St. Francis Xavier University: Ranking, profile | Maclean's

St. Francis Xavier University

St. Francis Xavier University | Antigonish, N.S. | Founded 1853


St. Francis Xavier University student with bird

Tucked away in the town of Antigonish, N.S., St. Francis Xavier caters mainly to undergraduates in arts, science and business. The university has high academic standards but also promotes the personal development of its students. They are well supported, as they are encouraged to live and learn on a beautiful campus. At StFX, small class sizes challenge students to think critically and contribute to class discussions. “Even with our rich history and traditions, I believe it is important to rethink [the] academic experience and to articulate our promise more clearly to our students,” says president Kent MacDonald. He wants to increase the school’s global reach through service learning, academic programming and international research. StFX’s service learning program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016. Nearly 20 per cent of students participate in course-based or immersion experiences, getting outside the classroom to work in communities, locally or further afield. A well-known tradition at StFX is handing out X-rings (a rectangular gold ring with a large black X in the middle) to graduating students. The campus is known for its Ivy League-style architecture, limestone residences and pedestrian-friendly layout. With a population of about 20,000 in the surrounding town and county, students get to know some locals by their first names. Many develop a sense of pride and belonging—also known as the X factor.

READ: St. Francis Xavier through the eyes of a student

Standout Programs

Social Justice Colloquium: Students explore the range of human experience, from our pre-human roots to our present-day lives.

Public Policy and Governance: Students gain skills in public affairs and leadership, learning how and why government decisions are made, and options for tackling a broad range of local and global public issues.

Health Studies Colloquium: Explores psychological, biological and sociological perspectives on human health and is available to students in both the faculty of arts and faculty of science; includes a service learning component.

Cool Courses

Mind, Self and Society: This summer course offers three weeks of intensive preparation for a one-week experience of Buddhist monastic practice at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, N.S.

Sociology of Anne of Green Gables: Through the use of the books, films and shows in the Anne series, students learn to think about and apply the work of sociological theorists.

Minimum entering grades Tuition Average class size Number of students Residence spaces Graduation and retention rates
Engineering: 75.4%
Arts: 70%
Science: 71%
Commerce: 70%
$7,536 ($8,819 out-of-province) 1st & 2nd year: 45.2
3rd & 4th year: 24.5
Undergraduates: 4,178
Graduates: 484
2,068 (997 reserved for first years) Graduation: 69.8%
Retention: 84.4%

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