Family and Friends
Important educational partners
We know that parents and families are invested in their student's education in ways that extend beyond tuition fees and move-in day. From exploring program options to navigating the services and supports available to your student, below you'll find tips and resources to help you support your student every step of the way.
Important dates and deadlines
As a parent, you may need to know when tuition payments are due or when exams begin so that you can support your student when they need it most. To help you align key dates in your student’s schedule with your own calendar, you can refer to our list of Important Dates.
Throughout the year, we offer a number of sessions and events for students and families to learn more about Dalhousie. Contact the recruitment team for more information on Open House and general information sessions.
Take a campus tour
See Dalhousie for yourself. Plan a campus visit and experience the university through the eyes of a current student who will provide the inside scoop on courses, residence, facilities, services, campus life and the best places to study and eat on campus. Book a campus tour.
Family and friends guide
Is Dal a good fit for my student?
Dalhousie has been one of Canada’s leading universities for almost 200 years. A research-intensive university and a member of the U15, Canada’s top 15 research intensive universities, our students get involved in hands-on learning and research projects from day one. Here, hard work, tenacity and a sense of adventure will be rewarded. We’ll challenge your student to be the best version of themselves and provide the resources to make it happen.
- 2 campus locations: Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia
- $40 million invested each year in scholarships, bursaries and funding for student jobs
- Over 180 programs
- 90 master’s degrees
- 40+ PhD programs
- 18,500 students
- 56% students from outside Nova Scotia
- 14% international students
- 1,100 faculty (over 90% have their PhD)
- $140 million in funded research each year
- 90 Rhodes Scholars
- 90 exchange and study abroad opportunities in more than 43 countries
- More than 120,000 alumni
At Dal, your student will be part of a safe and welcoming community that’s pushing boundaries and changing the world. Come see for yourself – take a campus tour and get to know Dalhousie.
Help your student choose a program of study
Perhaps your student enjoys math and music or physics and computer science – with 4,000 classes in over 180 degree programs, there are a variety of ways to combine different fields of study into one degree.
Browse our academic programs with your student to learn about classes they’ll take, career opportunities, future study options, admission requirements and you can also read stories from current students, faculty and alumni.
In the first year at Dal, students are encouraged to explore courses in different academic areas and find out what they’re interested in. Often, they discover that their interests vary from what they originally planned. Some students may be hesitant to explore their interests, particularly if they feel pressured by family to pursue a particular field of study, so having your support is important. Encourage your student to explore their options and meet with an academic advisor.
Applying to Dalhousie
If your student is applying to a direct entry program (no previous university experience required), they will be given the option to select up to three programs on one undergraduate application form in the order of their preference.
The application process
Once your student has submitted their undergraduate application, they can expect a decision to be made within 4–6 weeks. (Graduate applicants will need to contact Graduate Studies or the department to which they applied.)
If your student applied online, they can check the status on whether or not a decision has been made by returning to the Admissions Login page. They simply enter the login ID and PIN they created to view the status of their application. All applicants will receive an official response by mail.
How does my student accept their offer of admission?
To confirm your student’s acceptance, the admission deposit must be paid by the deadline indicated in their acceptance letter. Space may be limited in some programs, so we encourage your student to submit payment as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. If they have been accepted for the winter (January) or summer (May) session, no deposit is required unless indicated in their acceptance letter.
View our English language requirements to ensure your student has the language skills needed to be successful.
We are required by law to protect each student's confidentiality and we take our students’ right to privacy seriously. We also know that students may not seek help without the assurance of confidentiality. That’s why only the student has access to their academic record, including grades and academic status, courses, class locations and any outstanding fees. We understand that this can be difficult for parents, so we encourage you to keep the lines of communication with your student open and supportive.
If they need to upgrade they English, consider our ESL programs.
If you have questions about programs, admission requirements, financial aid or scholarships, call 902-494-2450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financing your student’s education
How much will your student’s education cost in an average year?
That depends on a variety of factors, including the program your student has chosen and the number of courses they’re taking. Check out our Fee Calculator to estimate costs for one year.
Ways to fund your student’s education
Often money for education comes from many sources, including scholarships, bursaries, part-time employment and student loans. Learn more about funding sources available to your student.
