Frequently Asked Questions

Updated May. 18, 2021

COVID-19: Delivering accurate information during a fast-changing global health crisis

Thank you for your interest in attending Dalhousie and in living in residence.

We understand how important it is for you to get complete and accurate information about your housing options while studying at Dalhousie. We know where you live is an important factor in deciding where you choose to study.

Through this website, our aim is to provide you with clear and accurate information that reflects the most current public health guidelines and the university’s own health and safety policies. However, public health guidelines – and Dal’s response to them -- are subject to change at any time. We will work to keep our site updated as quickly as possible as more information becomes available.

If you have any doubt, please consult the Nova Scotia Public Health website for the latest COVID-19 health protocols, or contact our Residence Office.

Thank you.


Application for 2021/22

How do I apply for residence?

Visit our Apply for Residence page for step-by-step instructions on applying for residence at Dal.

Is residence going to be open in Fall 2021?

Yes, most residence buildings will be open in Fall 2021 but our overall capacity (the number of spaces across our entire residence system) will need to be reduced in order to adhere to the latest public health guidelines. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change at any time.

Can I apply to live in residence for just the Fall semester?

No, we do not accept applications for residence for the Fall semester only. Residence is available for the full academic year (September - April), or for the Winter semester (January - April) - pending availability. 

If you have questions about the availability for the Winter semester, contact the Residence Office

Which buildings are going to be available in the Fall?

As of the posting date of this page, the following buildings will be open for Fall 2021 (some with reduced capacity in order to facilitate social distancing and other safety precautions):

Halifax Campus:

  • Risley Hall
  • LeMarchant Place
  • Shirreff Hall
  • Howe Hall
  • Glengary Apartments
  • Grad House


  • Mini Res (if required)
  • We are still determining whether Gerard Hall will be open for Fall 2021.

Truro Campus:

  • Chapman House
  • Fraser House (if required)


  • We are still determining whether Trueman House will be open for Fall 2021.

Will applicants receive a refund of their application fee if their application is cancelled due to our COVID-19 response?

Yes, if a student’s application is cancelled due to COVID-19, they will receive a refund for their application fee.

I deferred my acceptance to Dal last year due to COVID-19. I will now be coming to Dal this Fall. Am I guaranteed a residence spot?

If you deferred your acceptance to Dal and did not study remotely in 2020/21, you are qualified for our room guarantee for new, direct-from-high-school students who submit their undergraduate application by June 15.

Please note, we will do our best to assign spaces to all of our new students, however, our overall residence capacity for Fall 2021 will be limited due to our COVID-19 response.

If you deferred your residence application in 2020/21 and studied remotely, you are no longer considered a new, direct-from-high-school student and are, unfortunately, not eligible for our residence room guarantee. Your application will be processed after assignments are complete for returning and new first-year students. Any room assignments for this group will happen after June 15.

Are international students who did their first year in their home country through virtual learning guaranteed a room in residence if they come to Canada for the first time in Fall 2021? When should they apply by?

Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee a space in residence for any student who studied remotely in their first year. We will do our best to place as many applicants as possible in the spaces we have available. For applicants who are in this group, any room offers will start to be sent after June 15.

What happens for residence in second year?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee residence space for returning students who were not living in residence during the 2020/21 academic year. Returning non-residence students will be assigned after the returning residents and new-direct-from-high-school students are assigned.

However, if you are a current resident who re-applied for residence by the March 8 re-application deadline, you are guaranteed a space in Fall 2021. Learn more about our Return to Residence Guarantee.

Are new students who apply by June 15 guaranteed to receive a room?

We are still working with public health officials and the university’s safety committee to determine what types (singles, doubles) and how many rooms we can make available in September 2021. Though our COVID-19 response could result in limited capacity this fall, we will do our best to accommodate as many students as we can within the public health guidelines at that time. However, should the number of applicants exceed the number of rooms we are able to offer, we hope everyone understands that we may not be able to offer residence spaces to everyone who wants one.

