About Canisius

About Canisius

Consistently ranked among the top regional institutions in the Northeast, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.  Founded in 1870 by German Jesuits, Canisius is named for St. Peter Canisius, a renowned Dutch educator and one of the original members of the Society of Jesus.

A masters-level, comprehensive university, Canisius promotes the Jesuit principles of academic excellence, service and leadership through a broad range of learning experiences and a distinct core curriculum that is grounded in the liberal arts.

Buffalo has been home to Canisius for more than 150 years. Located in the Hamlin Park district, a historic and conveniently-located residential neighborhood in north-central Buffalo, the college campus spans 72 acres and is comprised of 15 academic and administrative buildings, three athletic complexes and five residence halls.

Over the last 25 years, more than $185 million has been invested to create several signature state-of-the-art living and learning environments - including the newly renovated Science Hall, the Montante Cultural Center, Nelson D. Civello '67 Family Financial Markets Lab, the Institute for Autism Research, the ESPN3 Studio, Esports lab, Physician Assistant (PA) Program lab, Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center, HARBORCENTER and Dugan Hall, our newest residence hall. 

Our Mission

Canisius University, a Catholic and Jesuit university, offers outstanding undergraduate, graduate and professional programs distinguished by transformative learning experiences that engage students in the classroom and beyond.  We foster in our students a commitment to excellence, service and leadership in a global society.

At the Core of Our Mission

Catholic & Jesuit

Canisius is an open, welcoming university where our Catholic, Jesuit mission and identity are vitally present and operative. It is rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition’s unity of knowledge and the dialogue of faith and reason.  Founded by the Society of Jesus as a manifestation of its charism, Canisius espouses the Jesuit principles of human excellence, care for the whole person, social justice, and interreligious dialogue.  Jesuit spirituality calls us to seek God in all things and Jesuit education aims to form students who become men and women for and with others.

Transformative Learning & Student Engagement

Steeped in Jesuit ideals, our undergraduate and graduate academic programs are distinguished by academic excellence, student-faculty interaction, and a variety of experiential learning opportunities that engage students and transform mind and spirit. Our undergraduate core curriculum enriches students’ academic pursuits and delivers a strong foundation in liberal arts, critical thinking, and diversity. Graduate and professional programs promote the application of theory to practice.

Service & Leadership

Benefiting from academically-rich, values-based experiences in their interactions with faculty, staff, and community members, students develop their abilities to lead and inspire others. At Canisius, students practice these leadership skills in the classroom and through co-curricular activities in ways that animate our Jesuit values to serve others and benefit our world.

Our Values

Canisius University is committed to the following values that emerge from our Catholic, Jesuit mission to guide all of our decisions and actions:

  • Cura personalis, care and respect for the whole person, and a holistic approach to education
  • A dedication to the pursuit of magis, excellence, service, and innovation

  • Principled leadership and personal accountability

  • An individual and institutional responsibility to work for social justice and transform suffering and injustice in the world
  • A deep respect for the natural world, and a commitment to its responsible stewardship.

Our Vision

Canisius will be the leading educational choice for those who seek innovative learning opportunities rooted in our Jesuit mission and values.

Canisius seeks to:

  • Be a vibrant and progressive university committed above all else to academic excellence and the authentic search for truth.
  • Embrace its Catholic, Jesuit identity as its defining characteristic and be committed to enhancing and enriching that identity.
  • Recruit faculty with outstanding credentials and foster academic excellence through extraordinary teaching and scholarship.
  • Embrace its urban roots in Buffalo, New York and become more engaged with the world around it by addressing issues and challenges in the neighborhood, city, region, nation, and world.
  • Engage alumni and friends and draw them into a deeper lifelong relationship with the university.
  • Be committed to quality and continuous improvement in everything that we do.

