Free University-level courses at St. Mary’s University

Have you always wanted to attend university? Do you want to challenge yourself and open new doors to a bigger world? Newcomers to Canada and low-income Canadian citizens have an amazing opportunity to attend university-level courses at St. Mary’s University in south Calgary. Read on to find out more about these courses, and how to apply.

What is Humanities 101? 

Humanities 101 is a strength-based educational program designed to help low-income Calgarians address barriers getting in the way of realizing their capacities and skills. We learn about the stories that connect us to others and the world around us through studies in Literature, History, Music, Cultural Studies, Philosophy and Art History.

Participants in Humanities 101 learn how to increase their capacity to engage in a life reflective of their unique gifts and abilities, while deepening their skills of learning, communicating and analysis. We meet in a university classroom two days a week for four months and study a variety of texts and ideas.

Teachers and tutors are passionate about learning and create a profoundly safe and welcoming space where adults with a diverse range of life and educational experiences are all welcome.

The program includes:

  • Tuition and books
  • Nutritious hot lunches before class
  • Transit tickets as required
  • Assistance with childcare costs as required
  • Instructors’ fees
  • Individual tutoring
  • Cultural experiences
  • Administrative costs

St. Mary’s University 

St. Mary’s commitment to ethics, social justice and respect for diversity makes St. Mary’s an ideal site to foster the capacities of the non-traditional learners of Humanities 101. 

What Humanities 101 students have said about their experience:

“I can condense my experience through the humanities program into two words ‘Thank You,’ it changed my life. I came to the Humanities program feeling deflated and alone, I left energized, encouraged and empowered. I felt at home and built community.”

“Humanities 101 has immensely positively radicalized me. It made me realized that I can do things, which I thought I was not capable of after being out of school for ages. The camaraderie among the professors and classmates is one that is hard to leave behind.”

How to Apply

Application forms are available on the St. Mary’s University web site at:


  • At least 18 years of age
  • Reading, writing, and comprehension level of at least grade 8 or a CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) score of level 7
  • Low-Income
  • Have experienced barriers to education
  • Ready, willing and able to complete weekly course readings, do weekly assignments, and attend all classes two afternoons a week.

For more information, contact the Program Coordinator at or call 403-254-3713

This article courtesy of our partners at St. Mary’s University.