Currently Dal guarantees a space in residence for new, direct-from-high-school students who submit their university application by June 15. Will this deadline be extended?

No, this deadline will not be extended beyond June 15.

When will a decision be made about residence opportunities for fall 2021?

We will soon be sending residence offers to our returning residents for Fall 2021. New students coming from high school will be the next group to be assigned. These assignments will take place up to the June 15 deadline.

When will room offers be sent for new students?

As we get confirmation on which residence offerings will be available, we hope to start sending out room offers in May. We appreciate everyone’s interest in joining our residence community and ask for your patience as we continue to adjust our operations to ensure everyone’s safety.

How likely am I to get into my residence of choice?

We will do our best to assign residents according to their preferences, however, we cannot guarantee this will be the case due to limited space in some our most high-demand buildings like Risley and LeMarchant Place. If your first choice of residence is not available, we will assign you to a space in residence in order of your remaining preferences and depending on availability.

When will room offers be sent for returning residents?

Returning students should receive their room assignments before they leave in April. Current residence students who re-applied for residence by March 8 were given the option to return to their current room or move to another available residence of their choice.

Please note, if your preferred residence building is not available in September 2021 due to COVID-19, we will offer you a room in another building from your listed preferences.

I received a room offer. How do I pay my $500 room confirmation deposit?

Once you receive a room offer and accept it, you will pay your $500 room confirmation deposit.

Paying your $500 Room Deposit

Make sure that you include the following information with any payment:

  • Student Identification Number (Dal ID / B00 number)
  • Student Name
  • Student Birthdate

Pay by Credit Card

Visit the Dal Online Student Accounts Web Payment portal to pay your $500 room deposit online by credit card. 

International Payments

International students who are unable to pay online using a credit card may use a bank transfer. Find out more information on international payments, including step-by-step instructions.

I missed being in residence this year because of COVID-19 but want to come next year. Am I guaranteed a spot?

For students who cancelled their residence application and studied virtually

Unfortunately, if a student studied virtually in 2020/21 and delayed coming to residence, we are unable to guarantee them a space. These students are still able to apply for residence, but placement will be dependent on the space available after placement of returning and new, direct-from-high-school students.

For students who deferred their Dal acceptance and did not study virtually  

Yes, students who deferred their acceptance to Dal, and did not attend courses online in 2020-21, will be considered new students for the purposes of guaranteed room placement. The Residence Office will confirm this information with the Registrar's Office to verify their status as a new student. These students should apply by June 15 to be granted priority assignment status.

Please note: The June 15 room guarantee is subject to any COVID-19 response, which may affect the number of rooms available.

Will double rooms be available this Fall? Can I have a roommate?

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, at this point we will not be offering double rooms in Fall 2021. All existing double rooms will be assigned as single rooms. We will update the information if this changes.

Suites and apartments are still available.


Can I apply to live in the same building as my friend?

Students can request to be allocated to the same building as other students, however there is no guarantee as it depends on when students apply and the rooms that are available based on our COVID-19 response.

Will ResLife Learning Communities be available this year?

Due to restrictions in place as part of our response to COVID-19 and the reduced capacity of our residence buildings, ResLife Learning Communities will not be offered in the 2021-22 academic year.

What is the check-in date for September 2021?

Move-in dates for Fall 2021 will be as follows: 

  • Halifax Campus: Sept. 1-4, 2021
  • Truro Campus: Sept. 2-4, 2021

To ensure adherence to public health guidelines, residents will be asked to book a time slot for their move in. Updates will be sent to your Dal email with specific move-in instructions and information on booking your check-in time. Please keep checking your Dal email for communications.

IMPORTANT: Our dining halls will open on Saturday, Sept. 4, for supper (4:30 p.m.). Residents arriving prior to this time will be responsible for their own meals until the dining halls open.

What About Self-isolation?

At this time, we are not certain if self-isolation will be required in Sept. 2021. If it is, the Residence Office will communicate the options directly with those who will need to self-isolate upon their arrival.

I’m having trouble with my application. How can I get some help?

