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St. Thomas University: The small university that fulfills big dreams

Mary-Dan Johnston is going to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, with a value in excess of $100,000. She is the third St. Thomas University student in the past eight years to be selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

St. Thomas University, located in New Brunswick, Canada, has been making a big impact at the undergraduate level – all while staying small. 

The undergraduate, Liberal Arts University has a full-time enrolment of 2,400 and has been attracting students from across the world because of its small size. 

In fact, the institution has just sent one of its graduates, Mary-Dan Johnston, to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, with a value in excess of $100,000.

“I’ve had an immense amount of support from the faculty at St. Thomas and for that I am eternally grateful. I can’t imagine having come to this point without their guidance, encouragement and their believing in me,” says Johnston.

Johnston is the third St. Thomas University student in the past eight years to be selected as a Rhodes Scholar. Annually, the university acknowledges excellence by offering entrance and continuing scholarships and awards to its students with a value in excess of $1.3 million.

With many universities growing larger and larger, St. Thomas University (STU) has been focusing its resources on smaller class sizes.

The university focuses entirely on creating a tight-knit community that offers its students guidance, as well as a safe and comfortable environment, both personally and professionally.

An average-sized class at STU has about 31 students with a maximum of 60 students. These intimate class sizes help foster great professor-student relationships.

This is a huge relief for students such as Dijonna Brookes, who want to get the most out of their undergraduate degree. Born and raised in the United States, studying in Canada has shown Brookes that even with countries so close, there are many positive cultural differences between universities from different countries.

“Class sizes are relatively small in comparison to most universities, and so the professors get to know the students on a much more personal level. That makes for a more interactive learning environment that allows the students to be more involved,” says Brooks.

STU has a reason to boast about its small size because of the many benefits that originate from it. By staying exclusive to the undergraduate level, students can benefit from professor research and assistant opportunities that cannot be found at larger institutions. 

More importantly, its small size means it is able to maintain an experienced and knowledgeable full-time faculty, 99 per cent of whom have PhDs. This allows students to interact with experts in their fields who prioritize student research and learning teaching.

“As classes began, all my professors could easily be described as accommodating. They are more than willing to make time to answer my questions about a certain topic or simply discuss that topic further even if I can’t do so during their office hours,” says Brooks.

It also creates a learning-based community that allows for more student opportunities at study options, extracurricular programs and safer environments.

Internationally, STU has been growing in popularity because students are looking for a small, safe environment that embraces all cultures.

Ryan Sullivan is the Director of International Recruitment at STU and speaks with many students from across the world every day. Sullivan has travelled several times in recent months to engage in outreach activities South Asia. His experience has shown him that STU has become a crucial stepping stone for growth so students from across the globe can prosper as a result of their liberal arts education.


“STU is an amazing opportunity for students who seek a first-class education that prepares them to be active and thoughtful citizens of whatever community they belong to.” 

Many students come to STU with heavy ambitions, which is why Sullivan feels STU is the perfect fit for them.

“Graduates from St. Thomas have a huge number of options for employment or future education. We’ve had countless graduates go on to law school, graduate school and even medical school.”

In fact, STU is the only undergraduate university that focuses exclusively on liberal arts in Canada. It offers a wide variety of programs designed to provide its students with an education that will prepare them for the future. Programs include Economics, English Literature, Fine Arts, Psychology, Journalism and Communications, Human Rights, International Relations, and many more. All programs are relevant to pursuing future graduate or professional studies programs or entering today’s job market.

The 103-year-old institution is focused on keeping that strong educational environment for its students. Brooks is one of these students, and she has experienced that personal growth as a result of the atmosphere in which she was surrounded by coming to STU. 

“Since travelling across the border I have found the environment at St. Thomas embodies everything I could have wanted in a university and more. I am truly happy with my decision to attend STU and will never regret it.” 

                                                                                                                – Andrew Lockhart

To find out more about studying in Canada, visit www.canada123.org.

Posted: May 1, 2013

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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