A Spirited and High-Quality Learning Environment
Founded in 1966, the University of Calgary (UCalgary) is a global intellectual hub in Canada’s most enterprising city. Students thrive in programs enriched by research, hands-on learning and entrepreneurial thinking.
“A can-do spirit and a sense of purposeful curiosity permeates everything we do,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, the university’s president and vice-chancellor. “We’re trailblazers at heart, innovators by necessity and community builders by nature because it’s in our DNA. We see potential in testing boundaries where others balk at challenges, and we know how to integrate diverse perspectives to create new breakthroughs.”
Immersed in an environment that supports learning and discovery, students can reach and exceed their potential. Through experiential learning and transdisciplinary collaboration, students are encouraged to follow the university’s campaign and Start something.
Over the past decade, UCalgary has climbed global rankings and now sits among the top-rated Canadian doctoral universities. It is currently ranked in the top 250 of more than 25,000 universities globally, putting it in an elite class. The university has also been ranked among Canada’s top 10 research universities, as well as the No. 1 sport-science school in North America, No. 3 for graduate student funding, and No. 4 for faculty funding among U15 research universities in Canada. Shanghai Ranking Academy also placed UCalgary No. 10 among sport-science schools globally.
For the second year in a row, UCalgary has maintained its No. 1 rank as the top startup creator among research universities in Canada (per the Association of University Technology Managers), reinforcing its reputation as Canada’s entrepreneurial university.
“The University of Calgary is a destination for those who are motivated to action and want to move their ideas toward implementation,” says McCauley. “By breaking down silos, fostering partnerships in research and focusing on problem-solving, UCalgary distinguishes itself as a place where you can truly Start something.”
Student Life on Campus
Based in northwest Calgary, the third most-liveable city in the world according to The Economist, with a view of the Rocky Mountains and an hour’s drive from Banff National Park, the University of Calgary offers an engaging student experience. Calgary is one of the safest major cities in Canada, while also serving as a national energy and innovation hub, with the most corporate head offices per capita in the country. Students have access to progressive and sustainable spaces to network and build creative collaborations. With the main campus minutes away from bustling downtown Calgary, UCalgary makes participating in local culture and community easily accessible.
UCalgary is also continuously investing in its campus experience through the construction and modification of buildings that enhance the student experience and positively impact the environment. Whether it’s the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, Hunter Student Commons, or its newest addition, Mathison Hall, there is a place for every student to explore their passions. “In the past decade, we have enhanced our focus on student experience and seen dramatic increases in student satisfaction,” says McCauley.
As measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), UCalgary’s student satisfaction rate has steadily climbed over the past 10 years. Most recently, 78 per cent of first-year students rate their experience as good or excellent, three points above other top research universities. There has been a 25.2-per cent increase in undergraduate degrees awarded annually (2017 – 2022) and 55 per cent more graduate degrees awarded annually (2017 – 2022).
The university saw higher engagement scores than other top research universities in nearly all categories. UCalgary also has a 94-per cent postgraduation employment rate.
Furthermore, UCalgary also offers supports for international students, with social events to connect international and domestic peers; family programming to connect with relatives, including guidance for enrolling students’ children in local kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education; and an international adviser in the Student Success Centre to help students transition to a Canadian classroom environment or prepare their resumé or CVs for job applications. Additionally, immigration advisers are available to students needing assistance related to study, work permits, and visas for themselves and their families.
Unique Research Facilities Attract International Students
UCalgary’s numerous state-of-the-art research facilities and institutes are a big draw for students outside of Canada. “The University of Calgary advantage provides international students with hands-on learning, ample research opportunities, world-class laboratories and sustainable buildings for a modern learning experience,” says McCauley.
Among these facilities is the International Microbiome Centre (IMC), a germ-free, 10,000-sq.-ft. research space designed to explore the microbiome of humans, plants, animals and the physical environment. The IMC is unique in Canada, with the capacity to study the healing power of the microbiome on a transdisciplinary scale.