For help with residence applications, please contact the Residence Office at



What supports will be available to me in residence if I need to self-isolate?

Information on self-isolation options and requirements will be sent directly from the Residence Office to those who may be required to self-isolate in accordance with the prevailing public health guidelines. Please keep in mind these are subject to change at any time.

We will also post information as updates become available.

Will I be required to self-isolate when I arrive?

As of Friday, May 14, the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In process has changed for entry into the province. Most travellers (including students) now need to wait for their Safe Check-In application to be reviewed and approved before being allowed to enter Nova Scotia

Travellers arriving from outside Nova Scotia are currently required to self isolate for 14 days.

However, because these requirements can change quickly, it is recommended you check the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page frequently for updates.

Does a negative COVID-19 test mean that I don’t have to self-isolate?

No, the current Nova Scotia Public Health order requires 14 days of self-isolation immediately upon arrival to your destination in Nova Scotia if travelling from outside of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Please be sure to check the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page for the latest public health directives, as these can change.

Will I be able to self-isolate in residence?

Information on self-isolation options, if required, will be sent directly to all affected residents via their Dalhousie email once decisions are finalized as we approach the Fall 2021 semester.

If I have family members or friends travelling with me to help me move, will they need to self-isolate as well?

All travellers entering Nova Scotia must adhere to public health directives surrounding self-isolation. If you have a family member or support person travelling with you from outside Nova Scotia, they may help you move in to your self-isolation accommodations, but must follow all safety protocols. These include having their temperature taken prior to entry into the residence building, answering screening questions, and wearing a mask at all times. 

As per Nova Scotia public health requirements, all travellers coming from outside Nova Scotia will not be permitted to visit grocery and other retail stores upon arrival in Nova Scotia in order to stock up on supplies, so please plan ahead. 

Those friends or family members travelling with you will be required to leave the residence immediately after helping you move in and will not be permitted to return. They may leave Nova Scotia immediately to return home, stopping only for food, gas, and hotel. No sight-seeing, shopping, or visiting relatives or friends is permitted. If they choose to stay, they will need to self-isolate immediately in a hotel or another location for a 14-day period. During this time, no restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing, or visiting with other contacts is permitted. Please see the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page for full details on the requirements.

I have items in storage. Will I be able to access them while in self-isolation?

If you have items in storage from last year, you will not be allowed to access them until you have completed your self-isolation period, so please plan ahead and bring everything with you that you may need.

Can I pick up my DalCard while in self-isolation?

No, you may not visit the DalCard office to pick up your DalCard while in self-isolation. Your card will be provided to you when you check in to your permanent residence room after your self-isolation period is complete. 

After you receive your card, you may pick up your UPass at the DalCard office service window.

While in self-isolation, you are not permitted to visit any campus administrative office or building. You must also stay on campus at all times. 

Will I need to get a COVID-19 test while I’m self-isolating?

Nova Scotia Public Health strongly recommends that any student who is self-isolating get a COVID-19 test on day 1 or 2, then again on day 12, 13, or 14 of their 14-day self-isolation period. Please see our COVID-19 Testing Information for Residence Students page for more information on testing.

Does a negative COVID-19 test mean I can stop self-isolating?

No, as per Nova Scotia Public Health, you must still complete the entire 14-day self-isolation period, even if you receive a negative test on day 1, 2, 12, 13, or 14.


Dining Halls

Which dining halls will I be able to visit?

Halifax Campus:

To offer a safe and pleasant dining experience, there are currently three dining halls confirmed for Fall 2021.

  • Shirreff Hall - For residents of Shirreff Hall and LeMarchant Place
  • Howe Hall - For residents of Howe Hall and Mini Res
  • Risley Hall - For residents of Risley Hall

You will be assigned a dining hall based on the building in which you live. You will not be able to dine at any other dining hall on campus.

Our dining halls will feature a large selection of delicious and nutritious options for all palettes and dietary needs. The menu changes each day, so be sure to check the daily menus at the Dalhousie Food Services website.

