University of King’s College

King's College (Photo: Robert Alfers)

University of King’s College

The University of King’s College, Canada’s oldest chartered university, is a small but extraordinarily lively academic community located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The College is known nationally and internationally for its interdisciplinary programmes in the humanities and journalism.


While other universities were under discussion at the time, the University of King’s College, founded in Windsor, NS, in 1789, was the first university to be established in English Canada. The College was the first to accept and graduate students, to receive a charter, and is the oldest English-speaking Commonwealth university outside the United Kingdom.

But before the King’s College of Windsor came to be, there had already been one King’s College in the New World. Founded by King George II in New York in 1756, the school’s short life ended with the American Revolution, and the old King’s was later reorganized as Columbia University.

Anglican Loyalists who moved to Nova Scotia in the wake of the Revolution, some of whom who had strong connections with the old King’s, founded the University of King’s College in Windsor. The College then received its Royal Charter from King George III in 1802, and remained in Windsor until 1920. That year, a fire ravaged King’s, burning its main building to the ground, raising the question of how or if the College was to survive.

King’s was determined to carry on, and so accepted the terms of a generous grant from the Carnegie Foundation of New York to rebuild not in Windsor but in Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, entering into association with Dalhousie University. Under this agreement, King’s agreed to pay the salaries of a number of Dalhousie professors, who in turn would help in the management and academic life of the College. Students at King’s would also study at Dalhousie and have access to all of the amenities of the larger school, and the academic programs at King’s (except for Divinity) would fold into the College of Arts and Sciences at Dalhousie.


The King’s gym offers one of the best free-floating hardwood surfaces in Nova Scotia, ideal for varsity athletics, intramural sports and student free-time use. With the College’s expanded facilities and access to Dalplex, King’s students can also enjoy excellent exposure to top-notch fitness and recreational activities.

For the varsity athlete, King’s offers an opportunity to combine the pursuit of academic excellence with an equal commitment to excelling in sport. The varsity sports currently at the University of Kings’s College include: rugby, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and badminton.

For those who are passionate about sport, but favour camaraderie over competition, King’s has an active intramural program.

The College’s intramural program is available to all students, and is complemented by our agreement with Dalhousie’s Department of Athletics & Recreation. At King’s, we offer basketball, indoor soccer and badminton, and Dalhousie provides soccer (astro-turf), flag football, ultimate frisbee, softball, beach volleyball, inner-tube water polo, tennis and ball hockey.

Kings Amateur Athletic Association (KAAA, aka CUBE) is one of the College’s oldest societies. Open to all students of all skill levels, CUBE encourages a healthy lifestyle, companionship and fun over competition and winning. Taking place every Tuesday and Thursday night in the King’s gymnasium, students of all years can participate in the nightly activity. Tuesday night soccer is a sure thing, and has attracted crowds for many years, while Thursday sees a rotation of sports from basketball and floor hockey to a few wild dodgeball nights.

Student Housing

King’s is able to provide residence accommodation for 274 students. Residence is open throughout the academic year (September to April), except during the December holiday period. Three residence environments are available: co-ed, all male and all female, with each accounting for approximately one third of our residence space.

Our residence accommodations are largely double rooms, which the majority of our students tend to prefer. A limited number of single rooms are available, generally reserved for upper-year students. First year students are not offered single rooms, except on medical grounds, with appropriate documentation.

All students living in residence have access to Prince Hall for dining services and can choose between three different plans (some restrictions apply). Students also have access to common kitchens, TV lounges, computer labs, and on-campus fitness facilities.

Student Life

Despite our intense academic focus, tired mornings at King’s aren’t just a result of late nights deep in one of the Great Books. The College is committed to blending the intellectual and social and so the King’s experience continues long after your last class or tutorial.

The various academic programmes regularly host evening lectures and seminars, events that complement current students’ curriculum, as well as encourage alumni—and the general public—to engage in fascinating and often timely topics. Lectures are frequently paired with receptions on campus, tradition-rich get-togethers that are lubricated with sips of wine (or sherry), nibbles of cheese and conversations with your peers and professors alike.

The King’s Theatrical Society keeps the Pit alive over the academic year, presenting an ample season of productions that place our talented students—from actors to producers to directors—centre stage. Students also pour their fair share of life into the Wardroom, our campus bar, with everything from Microbrewery Mondays to Retro Nights to Sunday evening Study Snacks.

In residence, the longstanding tradition of Bay Parties is still going strong, and another event with history, Formal Meal, brings current students together in Prince Hall every month for a meal enriched with Latin graces, academic gowns and special guests.

Keep your finger on the campus pulse by checking the Life on Campus event listings.

Want to see and learn more about the University of King’s College? Take a Virtual Tour.

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