your mental health. You can find them all at dal.ca/mentalhealth.
Meet with our social worker
Our on-campus social worker supports Dalhousie and King's students who are having challenges with:
- Dealing with stress - school, work, life, relationships, roommates and family
- Mental health concerns and well-being
- Relationship issues
- Immediate crisis situations
- Practical issues with housing, finances, and food
You can make an appointment through the Student Health & Wellness Centre.
Explore your beliefs and faith
Drop by Multifaith Services if you're looking for a place to worship on campus, somewhere quiet to study, or someone to listen when you need a person to talk to. They have religious team leaders from various faith traditions offering confidential support on personal and spiritual issues, and provide opportunities for prayer and worship, retreats, workshops, lectures, and social activities.
Find a fitness class
To help you develop and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, Dalplex has a wide variety of classes, programs and lessons available. From free drop-in group classes to fee-based ones there's something for everyone. Fitness classes are also available at the Sexton Gym and the Langille Athletic Centre.
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 email@example.com to book your appointment.
Booking a doctor's appointment
The Student Health & Wellness Centre has doctors and nurses, as well as a variety of health care services right on campus, including:
- Medical exams and consultations
- Sexual health
- Mental health
- STI and pregnancy testing
- Flu shots
- Sports medicine
Book an appointment online and 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.
Whether you have a late class or are taking advantage of extended library hours, we want to ensure you get home safe. The DalSAFE mobile app has "Friend Walk", a virtual walk-home option that enables a friend or Dal Security staff member to monitor your route.
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 Friend Walk, 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.
Connect with a LGBTQ2SIA+ peer ally
There are many groups on campus that provide LGTTQ2SIA+ support on campus, including:
- The 2SLGBTQ+ Advisor
- Human Rights & Equity Services
- DSU Equity and Accessibility Office
- South House Sexual & Gender Resource Centre
You can contact any of these groups directly, or make an appointment with the education advisor in Human Rights & Equity Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.