If you're curious about the nutritional content of your meals, you'll find nutritional information provided at the kiosks in all the dining halls. If necessary, you can talk to the dietitian at Food Services about designing a plan to accommodate your needs.

Truro Campus:

Jenkins Hall will be open but may have reduced hours. We will confirm the dining hours as the semester approaches.

What measures have been put in place in the dining halls for the health and safety of residents?

The Residence and Food Services teams are currently working to ensure that the dining halls are set up with the safety of residents in mind. Measures currently being implemented include adjustments to seating layouts to ensure physical distancing and physical distancing signage.

Visit our Dining Safe @ Dal page for a video tour, photos, and information on what measures we're taking.

Will I be able to get meals to go?

Take out will not be available. We will be offering dine-in service in the dining halls with physically distanced seating that complies with public health guidelines.


Residence Changes and Procedures

What additional cleaning is being undertaken to keep residents safe?

We pride ourselves in ensuring that our buildings are cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and regularly.

To ensure the health and safety of the residence community, and the university community as a whole, our Custodial Services team has developed a comprehensive cleaning plan to ensure all spaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The team is using a highly effective non-toxic ozonated water disinfectant to ensure disinfection of surfaces.

What are some of the changes to residence I should be aware of before arriving?

COVID-19 has significantly changed how Dalhousie University will operate, including our residence system. We have had to institute some restrictions following Nova Scotia Public Health guidelines. These are subject to change at any time, so please keep checking for updates.

 For Fall 2021, these changes include:

  • Lounges will have a posted maximum occupancy number, depending on the size of the lounge, that must be observed at all times. Masks are mandatory at all times in lounges.
  • Dining halls will be assigned based on your residence building. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use multiple dining halls.
  • Masks are required when you are travelling anywhere outside your personal room.
  • No external visitors or guests are allowed at any time in residences until further notice. Signs have been posted on exterior doors to inform visitors that they are unable to enter.
  • Inter-residence travel is allowed but must follow a guest sign-in process (one guest per residence student). This does not include access to the dining hall in another building.
  • No alcohol or cannabis allowed in residence at any time for any reason. Anyone with a prescription for medical-use cannabis should contact us immediately. (This includes ALL residences.)
  • A maximum of five students in a room, including the resident, at all residences except LeMarchant Place, where the limit is 10 people in 3- or 4-bedroom suites. Masks are mandatory where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Updates were made to the Residence Community Living Guide.

Any updates to these residence policies will be sent to your Dal email.

For Summer 2021, the following emergency restrictions are in place as of April 28, 2021, until further notice:

  • masks must be worn at all times in residence unless you are in your personal bedroom
  • social distancing of at least two meters should be observed at all times
  • only ONE additional person is allowed in any residence room
  • only TWO people are allowed in the kitchens and laundry rooms at a time
  • no alcohol or cannabis permitted in residence even if you are 19 years of age 

Finally, if you are required to isolate for any reason, please contact Residence Life so we can move you to our isolation area. 902-220-9038

What are some things I will need to bring with me that may be new this year?

To ensure you are complying with public health recommendations and with new guidelines put in place to ensure the health and safety of our residence community, please bring:

  • Masks (if using cloth reusable masks, ensure they’re washed often)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra cleaning and sanitizing supplies for cleaning your room
  • A reliable thermometer

For a full list, visit our What to bring to res page.



How many people can come with me to help me move in?

Logistics for the Fall 2021 move-in are still being finalized. More information on move-in procedures will be available as we approach the Fall 2021 semester. Please check back later.

Where can I purchase items for my room?

The Dal Bookstore is offers a variety of items for residence rooms. Check their website for product availability and pricing. 


DalCard and UPass

How can I get my DalCard?

Your DalCard is your all access pass to university – including building access, gym membership, dining hall card, laundry (Halifax residences only), library card, printing and copying, debit card, and more.

In order to get your DalCard, you must upload a photo and a copy of your government issued photo ID online. We will then print your card and have it waiting for you at your residence. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be providing photo services at our office on campus. If you are unable to upload your photo or are having technical issues, email