University of Alberta

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University of Alberta is a Top 5 Canadian university and one of the Top 100 in the world, home to more than 500 graduate programs, 200 undergraduate programs and 450 active student groups.

he University of Alberta has had the vision to be one of the world’s great universities for the public good since its inception. This university is dedicated to the promise made by founding president Henry Marshall Tory that “… knowledge shall not be the concern of scholars alone. The uplifting of the whole people shall be its final goal.”

This vision endures as the university strives to improve the lives of people in Alberta, across Canada, and around the world.


The university motto, quaecumque vera, means “whatsoever things are true” and is taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 8, in the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible.


Within a vibrant and supportive learning environment, the University of Alberta discovers, disseminates, and applies new knowledge through teaching and learning, research and creative activity, community involvement, and partnerships. The U of A gives a national and international voice to innovation in our province, taking a lead role in placing Canada at the global forefront.


To inspire the human spirit through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery, and citizenship in a creative community, building one of the world’s great universities for the public good.

Aboriginal Acknowledgement

The University of Alberta acknowledges the traditional territory on which we stand and thanks the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps have marked this territory for centuries, such as: Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux.

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Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties


Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences

  • Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science
  • Devonian Botanic Garden
  • Forest Science and Management, Alberta School of
  • Human Ecology
  • Renewable Resources
  • Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology

Alberta School of Business

  • Accounting, Operations and Information Systems
  • Finance and Statistical Analysis
  • Marketing, Business Economics, and Law
  • Strategic Management and Organization


  • Anthropology
  • Art and Design
  • Community Service-Learning
  • Drama
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • English and Film Studies
  • History and Classics
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Women’s and Gender Studies

Augustana Campus

  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities
  • Science
  • Social Sciences

Campus Saint-Jean


  • Educational Policy Studies
  • Educational Psychology
  • Elementary Education
  • Library and Information Studies, School of
  • Secondary Education


  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering


  • Arts
  • Communications
  • Education
  • English Language School
  • Government Studies
  • Management
  • Master of Arts in Communications and Technology
  • Sciences

Graduate Studies and Research


Medicine & Dentistry

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Dentistry and Dental Hygiene
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  • Medical Genetics
  • Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging
  • Surgery

Native Studies


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Physical Education and Recreation

Rehabilitation Medicine

  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy

School of Public Health

  • Master of Public Health
  • MSc in Public Health
  • PhD in Public Health


  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
  • Physics
  • Psychology

St. Joseph’s College

St. Stephen’s College



The University of Alberta, a single, public provincial university, was chartered in 1906 in Edmonton, Alberta with the University Act in the first session of the new Legislative Assembly, with Premier Alexander C. Rutherford as its sponsor. The university was modelled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research. The governance was modelled on Ontario’s University of Toronto Act of 1906: a bicameral system consisting of a senate (faculty) responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) controlling financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and perform institutional leadership.

Heated wrangling took place between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton over the location of the provincial capital and of the university. It was stated that the capital would be north of the North Saskatchewan River and that the university would be in a city south of it. The city of Edmonton became the capital and the then-separate city of Strathcona on the south bank of the river, where Premier Alexander Rutherford lived, was granted the university. When the two cities were amalgamated in 1912, Edmonton became both the political and academic capital.

With Henry Marshall Tory as its first president, the University of Alberta started operation in 1908. Forty-five students attended classes in English, mathematics and modern languages, on the top floor of the Queen Alexandra Elementary School in Strathcona, while the first campus building, Athabasca Hall, was under construction. In a letter to Alexander Cameron Rutherford in early 1906, while he was in the process of setting up McGill University College in Vancouver, Tory wrote, “If you take any steps in the direction of a working University and wish to avoid the mistakes of the past, mistakes which have fearfully handicapped other institutions, you should start on a teaching basis.”

Under Tory’s guidance, the early years were marked by recruitment of professors and construction of the first campus buildings. Percy Erskine Nobbs & Frank Darling designed the master plan for the University of Alberta in 1909–10. Nobbs designed the Arts Building (1914–15), laboratories and Power House (1914). With Cecil S. Burgess, Nobbs designed the Provincial College of Medicine (1920–21). Architect Herbert Alton Magoon designed several buildings on campus, including St. Stephen’s Methodist College (1910) and the residence for professor Rupert C. Lodge (1913).

