Q: Where is St. Stephen’s University?
A: In St. Stephen, New Brunswick, which is a small town of approximately 5,000 people located on the New Brunswick/Calais, Maine border. You can drive here in a day from Ontario, and we are about five hours from Halifax. We offer a transportation service from Fredericton, Saint John and Bangor, Maine. View us on a map here.
Q: What makes St. Stephen’s University so different from other universities?
- We are a small close-knit community with no more than 30 new students enrolled each year. There is no smaller university in Canada (and maybe the world).
- We offer challenging academics (that get our graduates into Master’s programs, often with significant funding), as well as an environment for spiritual exploration, which we consider as important as academic growth for students wanting to contribute to society.
- We don’t just teach one subject, we offer a broad degree focused on critical thinking and analysis. We think it’s the best preparation for many careers, and helps shape students into well-rounded graduates that know how to think. This is what the world needs!
- We enjoy life together on a daily basis, cooking, eating, cleaning and travelling together as well as studying. Students share in the daily work of running the university, which keeps costs down and gets everyone used to the daily chores that are part of normal adult life.
- We don’t have a flashy campus – everything happens in a big old 19th Century hotel in a small town! No, we are not on your doorstep, but we are SO worth travelling for.
- We offer totally integrated, full credit study abroad in Europe and Asia as part of all our degrees. Students travel with their whole class to multiple countries. What other university can offer that?!
- We are a Liberal Arts university with a Christian community at its core. We don’t share one common set of beliefs or doctrine that uniformly identifies us – we are a diverse group of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Many of us would align with the generally accepted values of progressive Christianity, which is broadly characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of Jesus’ instruction to love one another, leading to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice and mercy.
- We are passionate about creating an affirming, safe place where everyone feels accepted and included. We welcome any student who wants to respectfully join our community, regardless of background, if they meet our academic entry requirements. So we aim to avoid judgment and prejudice towards anyone’s belief system, worldview, sexual orientation etc., believing that diversity of perspectives can create a vibrant community. In fact, we extend an especially warm welcome to people who have felt excluded from other communities.
- We highly value authentic, honest spirituality and we are comfortable with difficult questions. In fact, we often value questions more than answers, and don’t assume that answers are always helpful.
Q: Is St. Stephen’s University a Christian University?
A: SSU is a Liberal Arts university with a Christian community at its core. Most universities that would be labelled Christian universities are just for Christians, and often have religious entry requirements such as ‘statements of faith’ that students have to sign. This is not the case at SSU. Our doors are wide open to anyone who would like to respectfully join our community, whatever their background or faith perspective. We do not have mandatory Christian practices, but there are optional activities in which students are invited to participate. Our professors are quite open about their faiths, but their job is to teach students HOW to think, not WHAT to think, so they will not push their worldviews on students.
Wait, so is SSU affiliated with one specific denomination?
No. We have students, staff and faculty from many denominations and streams of the Christian tradition, and other students who have no religious background at all. We welcome students from all faith backgrounds, and also those with no faith background at all. Over the years our staff and faculty have come from many backgrounds including those from Anglican, Baptist, Vineyard, Mennonite, Catholic, Orthodox and other traditions. While most of our staff and faculty are not Catholic, our university, thanks to key partnerships, is conducive to Catholic students in several ways – if you’re interested, you can read more information here.
Q: Do you welcome LGBTQ+ students?
A: Yes of course. We welcome and embrace ALL students who’d like to be a part of our affirming, inclusive community.
Q: Where do SSU students come from?
A: Most of our student body comes from all across Canada and the US. We also welcome international students, and have had students attend from Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and other places across the globe!
Q: Will my degree be recognized?
A: Yes. We are one of three Private Chartered Universities in New Brunswick, and have a Provincial Charter authorizing us to grant Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Our students have been accepted into Masters programs all over the world, often with significant scholarships.
Q: What do SSU graduates do with their degrees?
A: A liberal arts education provides graduates with flexibility of mind, a multiplicity of perspectives and the capacity for innovation. SSU focuses on teaching you how to think, how to present an argument, how to solve problems and how to relate well to diverse people. Employers love this! The SSU experience opens up a world of possibilities for either further education or a rewarding career, preparing you for life and work and helping you figure out what you want to do. SSU graduates have gone on to study or work in a wide variety of areas including the following: art therapy, business, disaster relief, education, film, fine arts, journalism, law, management, ministry, nursing, politics, social work, theology, and urban planning. Check out our Viewbook to see some of the crazy things our grads get up to.
Q: How can I find out more about SSU?
A: The best source of information is this website, so have a look around! We also have a Viewbook – you can see a digital copy of it on this site, but we would love to send you the real thing, so send us your mailing address!