Student Insider
by Peri McFarlane
November 8, 2022

NSCAD University: student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more

(Courtesy of NSCAD)

NSCAD University is one of the smallest of Nova Scotia’s degree-granting institutions, with approximately 900 students. Naturally, classes can get quite intimate, and you will never have to worry about getting lost in the crowd.

Getting lost in the school, however, is a different story. Our main campus, Fountain, is the by-product of 19 different historic buildings massed together into the semblance of a school, which we affectionately call Hogwarts. Our two historic campuses are ripe with bizarre little corners of inspiration, from hidden art installations to the most uplifting graffiti imaginable. And do not worry, our not-as-historic Port Campus is just as inspiring, with its tremendous views of the harbour and Georges Island.

While you won’t find much food or non-instant coffee at the campuses, all three are located within a two-kilometre circle of Halifax’s bustling downtown core. Students have 24-7 access to campus facilities for those creative types who prefer the night and for working on hard-to-move homework assignments.

The faculty is what truly makes NSCAD University so special. They will do anything to make sure your art is fully realized and innovative.

NSCAD is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people.

After Class

NSCAD University has three on-campus art galleries dedicated to showing the work of students and visiting artists. Each week the largest, the Anna Leonowens, has an opening reception, often with food and sometimes followed by karaoke at the Art Bar, which is surprisingly not a bar. This is a wonderful time to start working on your social skills and networking with a large portion of the art community in Halifax. Attending gallery openings is the absolute fastest way to understand NSCAD’s community and how we define art. As for student services, NSCAD University offers counselling services and peer mentors if you just need to talk.

Local Vibe

The school’s vibe is incredibly hard to narrow down and tends to vary based on the campus, the floor, the time of day, and department. One thing that stays consistent is that NSCAD students will do almost anything to help each other out—we’re all in this together. If it’s 3 a.m. and you just need a third hand, chances are someone will be around to help. Halifax as a whole has a sense of camaraderie. You can generally get help from community members by just saying, “Oh, I go to NSCAD.”

More Info

For all of your needs, follow @studentunionofnscad and @nscaduniversity on Instagram.

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Unofficial school motto: “Physics is limiting my creativity”

Best cheap eat: The Dill Pickle

Best hangover breakfast: Darrell’s Restaurant

Best place for a fancy meal: The Middle Spoon. Just make sure you have the secret password, you will look very cool.

Best pizza: You are in the Maritimes now. Forget pizza and get some of Freeman’s garlic fingers and donair sauce.

Best bar for hanging out: HopYard

Best place to live: Around Cogswell Street. Still close to downtown and public transit but a good distance from the louder universities.

Best place to study: For art history? The library.

Best place for a nap: The scrap fabric pile in fashions. Make sure you are hidden from security.

Best campus event: Weekly art openings at the Anna Leonowens Gallery

Best giveaway: Class materials. No really. It is a wonderful feeling.

What surprised me about the school: Stairs

If I could change one thing about the school: Stairs