First Year Students

Congratulations on your acceptance!

What's next?

Congratulations on starting your academic journey in the College of Arts & Science! We have an incredibly diverse range of academic options for you to explore, and our caring community of faculty and staff are here to ensure you get the absolute most out of your time in our college. No matter what academic path you choose, all students will learn critical skills in leadership, research, critical thinking, communications, problem solving and, team building. These skills will transfer to everything else you do in life — from relationships to careers. There’s a reason more and more employers are recognizing the value of an Arts & Science education, and we thank you for choosing to trust us with your academic growth.

Download the entire first year handbook
1 Important dates to remember

Cut off dates

Registration changes and withdrawals (2015/16 academic year)

The last day to...

3 credit unit course. Term 1 3 credit unit course. Term 2 6 credit unit course
... make registration changes
(100% tuition credit)
September 17 January 18 September 17
... make registration changes
(75% tuition credit)
September 24 January 25 October 1
... make registration changes
(50% tuition credit)
October 1 February 1 October 16
... withdraw from a class
(not eligible for tuition credit)
November 15 March 15 February 15



Start and end dates (2015/16 academic year)



Spring Summer
Term 1 Term 2 Term 1 Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Term 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Classes begin September 3 January 5 May 4 May 4 May 30 June 23 June 23 July 19
Classes end December 8 April 7 June 17 May 25 June 17 August 9 July 14 August 9
Final exam period December 9 - 23 April 9 - 30 June 20-22 May 26-27 June 20-22 August 10-12 July 15-18 August 10-12
Final exams for multi-term (6 c.u.) courses taken during the regular session are scheduled during the April final exam period.
Note that Q1 + Q2 = Term1 and Q3 + Q4 = Term 2
Multi-term summer courses will span May 4- August 9 and will not necessarily be 6 c.u. courses



Regular season (2015/16 academic year)


Date Holiday Usask Open?
Monday September 7 Labour Day No
Monday October 12 Thanksgiving Day No
Monday to Friday November 9 – 13 Fall Mid-Term Break (no classes) Yes
Wednesday November 11 Remembrance Day No
Friday to Friday December 25-January 1 Christmas Break No
Monday February 15 Family Day No
Tuesday to Friday February 16-19 Winter Mid-Term Break Yes
Friday March 25 Good Friday No


2 Getting oriented
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Events and info sessions

University orientation and information sessions can help you begin your journey at the U of S. Before registration opens, you and your parents can attend a free U-Start registration workshop, held across Western Canada throughout May and June. You will be introduced to PAWS (Personalized Access to Web Services), course registration, and a wide variety of on-campus resources including housing, transition programs, and more. Right before classes start, you can also attend the campus-wide orientation for all new students. This is a great opportunity for you to meet new friends, get important academic information, learn more about student life, find your classrooms, and get your student card. Additional orientation activities are also available for Aboriginal and international students. Other groups on campus, such as the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU), also organize welcome activities in September. Be sure to check out the university’s event calendar.

Contact an academic advisor

Confused about what to take in your first year? Wondering which Learning Community is for you? Not sure how to get into a professional college? Having problems with a course? Come see an academic advisor if you need help choosing courses, have questions about your degree requirements, or want to chat with someone about any academic problems you are facing. To make an appointment with an academic advisor call 306-966-4231 or visit Arts 265.

Undergraduate Student Office (Arts 265)

The Undergraduate Student Office is a one stop shop for students in the College of Arts & Science. This is the place to go if you have questions about university or your academics, need to defer a final exam, or would like to see an academic advisor.

Academic advisors help students determine which classes to take to obtain a specific degree or to apply to a professional college. They also advise on most academic issues including grade appeals, academic integrity, academic difficulty, academic grievances, DegreeWorks, and more. If you are experiencing difficulty while at the U of S you can speak with your academic advisor. They can help you develop a plan for the rest of the term and refer you to different resources and support services on and off campus.