The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is one of the principal research facilities within the University of Calgary’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. As one of Canada’s best-equipped astronomical teaching facilities, the RAO provides students with the opportunity to use research-grade telescopes, an integral part of the undergraduate astronomy curriculum. It also serves the community as a resource for science educators and as a catalyst for science education in Alberta.
UCalgary is home to the No. 1 sport-science school in North America and to the Olympic Oval, North America’s first covered speedskating rink, known as having The Fastest Ice in the World. In the Faculty of Kinesiology, students can study and advance in a range of sport-science research. And, as having one of Canada’s top athletic programs, it offers student-athletes world-class training, varsity sports and club sports.
In 2018, J.C. (Jack) Anderson and his daughter, Wynne Chisholm, donated a working cattle ranch, W.A. Ranches, to the University of Calgary, fundamentally transforming education and research at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM). The university operates the ranch for the purposes of teaching and learning, research, and community engagement.
Students and faculty across many disciplines benefit directly from access to a working ranch. The study of cattle in the complex, real-farm context will enable research that can improve management practices for ranchers, as well as academic programming that produces better veterinarians with more hands-on experience.
Programming Scholarships and Supports for International Students
Through UCalgary’s International Collaborative Programs, international students can now earn two degrees simultaneously — one from their university and another from UCalgary. The transition to UCalgary is facilitated by the university’s pre-arrival program that educates new students about the curricula and provides support during their studies. International student orientations and mentorship programs provide additional opportunities for students to connect with each other and with mentors. This helps build bonds that follow students throughout their academic programs and beyond.
Students and staff from more than 160 countries come to UCalgary to share ideas and perspectives. With its refreshed Global Engagement Plan, the university is focused on increasing the diversity of the campus community, improving global and intercultural capacity, and enhancing global partnerships. One of the ways UCalgary is activating this plan is by creating and investing in student awards and bursaries to reduce financial barriers and increase access to education.
Overall, UCalgary has CAD$175.3-million in awards available for students in financial need as of 2020-2021, a CAD$38-million increase since 2018. The university has also nearly tripled its Indigenous student awards since 2015, with more than CAD$3-million disbursed in 2021-2022.
There are specific awards for international students, too, including an International Entrance Award for prospective international individuals coming directly from high school. CIBC also offers an International Entrance Award for incoming international high school students. Students entering professional undergraduate programs in medicine or law, for example, are eligible for entrance awards specific to their professional program. The Pathways to Medicine scholarship; Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP Entrance Scholarship; or the Faculty of Law Undergraduate Award of Excellence for Indigenous, Black and Racialized Persons are a few examples of awards offered.
Research at UCalgary Includes Entrepreneurial Training
In the past decade, UCalgary has climbed the national research rankings — leading to more community investment and more opportunities for its faculty and students.
Since 2017, UCalgary research funding from the Canada Research Chairs program has risen by 16 per cent, with a further 16-per cent increase in allotment announced in the most recent national distribution. UCalgary has been consistently ranked among Canada’s top research universities in sponsored-research income, including more than CAD$117.8-million in Tri-Council research funding in 2021, a 64-per cent increase from 2011. Additionally, funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has more than doubled over the last 10 years.
Research excellence thrives at UCalgary. The number of scholarly publications at UCalgary grew by 50 per cent between 2011, and 2021 and can be credited to the institution’s entrepreneurial approach to research, which sparks bold health, energy and social innovations. Researchers at the Cumming School of Medicine are collaborating globally to show how vaccines can be used to treat high-risk cancers in kids. In addition, a CAD$25-million gift from the Azrieli Foundation is driving neurodevelopmental research, improving the lives of kids, teens and adults.
UCalgary is advancing medical technology. Researchers in UCVM have a developed a method for 3D-printing living tissue to treat diabetes. As well, a Calgary-based company has developed a new blood test for breast cancer based on UCalgary biomedical engineering research discoveries.
