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Saint Mary's University

Program Overview 

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Culture: Innovative, supportive
Neighborhood: Oceanside, active
Housing: Homestay
English level: Beginner - advanced 

With one of the most international student populations, Saint Mary’s University (Saint Mary’s) boasts a vibrant campus filled with individuals from more than 117 countries. This unique diversity helps faculty and staff assist students in their educational pursuits in a supportive and personalized way. This contributes to the university’s values, which recognizes the importance and contribution of each student.

The university is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Students take advantage of its location – it is less than a few miles from the ocean, so many outdoor opportunities abroad. The campus is a short drive to other outdoor adventures in the area, from kayaking, skiing and hiking, just to name a few activities.

Halifax resides in Nova Scotia, an eastern Canadian province. The ocean is ever-present in the lives of citizens and students alike. Indeed, no one is ever more than 50 kilometers from the ocean! The city itself is home to numerous businesses, restaurants, galleries, and live music and sporting events.

Student Profile

SAF Scholars seeking a supportive learning environment in a mid-sized city in Canada would be well-suited for Saint Mary’s. The right fit students would also enjoy the close proximity to the lakes and rivers, not to mention the Atlantic Ocean.

Other Programs at University

St. Mary’s also offers a Concurrent program and Academic Program to qualified SAF Scholars.

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall (August – December)
Academic Year (August – May)

Program Strengths

Saint Mary’s provides small classes with attentive language faculty and staff to help students in any level.

Number of Classroom Hours Per Week

25 hours per week

Number of Levels

Six levels offered in 8-week sessions
  • Levels 1-3 – students focus on developing accuracy and fluency in general English and cross-cultural communication skills.
  • Levels 4-6 – learning becomes more academic-focused preparing students for academic coursework in the future.

Elective Courses Offered

SAF Scholars will have their choice of various cultural classes in order to enhance their understanding of the English language.

Progression or Concurrent Notes

Scholars taking the concurrent option will be enrolled in the University Bridging Program. These programs are intensive and will include tutorials and placement into the Conversation Partner Program. This program will give scholars frequent access to native English speakers to better their speaking, reading, listening, and writing abilities.

This concurrent programs allows English language learners to take one or two academic courses for credit at the university alongside their English language courses. SAF Scholars will study 15 hours per week of English and supplement with 3 or 6 hours of academic coursework per week. The academic coursework equates to 3 or 6 credits per term. Academic subjects are chosen in consultation with an advisor in the Office of Admissions and New Students. The concurrent program is a 16-week session spanning the full academic semester

Students are able to progress from language only courses to UBP the following semester by receiving a B+ or higher.

Housing Type



Homestays provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. SAF Scholars will be able to explore on-campus and local community dining facilities at their leisure.

Type of Room

Homestay room
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

Saint Mary’s staff provide countless opportunities for extra-curricular activities so SAF Scholars can delve into the full university experience. Cultural Assistants help students become familiar with Canadian culture and life in Halifax. SAF Scholars have numerous opportunities to make both local and international friends.

Life on Campus

Saint Mary’s is a vital member of the Halifax community and students take advantage of the close proximity of the scenic neighborhoods and trails around the area. The university has an active student body, so it is common to see students engaging in varsity and club sports on campus and recreational activities off campus. Students integrate themselves with the outer community with ease, either by the nearby bus stop or on foot.
Last Updated: 1/9/19