Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading Canadian university known for academic excellence and a culture that inspires lives of leadership and purpose. With approximately 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Laurier has a distinct commitment to teaching, research and scholarship combined with a strong student focus, high levels of student satisfaction and a deep sense of community. The university is a leader in integrated and engaged learning, which connects academic programming to co-curricular activities. Laurier specializes in arts and social sciences, business and economics, music, science, social work, education and theology. The university has campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, as well as locations in Kitchener, Toronto and Chongqing, China. Laurier was established as the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada in 1911 and remains the home of the affiliated Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
Laurier’s research strengths address current issues of societal importance, including the environment; governance and policy; health and well-being; culture and society; and economics, markets and management. The university’s 25 research centres and institutes include: the Cold Regions Research Centre; the Laurier Institute for Water Science; the Centre for Women in Science; the Laurier Centre for Community Research, Learning, and Action; the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy; and the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Nine of Laurier’s 26 research chairs are Canada Research Chairs.
Laurier has established a reputation for community involvement and engagement. The university’s researchers collaborate with other institutions nationally and internationally as well as with industry, government and community partners. Laurier maintains a number of formal research partnerships, including: a 10-year environmental research partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories; a partnership in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium with eight other postsecondary institutions; a partnership in the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) where Laurier’s School of International Policy and Governance is housed; and serving as host institution for a third five-year term for the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS).
Laurier’s growth and innovation, combined with its energetic, research-focused faculty, are key factors that attract students to Laurier to pursue their research interests. At Laurier, students at both the undergraduate and the graduate level have the opportunity to participate in research through thesis work or research assistantships.
Laurier students are encouraged to volunteer in the community to gain additional life skills, and have many opportunities through fieldwork, placements, practica, co-op and the Community Service-Learning program, which partners more than 2,000 students each year with more than 300 community agencies. Laurier was the first university in Canada to formally recognize the benefits of volunteer and leadership activities by offering students a Co-Curricular Record, a documentation of all their extracurricular involvement that is provided at the end of their studies to complement their academic transcript.
Laurier’s Waterloo campus offers a broad range of full- and part-time graduate and undergraduate degree programs through seven faculties: Arts, Music, Science, Education, Social Work, Graduate Studies and the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. The university’s highly regarded cooperative education program offers options in Arts, Science and Business.
With its core program in Brantford Foundations, students at Laurier’s Brantford campus acquire specific skills needed for research in the humanities and social sciences, and develop the ability to think critically about the ideas that have shaped the contemporary western world. Laurier’s Brantford campus is home to the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Liberal Arts. The campus is a leader in new and innovative programs, including the new BFAA in Game Design and Development, and the new combined BA/LLB program, offered in partnership with Sussex University in the United Kingdom.
Laurier has more than 1,500 graduate students in more than 40 graduate programs across four locations: Waterloo, Kitchener, Brantford and Toronto. Laurier prides itself on offering a collaborative and supportive student-faculty relationship and equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in their professional and personal life. Two of Laurier’s newer graduate programs include an MA in Community Music and an MA in Social Justice & Community Engagement, which continue to build on Laurier’s strength in integrated and engaged learning with community placements and community service-learning.
For years, Laurier has been a leader in social entrepreneurship and social innovation education. Laurier is part of a global network of universities that support one another in making the world a better place. Laurier’s unparalleled entrepreneurship and social innovation experience includes a wide range of courses and support services, active student clubs, and high-impact co-curricular programs.
This focus was recognized in 2016 when Laurier was named a “Changemaker Campus” by Ashoka U – a prestigious designation that signifies Laurier’s status as a global leader in social entrepreneurship and social innovation education.
In an effort to educate engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world, Laurier strives to be a leader in international education and scholarship. As part of its internationalization efforts, Laurier welcomes over 1,000 students from more than 80 countries each year through its degree visa, international exchange programs and distance education programs.
In addition to the mainstays of Laurier’s international programming – which include a tailored orientation week, the mentorship and English for Academic Purposes programs, social activities and overall assistance with cultural adaptation – further enhancements have been made with the launch of the Global Engagement Strategy. As part of the strategy, International Academic Mobility, Intercultural Competency Development and International@Home have become central programming foci, aimed at providing foundational knowledge and experiences that foster truly globalized students. These programs offer students opportunities to learn from visiting scholars, pursue degree-related exchanges, increase their intercultural competencies and engage with international students from around the world.
Succeed in Canada is a comprehensive support program that ensures international and new Canadian students are welcomed and positioned to succeed. This program begins in year one with a lens to orientation, academic foundation, peer mentoring and integration, and continues as students progress through their years at Laurier and beyond graduation, with supports dedicated to work and further study.
Laurier continues to provide immersive and experiential learning opportunities for students to travel, study and work abroad by participating in exchanges, field courses, summer programs and internship and co-op experiences.
Laurier also offers bilateral and consortium exchange agreements with institutions in 25 countries. Laurier also continues to operate a China Office in Chongqing that serves as a central support for academic initiatives with nine Chinese university partners.
On Oct. 30, 1911, the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada opened its doors in Waterloo. Waterloo College School was established in 1914 for pre-theological education, and the Waterloo College of Arts was established in 1924 to provide a four-year, postsecondary education program. A year later, the Faculty of Arts, under the name Waterloo College, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. Waterloo College’s affiliation with the University of Western Ontario ended in 1960 when the Seminary obtained a revised charter that gave degree-granting rights to both the Seminary and the university, and the university became Waterloo Lutheran University. On Nov. 1, 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University became a provincially funded university under the name Wilfrid Laurier University. The Brantford campus opened in September 1999.
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