Université du Québec à Rimouski

The Université du Québec à Rimouski (commonly referred to as UQAR) is a public university located in Rimouski, Quebec, Canada with a campus in Lévis. Founded in 1969 as a satellite campus of the Université du Québec, UQAR provides access to higher education for the people of Bas-Saint-Laurent and the Gaspé Peninsula. It is the furthest north of any university in Québec. UQAR's programs include multidisciplinary research in marine science, regional development, and nordicity. Approximately 6,500 students attend the university.[2] While most UQAR students are from eastern Québec, students also enroll from the countries of the Francophonie.[3] Over 40,000 students have graduated since it opened in 1969.[4]

University of Quebec at Rimouski (Université du Québec à Rimouski)
RectorMichel Ringuet
Academic staff
180 professors on campus + 300 lecturers, 50 distance learning professors[1]
Administrative staff
Location, ,
CampusUrban(Lévis and Rimouski) and Distance learning
Ultramarine Blue     


Founded by Angela Merici in Italy in 1535, the Ursulines were the first Catholic religious order of nuns to arrive in the New World. Taking as their mission the education of girls, the Ursulines established schools and colleges throughout North America. The first Ursuline monastery opened in Rimouski in 1906, on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.[5] The building housing the monastery burned down in 1937 but was rebuilt the following year.

Religious and community leaders first proposed establishing a university in Rimouski in the 1930s. By the 1950s, the Seminaire de Rimouski had begun offering postsecondary level courses in partnership with Université Laval.[6] Following the onset of the Quiet Revolution in Québec, postsecondary access expanded in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. The Parent Commission report established that Québec's citizens were entitled to full educational opportunities at all levels.[7] Implementing the report's recommendations necessitated secularizing the province's educational system, which had largely been run by religious organizations.[7] An act creating the Université du Québec was passed by the provincial legislative assembly in 1968. One year later, the Université du Québec à Rimouski opened on the grounds of the former monastery of the Ursulines of Quebec.

The university opened a second campus in Lévis, in Québec's capital region in 1980 and operates extension centres in Gaspé and Rivière-du-Loup.[2] The university's athletics teams are known as the Nordet,[8] a French word used to refer to a northeasterly wind (and a reference to UQAR's location in Québec).[9]

Today, UQAR is a mid-sized university of approximately 6,500 students. While it draws students primarily from Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie, its research in marine science, regional development, and nordicity attract students from both Québec and the wider Francophonie. Most UQAR students opt to stay in the region after graduation.[4] UQAR has concluded agreements with postsecondary institutions and research centres in over 20 countries,[10] for scholarly exchanges, joint research activities, and other academic programs.

UQAR also works in partnership with the university-affiliated Institut des Sciences de la Mer (ISMER). A study published by the independent firm Research Infosource concluded that UQAM had experienced the fastest growth in research funding and activity of any Québec university. Over a ten-year period from 1999 to 2009, UQAR's research funding increased from $3.8 million to $17.4 million.[4]

The campus student population at UQAR-Lévis is now nearly half of the university's total enrollment.[4]

2009 fire

During the night of May 14, 2009, at approximately 1:30, the fire alarm system was triggered and reported by the on-duty Rimouski campus security agent while at the same time smoke was spotted by patrolmen from the Sûreté du Québec passing by. The fire resulted in a general alarm for the Rimouski fire department, prompting assistance from the fire departments of Bic and St-Anaclet. By mid-day, the fire was contained and mostly put out. It resulted in the destruction of the main wing's belfry as well as major fire damage to the roof and water damage to the floors below.

The affected wing houses procurement and printing services, student's services, the student's bookstore, the rector's and vice-rectors offices, finances and human resources as well as classes and working spaces of graduate students. The university's geography department uses the classes located on the 5th floor, directly under the fire-damaged part of the building, and the offices located directly under the collapsed belfry are occupied by researchers. Many graduate students are also working on the 5th floor.

The damage was estimated at the time at least $3 million.[11]

Programs of study

UQAR offers academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including accounting, business, arts, computer science, biology, chemistry, social development, elementary education, ethics, electrical and mechanical engineering,[12] secondary education, history, literature, Maritime Resource Management, MBA, nursing, oceanography, personnel management, project management, psychosociology and social change.

Main areas of research include Nordicity, regional development, and marine sciences at the ISMER.

Notable faculty

See also

Further reading

  • Ferretti, Lucia. L'Université en réseau: les 25 ans de l'Université du Québec. Sainte-Foy: Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1994.


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