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Taking you to school

A cheeky breakdown of the SuperCity’s academic institutions.

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Atlantic School of Theology

Primarily a grad school, AST— which is “committed to excellence in graduate level theological education and research and in formation for Christian ministries, lay and ordained, in church and society, primarily in Atlantic Canada”—also has degree programs for people without a full undergrad degree (though you need five credits or at least a year under your, er, robe) and for people without any post-secondary education at all (a high school diploma may serve as qualification for a certificate in theology and ministry). Quietly located in a beautiful nook of the south end, AST tends to keep to itself. This year the area served as a location on the shoot for the Martha Stewart TV movie, giving the place a little ooh-la-la. Established: 1971Damage: $440 per grad course, $350 per certificate “element” Campus bar: N/AReputation: Pretty much non-existentMovie AST thinks it is: The Dangerous Lives of Altar BoysMovie AST actually is: Keeping the FaithFight song: Anything by Amy Grant

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie plays host to thousands of aspiring doctors, dentists, actors and philosophers each year. Sprawling about the south end of Halifax, Dal students travel, often by car, from all over creation to the long arm of the campus. Dalhousie borders King’s College, and sometimes you don’t know which campus is which. The Dalhousie Arts Centre, more commonly referred to as The Cohn, is home to many music and stage events throughout the year, while the McInnes Room is usually good for a rock concert or two. The Dal theatre department runs shows during the academic year, and into the summer as a boatload of Dal students join the cast of Shakespeare by the Sea. The campus just went non-smoking but since it’s so big it shouldn’t be too hard to cross the street and light up.Established: 1818Damage: $5,320 (tuition for one year of an arts or social sciences degree)Campus bar: The GrawoodReputation: Smart, snooty, wealthyMovie Dal thinks it is: Dead Poets SocietyMovie Dal actually is: The SkullsFight song: Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger”

King’s College

Though King’s offers your standard university fare due to its Dalhousie sisterhood—and its Foundation Year Programme (or FYP, pronounced “fip”)—it is primarily known as a breeding ground for journalists. King’s resides in the south end of Halifax, literally spitting distance from Dal, and both schools get along quite nicely, thanks. Coast columnist Bruce Wark teaches at the school between rants, and (with Dal) King’s runs an independent film society that holds a gala screening each year. The last few years they’ve been going digital, with mixed results.Established: 1789Damage: $6,638 (journalism), $594 per half-credit (science, honours journalism), $522 per half-credit (arts)Campus bar: The WardroomReputation: The journalism schoolMovie King’s thinks it is: All the President’s MenMovie King’s actually is: Waking LifeFight song: Stereophonics, “Mr.Writer”

Mount Saint Vincent University

Smack dab between Halifax and Lower Sackville, across the way from the Bedford Basin, is MSVU, AKA The Mount. While the school has a strong undergrad program, it is primarily known for women’s studies and education (and, yes, its high female-to-male student ratio). The Mount is further away from downtown Halifax than any other SuperCity school, and the buses are usually packed. Making friends with someone who has a vehicle is a smart thing to do—being stuck on the Bedford Highway in a snowstorm is for suckers.Established: 1873Damage: $915 per credit unit (undergrad)Campus Bar: Vinnie’s PubReputation: Every night is ladies nightMovie MSVU thinks it is: Erin BrockovichMovie MSVU Actually Is: The HoursFight song: Beastie Boys, “Hey Ladies”

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

NSCAD is one of Canada’s premier art schools, and the students won’t let you forget it. Placed prominently on the waterfront, NSCAD’s presence in Historic Properties does not go unnoticed. The school is home to the Anna Leonowens Gallery, named after one of its co-founders, and an art supply store on campus. NSCAD offers courses in everything to do with the arts, from painting to photography to sculpture, and weekly non-degree courses are open to the public and readily available. And it was just given a building to house its film school, something that’s been a long time coming and anticipated. Established: 1887Damage: $1837.80/semester (nine credits), $2450.40/semester (12-15 credits)Campus Bar: The Split CrowReputation: The Snooty Art SchoolMovie NSCAD thinks it is: Frida Movie NSCAD actually is: PollockFight song: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Black Tongue”

Nova Scotia Community College

NSCC, with its two metro campuses (Akerley, in Dartmouth, and Bell Road in Halifax), can also lay claim (and they do so with vigour and well-deserved pride) to the fact that three-quarters of its graduates end up with jobs in their chosen fields. Those fields are as diverse as applied boulanger and baking art, communication arts and three types of horticulture. Some university students look down upon those at NSCC, but they’re just pissed that they’re in school for twice as long, at 10 times the price, only to find out they want to do something completely different from what they majored in. Glass houses, people, glass houses.Established: 1988Damage: $2,250 (full-time core programs), $3,100 (full-time advanced), $950 (general arts & science)Campus bar: The Idiot (Halifax), Ralph’s (Dartmouth)Reputation: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!Movie NSCC thinks it is: Good Will HuntingMovie NSCC actually is: ClerksFight song: George Thorogood, “Get A Haircut (And Get A Real Job)”

Saint Mary’s University

Between Dalhousie and Point Pleasant Park lies one city block of SMU, with its well-worn football field and badly worn reputation. Known to some as “the jock school,” Saint Mary’s boasts many championship basketball, football and hockey teams. It is known throughout the province as a good place to get a commerce degree, and as an innovator on the world front with an extended student body residing in Gambia. Last year the student union successfully lobbied for the U-Pass, a $110 bus pass students can use for the entire academic year. A Metro Transit student bus pass is $51. A month. Do the math and lobby your union now!Established: 1802Damage: $4,941 (arts), $5,041 (science)Campus bar: The GorsebrookReputation: Robie Street HighMovie SMU thinks it is: Any Given SundayMovie SMU actually is: The Rules of AttractionFight song: Gary Glitter, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Part Two”

Originally published September 4, 2003.

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