A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Houghton sounds like a “university” but your name says “college.”  What is the difference?

In the United States, the terms “college” and “university” have different meanings than in Canada. For example, both universities and colleges in the US offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, while a “college” in Canada typically denotes a trade school or a university-preparatory school (similar to “community college” in the U.S.). 

As Houghton College offers four-year bachelor’s degrees, we are akin to a university in Canada, although there are important key differences (our liberal arts curriculum and Christian commitment being two of the more prominent). Houghton College is fully accredited and nationally recognized.

What does it mean for Houghton to be a “liberal arts & sciences” college?

The term “liberal arts” describes a certain philosophy of education in which we seek to broaden the knowledge of each of our students while they specialize in a particular area. Our president says that we seek to “create whole people in a fragmented world.” We believe that the liberal arts, with its emphasis on exposing our students to courses and programs they may not have considered, is a great way to go about creating whole people in the diverse world that God has placed us in. 

Each student at Houghton will pick a major (some may pick two or even three). Along with that major, students will also take a variety of courses in literature, philosophy, Bible, religion, theology, art, music, the sciences and so forth. The liberal arts is about exploring connections between disciplines, and many students discover a passion for art, pre-med, philosophy, pre-law, or a variety of our 70 areas of study that they would not have known about otherwise. 

If you find yourself to be a person of diverse interests or still struggling to hone in on where exactly you feel led, the liberal arts approach is a great way to gain exposure to a variety of disciplines.

How is a degree from Houghton any different than one from a university in Canada?

Besides our liberal arts approach, we provide an inherently Christian education. We seek to be a community in which spiritual growth and dialogue integrates and develops along with preparation for going out into the world. We like to say that you will be challenged in your faith just as much as you will be in the classroom.

Houghton is known for our academic strength and unique programs, such as pre-med, education, intercultural studies, art and pre-law, to name a few.  For example, recent Canadian graduates have gone on to to medical schools at the University of Toronto, Dalhousie, the University of Texas, the University of Florida and many other schools in North America and abroad. An 85 percent placement rate into medical school is hard to match elsewhere. Students at Houghton can be assured of a top-notch education that will prepare them for that next step - whether it be as a teacher, doctor, business person, missionary, pastor or a combination thereof.

Finally, the community at Houghton is truly unique. When students visit, they are usually struck by the welcoming environment and by how approachable the other students, faculty and staff are. Learning and living in this environment where students can truly feel as though they are invested in as people and Christians adds an incredible value to a Houghton education.

Isn’t it more expensive to go to a university in the US?

At Houghton College, the “sticker price” is rarely the amount that students pay to attend. With roughly 90 percent of students receiving financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships and other aid, a Houghton education is not just for the elite few. 

Canadian students automatically qualify for a $4,000 reduction in tuition that renews each year (a total of $16,000 over four years). Combine this with an academic or other award, and many students find that the cost of attending a Canadian university compared to Houghton is not as different as they had thought. At the end of the day, however, we believe that a Houghton College education is worth every dollar and that your investment will pay off in the form of personal and spiritual development as a Christian and preparation for your future.   

I’ve heard the visa process is complicated.

The I-20 process is very straightforward. When you decide to enroll at Houghton College, you will be sent all of the appropriate paperwork for your visa application. We have an International Student Programs Office that assists you with the process of becoming a Houghton student. There will be an immigration workshop when you arrive on campus, and you’ll learn the ins and outs of immigration, crossing the border, studying outside of North America, and obtaining employment on campus.