The University of Alberta awarded its first degrees in 1912, the same year it established the Department of Extension. The Faculty of Medicine was established the following year, and the Faculty of Agriculture began in 1915. But along with these early milestones came the First World War and the global influenza pandemic of 1918, whose toll on the university resulted in a two-month suspension of classes in the fall of 1918. Despite these setbacks, the university continued to grow. By 1920, it had six faculties (Arts and Sciences, Applied Science, Agriculture, Medicine, Dentistry, and Law) and two schools (Pharmacy and Accountancy). It awarded a range of degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Pharmacy (PhmB), Bachelor of Divinity (BD), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), and Doctor of Laws (LLD). There were 851 male students and 251 female students, and 171 academic staff, including 14 women.

The Breton Soil Plots were established at the faculty of agriculture from 1929 – present to provide agricultural research on fertilization, usage, crop rotations and farming practices on Gray-Luvisolic soils (Gray-Wooded), which cover many regions in western Canada.

The War Memorial Committee commissioned a War Memorial Pipe Organ to be erected by the Casavant Frères in U of A Convocation Hall in 1925 in memory of 80 University of Alberta comrades who gave up their lives during the Great War.

In the early part of the 20th century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced. In 1929, the university established a College of Education. This period of growth was to be short-lived, though, as the Great Depression and the Second World War curtailed enrolment and expansion until 1945. The university also gained new public powers. In 1928, the university’s senate was granted the power to oversee and appoint half of the Alberta Eugenics Board, charged with recommending individuals for sterilization.

Spurred by postwar growth in the student population and the discovery of oil in Leduc in 1947, the University of Alberta underwent expansion through the 1950s that continued through the 1960s as the baby-boom generation swelled the enrolment ranks. These two decades also saw expansion of campus buildings, including new buildings for the faculties of physical education and education, and the Cameron Library. The University of Alberta Press, concentrating on western Canadian history, general science and ecology, was founded in 1969.

The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society. In addition, the single-university policy in the West was changed as existing colleges of the provincial universities gained autonomy as universities. On September 19, 1960, the university opened a new 130-hectare campus in Calgary. By 1966, the University of Calgary had been established as an autonomous institution.

From the mid-1970s to the late 1980s, the university enjoyed sustained growth. In 1970, the Collège Saint-Jean began offering French-language instruction in arts, science and education. In 1984, the School of Native Studies was established. Buildings that had been started in the 1960s, such as Biological Sciences and the Central Academic Building, were completed in the early 1970s. Extensive renovations restored the venerable Arts Building, as well as the Athabasca and Pembina halls. New buildings completed in the early 1980s included the Business Building and the first phase of the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre. Another new building, the distinctive Universiade Pavilion (nicknamed the “Butterdome”), was completed as part of the university’s preparations to host the World University Games in 1983, the first time the event was held in North America.

The 1990s were a time of financial constraint as the Alberta government made budgetary cutbacks. but they were also a time in which the university benefited from philanthropic support. The $11-million Timms Centre for the Arts, which began construction in 1993, was made possible by a large donation from its namesake, Albert Timms. In 1998, Gladys Young’s $3.5-million donation to the university undergraduate scholarship fund in memory of Roland Young, who graduated from the U of A in 1928, was the largest private donation for undergraduate scholarships in the university’s history.

The early 2000s brought substantial funding increases. High energy prices drove Alberta’s energy boom resulting in multibillion-dollar government surpluses and the subsequent creation of a $4.5 billion provincial post-secondary educational endowment. In 2005, the university hired Indira Samarasekera as its 12th president, embarking on an ambitious plan to establish itself as one of the world’s top public research universities. These plans were hampered by the 2008 economic downturn, and by late March 2008, the university’s endowment had shrunk by more than $100 million, almost 14 per cent of its value. The university predicted a $59-million budget shortfall in 2009 before provincial cuts brought that figure to $79 million. To close the budgetary gap, the university increased non-instructional fees by $290 per year laid off teaching and support staff, and even eliminated phones in some departments (such as English and Film Studies).

The 2013 Alberta Budget cut provincial post-secondary grants by $147 million, including a 7.2 per cent cut to the university’s base operating grant. The university is covering its resulting shortfall by reducing total spending in 2013 by $28 million, then cutting an additional $56 million to balance its budget by the spring of 2015.

On April 26, a study group of students and teachers from the University of Alberta came to visit BNU-HKBU United International College and took part in a short-term study programme that lasted a fortnight.

The 2015 Alberta Budget released in October 2015 restored a 1.4 per cent cut to the U of A’s operational funding, and provided for an additional two per cent increase in the 2015-16 fiscal year. The budget also included a two-year tuition freeze. October also saw the launch of an institutional strategic planning process intended to prompt discussion and gather feedback on the university’s strategic priorities, with the goal of assuming a national leadership role in post-secondary education.

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