Helping your student create and manage a budget
Have your student create their own budget
Developing a budget and managing finances is an important life skill, which all students will need to develop during their years of university. When creating a budget, try and let your student do most of the work so that they get a true understanding of their income vs. expenses and will be more mindful when it comes managing their spending.
Use our online budget tool to get a detailed estimate of your costs while studying at Dalhousie.
Here are some tips to help guide them:
- Have your student write down all sources of income for the year and then have them estimate their monthly income. Be sure to discuss expectations around the use of debit and credit cards including who pays for what.
- Help them think through their list of monthly expenses and break them down into two categories: fixed (rent, utilities, etc.) vs. variable (clothing, entertainment, etc.) expenses.
- Have them total their monthly expenses and compare it against their monthly income. If their expenses amount to more than their income, ask them to reconsider their variable spending. And if there’s money left over in the budget, encourage them to put it into an emergency fund for unexpected expenses that may come up.
Your student may also consider part-time work while attending Dalhousie.
Academic support and services for students
From selecting classes, programs and majors to understanding degree requirements and exploring career options, our friendly and knowledgeable academic advisors are available to help your student every step of the way.
Other academic services
Dalhousie offers many support programs, including:
- free seminars in our Writing Centre
- access to teaching assistants in our Mathematics Learning Centre (Halifax) and Math and Physics Centre (Truro)
- chemistry tutorials in The Concept Room
- specialized research assistance
- study skills workshops
Whether your student needs some extra help with a class or studying for an exam, our one-on-one study coaches can help them understand complex concepts and learn what they needs to be successful. Find out more about personal coaching and tutoring services at our Halifax and Truro campuses.
Helping your student with their English skills
Our English as a second language (ESL) courses will help your student improve the English skills they’ll use in a wide variety of common academic situations. Learn more about ESL courses.
Find out more about academic support offered at Dal.
Other student services
- Accessibility and accommodation
- Black student advising - Support for students of African decent: Halifax and Truro
- Bookstores - Textbooks, supplies, gitware and more: Halifax and Truro
- International Centres - Help with planning and transition for travelling students: Halifax and Truro
- Native Students - Personal and educational support services: Halifax and Truro
- Student Careers and Leadership Development - Preparing students for graduation: Halifax and Truro
- Student rights & responsibilities - Get to know our rules and guidelines
- University ID (Dalcard) & transit pass - Key card, library card, debit card and transit pass in one
DalCard/Transportation/getting around Halifax
DalCard is Dalhousie University's official identification card, access card, library card, debit card and Halifax Metro Transit UPass all rolled into one. Vist MyDalCard to make a deposit online to your student's DalCard account using Visa or Mastercard.
All full-time Dalhousie students receive a Universal Bus Pass (UPass). The UPass sticker is placed directly on their DalCard and they simply show the card to ride Metro Transit buses and ferries, as well as Community Transit buses, from September to April. See the Dalhousie UPass website to learn more.
Several transit routes pass through, or stop next to, our university campuses and campus bus stops are highlighted on the Dalhousie Campus Map. Routes and schedules can also be found on the Metro Transit website.
If your student will have access to a vehicle, parking permits can be purchased for the academic year (Sept.1 to Aug. 31) at Security Services. These permits, which include annual, term, weekly or daily, are available at any time throughout the year. Campus parking is highlighted on the Dalhousie Campus Map. See Dalhousie Parking Services to learn more.
Housing and Dining
Living in residence
Dalhousie offers guaranteed residence to all new undergraduate students who have completed the residence application through Dal Online and paid the housing deposit by June 30 (for September). Students can choose from a variety of styles of on-campus residences, all of which are conveniently located and offer meal plans. There are also many off-campus housing options within walking distance or on bus routes.
Benefits of living on campus
Your student's choice to live on campus while studying at Dalhousie comes with a number of benefits:
- It’s all-inclusive: electricity, cable, Internet and telephone. And there are no damage deposits or unexpected end-of-the month bills.
- All-you-can-eat dining - See meal plan and dining information for Truro or Halifax to learn more.
- Depending on the campus, we have Residence Assistants (RAs), Residence Life Managers (RLMs) and Dons available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to address student concerns and answer questions. And campus security is always on the job to ensure a safe environment.
