Cape Breton University

Great Hall at Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University

At Cape Breton University, graduate satisfaction leads the country as CBU graduates have ranked their overall educational experience, teaching and instruction as Number One in Canada (2006 Maclean’s University Graduate Satisfaction Survey).

Cape Breton University promises and delivers an exceptional educational experience for students. Our faculty, students and graduates are recognized nationally and internationally for innovative accomplishments from academic excellence to athletic prowess. These successes contribute to Cape Breton University’s growing reputation for excellence both in and out of the classroom.

Find out more about life at CBU using the menu on the left. And don’t forget our Frequently Asked Questions page, for information ranging from scholarships to class sizes.

With small class sizes, unique course offerings and programs and activities all year round; Cape Breton University is your home away from home.

Located on Canada’s stunning east coast, CBU makes its home on Cape Breton Island. Population of 110,000 residents, the municipality boasts the amenities of a city, with a welcoming atmosphere of a small town.

In small class sizes, you are more than just a number. Professors get to know their students and will refer to you by name. CBU is a community in itself. Being a small campus helps create a relaxing environment, a sense of belonging and a diverse population from over 50 countries.

With different courses and programs, an education from CBU can be tailored to your interests. From biology, ethnomusicology, engineering, marketing, nursing, education, CBU has a wide variety of degrees, certificates, diplomas, transfer programs and articulation agreements that will suit your education purposes.

We want your future to be all that it can be. If you are looking for a high-quality education and an exceptional life experience, join us at Cape Breton University.


CBU traces its roots to 1951 when the “St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus”, also referred to as “Xavier Junior College” (XJC), was opened in downtown Sydney as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Growth during the 1950s saw several buildings opened on this site.

In 1968 the “Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology” (NSEIT) opened in 1968 on the Sydney-Glace Bay Highway, immediately east of Sydney. This institution focused on business technology and trades and its development was largely enabled by federal and provincial funding at a time when the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton were facing serious challenges.

In 1974, the first university college in Canada was established on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia through an amalgamation of the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology and Xavier Junior College. The Xavier Junior College was affiliated previously with St Francis Xavier University. The University College of Cape Breton became a public degree-granting institution, and retained technical and vocational programs from the former Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology. Cape Breton University was established by the Cape Breton University Act.

Fast Facts

  • 75% of Cape Breton students who attend university choose CBU
  • Undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, business, science and technology
  • Diplomas and certificates in wireless, petroleum, environmental studies, integrative science, cultural studies, education
  • Nova Scotia based students comprise a significant portion of CBU enrollment (71% – CB; 6% – other NS; Total – 77%)
  • Largest Mi’kmaq community in Nova Scotia
  • Highest % of Aboriginal student enrollment of any institution in Atlantic Canada
  • Research
    • Two Tier 1 & One Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs
      • Integrative Science
      • Intangible Cultural Heritage
      • Molecular Spectroscopy
    • Chair in Mine Water Management
    • Projects funded by all federal granting councils
    • CFI, NSRIT, AIF projects
  • Academic & Research Building Infrastructure
    • Original structure built in 1960’s ( A,B,C)
    • 1976 – Campus Centre
    • 1997 – Campus Expansion ( $18 million)
    • 1998 – Tech Enterprise Centre ($3.5 million)
    • 759,000 sq ft of space ($200 million replacement cost)
    • Deferred maintenance backlog of $21 million
  • Residence Infrastructure
    • 1990 – MacDonald Residence (146 beds dorm style)
    • 2000 – Cabot Residence (123 beds apartment style)
    • 2004 – Alumni Hall (190 beds – 120 apt. & 70 dorm)
  • Endowment Fund has almost doubled in last few years enabling scholarship & bursary offerings of over $1 million.

Arts and Culture

Cape Breton University understands the importance of connecting students, faculty, staff and the community to Arts and Culture. Through five distinct areas, CBU gives you the opportunity to discover, explore and enrich your life through Arts and Culture in ways distinctive to CBU.

The university Art Gallery, which is open full-time, allows you to experience the work of aspiring local artists, as well as a collection of permanent artwork. The Beaton Institute gives you a glimpse into the past through persevered historical records related to the university and the Island. Take time to enjoy a theatrical or musical performance during the Boardmore Playhouse Seasons of Play. Browse through the CBU Press to discover rich cultural resources for Nova Scotia and, finally, visit our Centre for Cape Breton studies which offers many opportunities to reach into the community to explore its cultural heritage.

To begin discovering Arts and Culture through CBU, please click on one of the following links:

Recreation and Fitness

At CBU we know that physical fitness is important to your well being. Cape Breton University is dedicated to providing students with a variety of physically active choices. Throughout the year, students will be able to participate in:

  • daily and nightly intramurals,
  • the Shinerama Lob Ball Tournament,
  • Yoga and Pilates classes,
  • Super Bowl Flag Football
  • …and so much more.

The benefits of regular physical activity range from stronger bones and toned muscles to better sleep, higher self-esteem and reduced stress.


The Intramural program promotes an environment of fun, fair play, and athletic competition, through the medium of physical activity.

The university offers a wide variety of Intramural activities on an individual, dual, and team basis which gives each individual an opportunity to choose the type of activity their most interested. It is our policy to offer all interested students an activity in which to participate.

Activities are in the form of either organized or Free Time events.

Organized activities include both team play and individual competition, while Free Time events allow students, faculty and staff use of the facilities for the activity of their choosing.

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