About Carleton

History

History

Carleton University’s roots as a non-denominational college supported in part by charitable donations from the Ottawa community make it unique among Ontario universities. Founded in 1942, Carleton was created in response to the need to help provide the young people in Ottawa, many of whom had taken on jobs to cope with the pressures of the Depression, with an opportunity to continue their formal education.

From its humble beginnings on Ottawa’s First Avenue, Carleton has grown into a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of anticipating and leading change. Today, the university sits on more than 100 acres, on a site between the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal, just a short distance from downtown Ottawa. The university provides an excellent education and experience to its more than 24,000 full- and part-time students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its more than 875 academic staff are recognized internationally for their scholarship and cutting-edge research in more than 50 disciplines.

Carleton’s reputation is built on its strengths in the fields of journalism, public affairs, international affairs, architecture and high technology. Its students benefit from the interdisciplinary, active, hands-on approach to teaching and research practiced by its faculty members and from the numerous partnerships the university has with the federal government, other universities and private sector partners.

Carleton campus

Currently, the university has more than 850 research projects underway in all five of its academic faculties. In recent years Carleton’s research funding has grown exponentially, allowing the university to strengthen its research culture and continue to lead the way in fields such as health, digital media, sustainability and the environment, and globalization.

In the 1960s, Carleton became a provincial institution relying on government grants to cover its operating and capital costs. As the university continued to grow, graduate enrolment increased and new graduate and undergraduate programs in economics, science, engineering and computer science expanded the areas of study open to Carleton’s students.

Throughout its history Carleton has always emphasized its connections to the community, both in Ottawa, across Canada and around the world. From projects that focus on outreach to Aboriginal communities and student initiatives – such as Project Homeless Connect – to combat homelessnes, to Carleton’s Alternative Spring Break, which offers students the chance to take part in community service programs, and the Batawa Project – which involves students helping to rebuild the town of Batawa, ON, as a model of environmental sustainability, Carleton’s students, faculty and staff are helping to make a difference.


Carleton’s future promises to be as bright and exciting as its past. As we look ahead to Carleton’s 75th anniversary in 2017.