- Our Halifax residences offer an Academic Cluster program that groups students with similar interests taking similar courses together in residence.
- Your student is part of a community from day one and will make lifelong friendships.
- It’s fun: There's always something going on. Movie marathons, charity events, scavenger hunts, Eco-Olympics, soccer games—you name it, they're all part of the experience.
- There are plenty of options. All your student has to do is choose—and apply early to increase their chances of getting the residence they prefer. See what residence options are available in Truro and Halifax.
Questions about residence options and room assignment?
Visit the Residence and Housing website.
Dining halls and meal plans
Our four residence dining halls are located on Studley Campus in Howe Hall, Shirreff Hall, Risley Hall and on Sexton Campus in O'Brien Hall.
Residence students can eat at any dining hall, on either campus, at any time during their operating hours. Each dining hall features different menu items each day, so your student can check out the daily menus at the Dalhousie Food Services website and decide which dining hall is offering the menu that best suits their taste.
Residence students can head to Jenkins Hall for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or just to hang out with friends for our continuous dining service, and unlimited access all day. Students living in non-traditional residence also have the option to purchase a meal plan.
Are there other on-campus options?
Dalhousie Food Services includes several other retail food options, conveniently located across campus for a last-minute snack or meal. If you have deposited funds on your student's DalCard or if they have Food Bucks as part of their meal plan, they can use this money at these locations. And, of course, they can also pay with cash.
A Food Services dietitian (email@example.com) is available to talk to you student about designing a plan to accommodate their needs.
What if my student lives off-campus?
Anyone can eat in the dining hall by paying cash at the door or by purchasing a meal plan. See the Dalhousie Food Services website for voluntary meal plan options.
Health, wellness and safety
Your student’s health is important to us. The Dalhousie Health Services Centre is open to all students.
Dalhousie Health Services offers extensive health services, including:
- travel clinic for immunizations
- first aid
- immigration physicals for Canadian visas
- routine medical exams and consultations
- psychiatric care
- sports medicine
- minor surgery
- obstetric care
Who to turn to when you’re not there
With so many new, exciting experiences, it’s normal for your student to feel a little overwhelmed at times. Not to worry, we offer a number of supports including, personal counselling, learning disability services, career counselling and spiritual counselling. And you can always encourage your student to talk to Residence Assistants and Off-campus Community Assistants or use our free Self-Help Program.
Studying late? We'll get them home safely
During the academic year, Dalhousie Tiger Patrol offers a free shuttle bus service to Halifax students, faculty and staff of Dalhousie University.
Safety at their fingertips
Students can also download DalSAFE – a new mobile app providing quick and easy access to Security Services, Tiger Patrol, interactive maps, campus notices, parking info, and many other resources to enhance personal safety.
Volunteering, part-time work and employment after graduation
Our Career & Leadership Development Centre in Halifax and Career Advising Centre in Truro provide support in helping your student find part-time employment and volunteer opportunities while studying as well as support for their future career endeavors through Career Advising, Leadership Programs, Online Job Postings, and Employer Recruitment Events.
Convocation is the formal ceremony for the conferral of degrees and diplomas and is held each year in May and October. During convocation ceremonies, parents, families and the Dalhousie community come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates.
For a student to be considered by Senate for awarding of their degree and to be included in Convocation ceremonies, they must Apply to Graduate through Dal Online or by submitting an Intent to Graduate form.
For information on ceremony dates, services during convocation or other inquiries, visit the convocation website.
Words of wisdom from first-year students
"Ask me how I want to be supported throughout the year."
Before arriving at Dalhousie, talk about expectations to avoid disappointment or misunderstanding later. Do they want you to drive them to campus, to help them move and unpack? Or do they want to do these things by themselves? These conversations are helpful as students are developing more independence.
"Wait for me to call/text home instead of calling/texting me."
It's an important step for all students to be able to figure out what rhythm works for them. As hard as it might be, wait for them to call or text you. Students lead busy lives. Trust that they'll be in touch if they need help or want to to talk. Consider using email, which is a good alternative if times zones and work schedules are getting in the way.
"Celebrate my successes and support me when I struggle."
Whether it's a great mark on an exam or an extracurricular achievement, it will mean a lot to your student to have you backing them up every step of the way.