St. Stephen’s University is the smallest university in Canada, only accepting around 20 new students each year. This allows us to create a totally unique learning community in which everyone knows each other, and professors share daily life with students. Instead of being anonymous in a large university, at SSU we’ll actually get to know you. You can come as you are (yes, even you 😉 ) and figure out who you want to be and how you want to engage with the world and make a difference. Our aim is to graduate thoughtful, humble, passionate people who actively contribute to their communities.
Ask anybody if they learn best in a big lecture hall listening to someone talk, or in a classroom interacting with a small group around a table – guess which one they choose? SSU has been intentionally small since it was founded in 1975. We’re not trying to make a profit, so we’ve never sacrificed our unique educational model just to get more students. We know learning works best when professors KNOW the students in the room, and can interact with each one of them.
In addition to this, we believe that people learn and grow when they are known and accepted in a caring community; in communities over 120 people, it’s hard to know everyone, so we deliberately stay under that number.
At SSU we try to create a context to explore spirituality, asking deep questions of identity and purpose with open-mindedness and curiosity, and valuing diversity of ideas and opinions, past and present. A unique strength of SSU is our broad and diverse Christian heritage that has led us to be intentional about including space to explore ways in which spiritual traditions contribute to our search for meaning in today’s world. We offer opportunities for a variety of spiritual practices but never require them. We simply try and create a space where everyone is free to think about stuff that matters, respectful of everyone else in the community that might think differently.
And then of course there’s the travel. Rather than sticking you in a foreign country for a while on your own, charging you a fortune and calling it a ‘travel program’, we travel the world together. You and your whole class will travel with your professors for 6 weeks in Asia and another 7 weeks in Europe, in two separate travel terms. For full credit! And all for only $1000 more than a standard term in St. Stephen! It’s a travel program like no other.
Check out the testimonials of our graduates below…
“During my four years in the SSU community I have discovered that the people here know how to keep a balance between seriousness and silliness. I absolutely love that I have the freedom and opportunity to talk about my faith, my schoolwork, and share a laugh with my professors every day. SSU truly is a beautiful entanglement of seriousness and silliness.”David McCallumGuelph, ON
“Life at SSU is like living a miracle. Despite being from among the broken dysfunctional youth of the 21st century, we manage to have stimulating classes with engaging professors, bonfires with guitars and roasted-black sausages, and bonding moments on travelling trips. We at SSU learn to love despite our various quirks and incapabilities. That is a miracle that goes on.”Jen Ngo Hong Kong
“SSU proved to be an invaluable foundation for further education. When I graduated, I worried that other schools might pick me last for acceptance or that I wouldn’t be ready for an institutional education. But, I have since attended three universities and found myself teaching other students because of my interdisciplinary, experience-based education from SSU.”Luke WilsonCarlisle, ON
“I originally came to SSU for the travel terms. Experiencing the Grand Tour of Europe and exploring Southeast Asia while getting a B.A. was an opportunity too good to miss. Yet though I came to SSU for the promised adventures, I ultimately stayed for the people. Classmates and professors have profoundly influenced me with their passion for social justice, their appreciation for art in all its forms, and their ability to see beauty where I had forgotten to look for it.”Karis TaylorVentura, CA
"I originally enrolled at SSU because of the classes offered and the lure of travelling the world, but I quickly discovered much more than that. Here, everyday life offers opportunities for a heart-to-heart with professors and classmates about anything from the trivial and nonsensical, to the intensely political and personal, to the vibrantly academic and philosophical, or the enlighteningly spiritual.Alicia Farnham Waterville, NB
“St. Stephen’s University was an exceptional experience for my undergrad degree. The friends I’ve made have deeply affected my life, while the travel and course material have begun a lifelong journey in learning. SSU’s programs, professors and faculty are second to none and it has been a privilege for me to spend the last four years at St. Stephen’s University.”Zarchari Smith Kelowna, BC
“At no other school could you hang out with monks, hike through a jungle and swim in the South China Sea all in one day. These semesters have broadened my perspective of the world while inspiring me to be more intentional in my responsibilities as a global citizen. I was grateful for the open environment at the school in which professors and fellow students alike encourage free-thinking growth, both academically and spiritually.”Cara FitchBurlington, ON
“The challenge of living in community, coupled with the intimacy of the small classroom, the opportunity to develop real relationships with one’s professors, and the interaction with Christian students from different denominations and cultures has allowed me to grow in ways that would not have been possible anywhere else.”Sam Shantz Kanata, ON