Academic Programs

Canisius has been preparing students for meaningful careers and lives for more than 150 years. We do it through exceptional teaching, extraordinary opportunities for hands-on learning, and through a supportive community that is invested in students and their goals. Canisius is highly accredited and recognized for excellence in teaching, curriculum and outcomes in each of its three schools:  College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education & Human Services and the Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

NC-SARA Approved Institution Seal

Canisius offers students undergraduate curricula leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS) and Associate of Arts (AA) in more than 100 majors, minors, and special programs to create a path that is uniquely suited to their interests and career goals. Graduate students can select from 35 outstanding master's and certificate programs, including an array of degrees offered fully online. Canisius University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements


Regardless of the program of study, students will find experienced faculty who are committed to providing a challenging yet supportive environment to help them reach their goals.  The college seeks faculty members known to be creative and energetic teachers who also seek to engage their students in their research and scholarship. With modest class size the norm (the student-faculty ratio is 11:1), interaction between students and faculty makes for an easy and natural learning and working environment, in which professors take a personal interest in their students.  Moreover, 98 percent of faculty at Canisius hold a PhD or other terminal degree.


Canisius University is accredited by numerous national organizations. These accreditations serve as testament to the excellent quality of a Canisius education.

Canisius is an accredited member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.The college's Middle States accreditation was reaffirmed in 2015.

All of the college’s programs are registered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York through the State Education Department.2

The Richard J. Wehle School of Business is the largest private institution in Western New York accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).3 The college has held this distinction of excellence since 1977.  AACSB is earned by the best business schools in the world, and only five percent of business schools worldwide meet the rigorous standards of AACSB International Accreditation.

The chemistry major is accredited by the American Chemical Society.4

Full accreditation of all educator preparation programs in the School of Education and Human Services was obtained  through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in 2017.5 Canisius is currently pursuing accreditation of its educator preparation programs by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).6 Pursuant to §52.21 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the educator preparation programs offered by Canisius University are considered to be continuously accredited for purposes of meeting the New York State requirement that all such programs maintain continuous accreditation.

The Graduate Programs in Counseling are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.7

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Canisius University Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Canisius University.8 Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-canisius-college/.


Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 Telephone: 267-284-5011.


University of the State of New York, State Education Department, Board of Regents, Room 110EB, Albany, NY 12234. Telephone: 518-474-5889.


Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International, 777 South Harbour Island Blvd, Suite 750, Tampa, FL 33602-5730. Telephone: 813-769-6500.


American Chemical Society, 1155 Sixteenth St, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: 800-227-5558 (US only) 202-872-4600.


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, 1140 19th St NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: 202-223-0077


Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), P.O. Box 7511, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-9998. Telephone: 202-802-1725.


Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria VA 22314. Telephone: 703-535-5990. 


Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. 12000 Findley Road, Suite 275, Johns Creek, GA 30097. Telephone: 770-476-1224.

The Griff Center for Student Success

The Griff Center for Student Success provides comprehensive programs, services, and resources to support student academic and career success and a transformative learning experience grounded in our Catholic, Jesuit mission. The Griff Center is a hub for academic advisement, career advisement, accessibility support, and has staff ready to assist students to become successful lifelong learners.

Mission AND Ministry

The Office of Mission and Ministry is responsible for integrating our Catholic Jesuit mission and values throughout the university. The office is led by the vice president for mission integration and includes campus ministry, the university chaplain, and the New Buffalo Institute.

The vice president for mission integration is responsible for providing education and formation in the university’s Jesuit heritage and values to all members of the Canisius community. This includes programs for the Board of Trustees and the Canisius Colleagues program for faculty and staff.

The Office of Campus Ministry, which includes the university chaplain, is responsible for the spiritual life on campus and espouses the Jesuit principles of human excellence, care for the whole person and social justice.  And while Canisius is a school steeped in Catholic, Jesuit tradition, we welcome, respect and encourage interreligious dialogue from people of all faith traditions.  Through the Campus Ministry Office, students explore the depths of the human perspective through the lens of Ignatian and Catholic spirituality, as well as other religious backgrounds traditions.  This is accomplished through liturgy and religious activities, retreatsservice immersion trips and community service.

Campus Ministry frequently collaborates with the New Buffalo Institute to support the needs and service initiatives in the city of Buffalo.

