Early Start Credits

The Early Start Credits (ESC) program provides an exciting opportunity for Grade 12 students registered in New Brunswick’s Anglophone high schools to select from a range of challenging courses and earn post-secondary credits in their final year of high school. ECS will provide a post-secondary experience online with classmates from a variety of places, with a variety of backgrounds, and sharing a variety of academic interests. Funding to offset the cost of the program is available to students in financial need. 

Small University | Big Opportunities

At STU, you will explore competing and controversial ideas in a supportive environment. We have welcomed grade 12 students looking to complete university-level coursework into our community for years.

 “Choosing to take two university classes while in 12th grade was undoubtedly the best decision I made while in high school. It allowed me to have a gradual transition into my post-secondary studies, begin to forge connections with professors, and explore disciplines I am passionate about.”
- Ashley Thornton
, BA ’22, Francis M. McLaughlin Scholarship Recipient

"The Early Start Credit Program was a great opportunity to experience a university class. It was challenging and helpful to participate in a STU Human Rights course. I found the experience to be welcoming and I would recommend it for any high school student interested in liberal arts."

- Lucy Nobes Lee, Fredericton High School, Class of 2022


 “It was a great experience that helped me get a first taste of what to expect when I attend university. It also helped me clarify my interest in economics - if I would not have taken the introductory course, I probably would not be studying this discipline. Ultimately, it gave me an opportunity to take on a new challenge from which I have learned a lot and that I am still grateful for today. I highly recommend taking part in it; you will not regret it.”
– Patrice Cammarano, BA ’22, Francis M. McLaughlin Scholarship Recipient

"Opportunities such as these allow you to not only be challenged academically, but to also be rewarded for hard work. I had a wonderful professor and the staff at STU were very kind, accommodating, and truly made this experience what it was. I think that if anyone ever has the chance to take the Early Start Credit Program at STU, they should."

- Owen Green, Hartland Community School, Class of 2022


 “Taking a university course in high school prepared me for my future university career, and it led me to fall in love with the small, yet beautiful, St. Thomas University. I learned so much about the subject area and myself! I took an introduction to gerontology course in my final year of high school. Now, I am majoring in gerontology and am the President of the Gerontology Society! Every decision you make opens up a world of possibilities; that is why taking the course was one of the best decisions I have made.”
- Robyn 
MacCara, BA ’24, President’s Scholarship Recipient

2023-2024 Course Offerings

First Semester

  • Courses start Wednesday, September 6, 2023 and end Thursday, December 7, 2023.  
  • Exams take place from Monday, December 11 to Saturday, December 16, 2023. 

Courses offered in the Early Start Credit program are asynchronous, online options, meaning that students can work away at the course material at times convenient to them throughout the week.

Semester 1 (September to December)

Introduction to Criminology 1013

This course is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of criminology: its origins, the nature of disciplinary debates, and a sampling of theoretical and methodological issues. It involves an examination of crime patterns, causes of criminal behaviour and crime prevention strategies. This course also introduces the student to core topics covered in electives in the second year: courts, young offenders, police, corrections, and victimology. This introductory course is a prerequisite for all upper-level courses.


Introduction to Psychology 1013

This course will introduce a variety of topics within psychology. Topics to be covered include research methods, history of psychology, brain and behaviour, sensation and perception, learning, memory, and cognition.


Introduction to Gerontology I013
This course explores aging from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics include myths and realities of aging; population aging globally and locally; the intersections of age with gender, ethnicity and class; the physical and psychological aspects of growing older; as well as key concepts in gerontological theory.


Introduction to Communications 1013

This course introduces students to the history and evolution of the communications profession, with particular emphasis on communications in the public policy sphere, from the pioneers who sold ideas on behalf of their clients, to the modern world of two-way communications with the public through the internet and social media tools. The course will explore how this evolution is changing the way governments, politicians, non-governmental organizations, citizens groups and corporations interact with the public.

Cars in World History 1173
Cars have shaped our world more than any other technology over the past century. Mass motorization created new opportunities for travel and consumption, changed the way people worked, transformed cities, and contributed to rising pollution and climate change. In this course we will explore the car's social, cultural, and environmental impacts on a global scale.


Second Semester

  • Courses start Wednesday, January 9, 2024 and end Thursday, April 11, 2024. 
  • Exams take place from Monday, April 15, 2024 to Saturday, April 20, 2024. 