In addition, UCalgary’s New Earth-Space Technologies Research Strategy has been paying dividends such as unprecedented advances in sensors, platforms and systems. Having flown scientific instruments on more than 20 space missions, and with instruments currently in orbit on four satellites, UCalgary is Canada’s most space-active university, building next-generation instruments to research Aurora Imaging riometers across a network in northern Canada as part of the international LAMP mission (Loss through Auroral Microburst Pulsations) led by NASA. Some equipment pioneered at UCalgary, such as a platform to grow heart organoids, was even used by NASA for a recent mission.
Encouraging Innovation, Creativity and Diversity in Students
From its Distinguished Writers Program to its School of Creative and Performing Arts, UCalgary encourages students to engage in and unleash their creativity. UCalgary has a multidisciplinary approach where diversity is a strength. UCalgary arts students are learning everything from speaking the vocabulary of ancient languages, mastering Earth-space technologies, and choreographing exquisite dance performances, to exploring ways to address climate change. UCalgary nursing and social work students are creating outreach support to help the homeless. Architecture students partner with The City of Calgary and business-improvement areas to make the downtown area safer and more engaging for everyone.
“We do critical and creative research that engages communities and fosters innovation, leadership and artistry,” says McCauley.
UCalgary’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
For two years running, UCalgary has been ranked the top startup creator among Canadian research institutions. According to the Association of University Technology Managers’ 2020 and 2021 rankings, the university leads in knowledge-transfer, from research to commercialization.
Over the past decade, the university increased its number of new inventions, disclosures and patent applications by 75 per cent. Students, faculty and staff are trained to think like entrepreneurs, and UCalgary provides space for companies and startups to work alongside students and researchers.
By creating an innovation ecosystem that links groundbreaking research and community impact, UCalgary continually remains at the forefront of exciting new discoveries across many of its programs. From engineering and computer science to medicine, quantum science, arts, law and business, the university offers more than 250 programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Entrepreneurial thinking is embedded into programming, with a focus on obtaining the most impactful results for the benefit of the community.
Examples of this include the recently expanded Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. The program trains students, faculty, staff and the larger community in entrepreneurial thinking and innovation to effect positive change in the economy and transform ideas from conception toward impact. Innovate Calgary serves as a central innovation hub for UCalgary researchers to patent their discoveries in the first step towards commercialization. Research-intensive companies can access the university’s Life Sciences Innovation Hub to further develop their commercially viable products and services.
To help these new ventures get started, UCalgary has developed UCeed, a unique seed-funding program to catalyze research-based startups by providing bridge funding to new ventures looking to expand. In addition, graduate and postdoctoral scholars with innovative research ideas in the fields of ag-tech, energy evolution, health care and others have access to Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies (CDL-Rockies) through the Haskayne School of Business. With mentorship from world-renowned experts, students can grow their technologies into new businesses with key support as part of this program, which led to a 154-per cent increase in the creation of startups between 2017 and 2022.
Programming that Looks to the Future while Building Impactful Partnerships
UCalgary is helping existing industries evolve through creative partnerships, such as the collaboration with tech giant, Mphasis. The goal is to build a new quantum computing sector in Alberta that will focus on nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, as well as quantum internet and biomedical engineering.
The new Quantum City hub will create approximately 500 to 1,000 jobs in the short-term, and 26,000 jobs by 2040. More than 300 UCalgary scholars are also involved in energy research, partnering with governments and businesses to test new ideas (e.g., potential in blue hydrogen production), apply novel solutions and develop applications at scale (e.g., hydrogen from bitumen).
UCalgary continues to develop future-focused academic programming to meet the needs of students now and into the future. “We’re incorporating choice and opportunity into higher education so UCalgary graduates can get employed, stay employed and employ people themselves,” says McCauley. “We elevate our learning platforms with practical career and volunteer experience and guide our students’ path with ample support and advice.”
UCalgary is where transformative research ignites life-changing global impact. It’s where leading minds connect to see a common vision come to fruition through transdisciplinary partnerships, true collaboration and mentorship. Here, bold ideas become movements. Here, you can Start something.
For More info: https://www.ucalgary.ca/