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Family life

A group of children from Dalhousie's daycare walk across a rainbow painted crosswalk.

Balancing kids and courses

You may want to pursue your graduate degree while raising a family. If you’re coming to Dalhousie from outside of Nova Scotia, you will likely want to familiarize yourself with care and education options for your children. As well, if you have a child on the way, you have the option to take some time off from your program to focus on your family. 


On campus: Childcare is available on Dalhousie’s campus through the University Children’s Centre. As there is significant demand for available spots it’s best to apply as early as possible.

Off-campus: The Government of Nova Scotia licenses and regulates childcare facilities throughout the province, and its information for families includes a directory of licensed facilities by city, program type and age category.

Enrolling your children in school

In Nova Scotia, everyone between the ages of five and 21 has the right to attend a public school. If you’re an international student, your children can attend a local public school free of charge. 

The government of Nova Scotia provides information on attending school in the province, including how to register your children. You can register your children at the local school they will attend, or at one of the Regional Centres for Education located throughout the province.

International students with family members

If you’re coming to Dalhousie from another country and bringing a spouse, partner and/or children with you, Dalhousie’s International Centre can help. It provides information on how your family members can apply for Visitor Permits in order to enter Canada and live with you while you study.

Taking parental leave

If you’re expecting a child and wish to take a leave of absence from your program, you should first meet with your supervisor and graduate coordinator to discuss a timeline for returning to your studies and completing your degree requirements. 

Once the Leave of Absence Request Form has been completed and signed by your supervisor and graduate coordinator, it can be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for a final approval. You can find this information on Sharepoint via myDal.