Courses offered in the Early Start Credit program are asynchronous, online options, meaning that students can work away at the course material at times convenient to them throughout the week.

Semester 2 (January to April)

Digital Literacy ENGL-1233
Students will learn, use, and critique digital productivity tools, multimedia and website development tools, and Web 2.0 tools, while they apply literary methodologies to broader issues and debates like cyber safety, digital privacy laws and ethics, the economic and social engineering implications of user-data, as well as modes of digital communication and collaboration. Familiarity with critical theories and historical trends will help students understand how social and political movements develop the form, genre, and style of digital platforms.


Environment and Society: Understanding Environmental Problems  1013
Earth systems science reveals that the environmental conditions that supported the development of human civilization over the past 10,000 years are becoming increasingly destabilized. This course introduces students to the Earth's regulatory systems such as climate, nitrogen and phosphorus flows, forests, oceans and biodiversity, and the social structures and processes that are interfering with them. Students will come to understand that environmental problems cannot be solved by individual behavioural changes; solutions will require collective action to achieve systemic change.


Introduction to Gerontology  1023
This course examines the various factors that impact growing older in Canadian society. Topics to be discussed include: health care, pensions, housing, transportation, family life, social support and death and dying.


Introduction to Human Rights 1003
This course introduces students to the study of human rights by investigating the question What are human rights? The course will proceed primarily through a number of examples and case studies. Students will also be given an overview of the basic instruments, institutions, and ideas relevant to human rights.


Introduction to Psychology 1023
This course introduces a variety of topics within psychology. Topics to be covered include research methods, developmental psychology, intelligence and creativity, personality, abnormal behaviour and therapy, social psychology, and applied topics.

Admission Requirements

Applicants will be required to meet the following minimum admission requirements for admission to the Early Start Credits program: 

  • Be currently enrolled in the final year of a high school program at an Anglophone high school within the province of New Brunswick; 
  • Be on track to complete their 17 required credits for graduation; 
  • Have an 80% or higher on English 112 or English 111; and 
  • Have an 80% or higher on a grade-11 level, academic history or social studies course.

When final grades are not available for the aforementioned courses at time of application, the decision will be made by the Director of Admissions based on the applicant’s overall academic record. Fulfilling these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.  
Students must also be able to provide a letter of support from their high school in order to qualify for admission to the Early Start Credits program. 

Application Process

To be considered for admission to the program, students must submit:

  • an application for admission at STU.ca/esc-apply as non-degree, part-time students. Students are asked to note their intention to participate in the Early Start Credits program in their application for admission;
  • a non-refundable $40 CAD application fee; and
  • a high school transcript.

Students must apply and submit supporting documents by August 31, 2023 for first semester courses and by November 30, 2023 for second semester courses.

Registration Process 

Admitted students will be able to register on a first-come, first-served basis as part-time students in designated courses with the assistance of an admissions team member. 
Prior to the start of classes students will participate in an orientation to ensure they are well-informed and well-equipped for success in their studies.  
Payment will be due by September 15, 2023 for first semester courses and by January 13, 2024 for second semester courses.

Fees: The cost (per three credit hour course) was $807 for the 2022-2023 academic year. Fees for the 2023-2024 academic year will be announced in May. Please note that depending on the course taken, there may be additional materials (e.g. textbooks, course supplies) and associated costs for which the student is responsible.  Additional information about funding post-secondary education can be found here.
Please note: Funding is available for students in financial need.  If you are interested in the program, but require support to pursue this opportunity, please contact admissions@stu.ca.

Support for Student Success

Throughout their participation in the program, students will have access to an admissions team member who can help to support them and direct them to resources — including tutoring, time management assistance, notetaking and motivation coaching, library services, and more — available to them as STU students at no additional cost. 


Students who complete their coursework with a passing grade will receive university-level credit for the coursework completed.  This credit may be applied towards future studies at St. Thomas University, and it may be eligible for transfer credit to other post-secondary institutions.

Contact Us

For more information about this option, contact your high school guidance counsellor.  You may also free to contact our Admissions Office, as we would be happy to provide further information and answer any questions you may have. 
Email: admissions@stu.ca  
Phone: 506-452-0532  
Toll-free: 1-877-788-4443