The New Buffalo Institute is rooted in the Jesuit ideal of faith that does justice and the university’s commitment to become an authentic project of social transformation. The NBI cultivates creative initiatives and aligns the college’s research, service and educational programming in targeted areas to respond to the emerging opportunities in the New Buffalo economy and to address critical needs in the East Side of Buffalo. 

The Andrew L. Bouwhuis (ALB) Library

The quality of any educational institution is determined largely by the proficiency of its faculty and the excellence of the information resources available to support the curriculum.

Canisius students have at their disposal an excellent library collection to support student research.  The library also subscribes to thousands of full text electronic journals, and hundreds of article databases and print journals.  Electronic resources can be accessed from computer labs and residence halls on campus and remotely from any connected device.  A substantial complement of equipment, including computers, printers, cameras (digital still or video), projectors, headphones (with or without microphones); e-book readers and SmartBoards are also available to students.

The library is outfitted with a variety of study and workspaces; a Curriculum Materials Center for K-12 teacher training; group workrooms; audio-visual areas to practice presentations; and a Tim Hortons coffee shop.

The Rev. J. Clayton Murray, S.J. Archives & Special Collections, located in the library, houses information related to the history of Canisius University. It also holds unique materials with strengths in civil rights and social justice, Catholicism, philosophy, local history, and rare books dating to the 15th century. Visitors and researchers are welcome.

Computer Facilities

Wireless networking is available across campus and there are several Internet Plazas where students can check their electronic mail, access the web or utilize the extensive online research databases provided by the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library.  Additionally, residence halls are wired for satellite TV and Internet access.

Instructional computing facilities include over 300 personal computers, as well as scanners and printers. Computers in student labs are equipped with word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, web development, and statistical analysis software.

Canisius University supports an extensive website and portal (myCanisius) that includes web-based electronic mail, course materials, course discussion boards and course registration. The myCanisius portal can be reached from the Canisius web site.

Most instructors post course materials in our learning management system, Desire2Learn (D2L), which is accessed through myCanisius.

The ITS Help Desk is available for walk-up assistance in the Library, by phone at 716-888-8340, or by email.

Koessler Athletic Center

The focal point of all campus sports activity is the Koessler Athletic Center.  Better known as "the KAC," the center houses the Physical Education and Athletic departments, and is the site of intercollegiate, intramural, recreation and local high school sporting events. 

The KAC is comprised of a multi-purpose gymnasium, swimming pool, training room, rehabilitation room, a weight room, several classrooms and offices for the departments of Athletics and Kinesiology.  It is also home to the Canisius University Sports Hall of Fame.

Adjacent to the KAC is the Patrick Lee Student Athletic Center, which is available to all Canisius students for recreational and intramural activities.  The facility has two full basketball courts, three volleyball courts and an indoor batting cage.

Directly adjacent to the KAC is the Demske Sports Complex, a multi-use, all-purpose, all-weather artificial A Turf field that is home to the Golden Griffin soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball teams.


Retention from freshman to sophomore years has been as follows for the last five years:

  • Class of 2017 – 86%
  • Class of 2018 – 83%
  • Class of 2019 – 83%
  • Class of 2020 – 83%
  • Class of 2021 – 85%
  • Class of 2022 - 84%

As defined by the federal government, the retention rate is the percentage of first-time bachelor’s degree-seeking undergraduates from the previous fall who are again enrolled in the current fall. Freshmen are defined as those who registered prior to their initial matriculation. Sophomores are those still registered following the drop/add period one year later.



Canisius University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion or creed, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, gender identity or expression (including transgender status), familial status, domestic victim status, pregnancy (including childbirth and related medical conditions), citizen status, disability, or any other status protected by state or federal law in administration of its educational policies, employment practices, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.

Canisius admits students of any age, race, religion or creed, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, gender identity or expression (including transgender status), familial status, domestic victim status, pregnancy (including childbirth and related medical conditions), citizen status, disability, or any other status protected by state or federal law to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University.

It is also the policy of Canisius University to provide working and learning environments that are free from harassment based on any such status.

It also continues to be the policy of Canisius University to provide disabled persons with reasonable accommodations in employment, admissions and access to its programs and facilities in accordance with applicable laws.