Trish Monture Centre for Student Success (Arts 250)

The Trish Monture Centre for Student Success is home to the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP) Learning Communities and the Arts & Science Transition Program (UTRAN) Learning Communities. The mission of the Trish Monture Centre is to encourage Aboriginal and Transition Program students in the College of Arts & Science. To do this, the advisors working within the Centre use a holistic approach to academic advising that addresses the student as a whole person. The Trish Monture Centre also provides Aboriginal and Transition Program students with a gathering and study space, including computers, a microwave, free coffee, and a collection of academic resources.

The Transition Program provides a supportive and close-knit learning environment that helps students make the jump from high school to university through a Learning Communities model. Students in the Transition Program can register in a maximum of 18 credit units from the UTRAN Learning Communities and receive all the benefits of being in a Learning Community Program, plus additional academic and student supports to help bridge the gap from high school to university. The Transition Program supports include a dedicated Transition Program academic advisor, academic coaching, a course in Strategies for Academic Success, and a mix of small and large courses. For more information, or to register, please contact

Academic Advising

College of Arts and Science
Undergraduate Student Office
Room 265, Arts Building
University of Saskatchewan 

Office Hours  Monday - Friday
9:00am - 12:00 and 1:00 - 4:00pm
(306) 966-7171

Email Us (306) 966-4231

Aboriginal Student Advising

College of Arts and Science
Trish Monture Centre for Success
Room 248, Arts Building
University of Saskatchewan 

Office Hours  Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 4:30pm
(306) 966-3242

Email Us (306) 966-2004
3 Learning the academic jargon
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Important terms

At the university, you will begin to learn a whole new language. See a list of the more important terms you will encounter as you familiarize yourself with university life. Click the button to the right.

Class & Course

The terms “class” and “course” are often used interchangeably.

Course Description

Course descriptions, found in the Course and Program Catalogue, give you information about a particular course, such as the course name, number, credit units (c.u.) and the term(s) in which it is offered.


4 Deciphering your degree
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Let's break it down

The College of Arts & Science offers a wide variety of degree options to students. Although not mandatory for earning a degree, most options allow students to complete a minor, recognition, specialization, or certificate within their degree requirements. 

The College of Arts & Science offers a wide variety of degree options to students. Although not mandatory for earning a degree, most options allow students to complete a minor, recognition, specialization, or certificate within their degree requirements. 

Learn more

Your major is the subject area you choose to specialize in.  It is also the subject or program area where you will take the majority of your courses. With over 60 options to choose from, the College of Arts & Science is sure to have something that piques your interest- but where to start? To help you narrow down the field, all of our majors can be divided into program types based on subject matter.

Learn more
Students may also choose to complete a minor in a subject area or receive recognition in a language. Minors and recognitions must be completed in conjunction with an Arts & Science degree. To complete a minor, students must complete 18-24 credit units, as outlined by the department, in that subject area. Minors are not available in all departments and are not required to receive a degree. Recognition in a language is available upon completion of 18 credit units as required by the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultural Studies. For more information students should consult the online Course and Program Catalogue or consult the department they are seeking a minor or recognition in.

Students may choose to complete a Certificate of Proficiency. These certificates may be taken alone or concurrently with a degree program. They are designed around a specific learning goal and require 15-30 credit units, including a core or capstone course. A list of certificates can be found within the Course and Program Catalogue. 

Before a B.A. or B.Sc. degree can be awarded, the College requires its students to complete specific courses and meet certain regulations. All students pursuing a B.A. or B.Sc. must fulfill 7 different requirements to complete their degree. These requirements can be broken down into three categories.

Learn more

If you are uncertain about what program type will suit you best into and/or what major you are most interested in, it is a good idea to take a variety of courses to keep your options open! Try taking classes that meet general degree requirements – that way when you are ready to work on a major you will have most of the distribution requirements already met. Or, you can browse through the University Course Catalogueand select Arts & Science courses that interest you.


5 Get Registered
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Where to begin

Students are not required to take certain courses in their first year. Instead, students should choose courses that meet the requirements for majors or subject areas that interest them. They may also choose courses to meet the admission requirements for another college while working on a degree program from the College of Arts & Science.

Approved Arts & Science courses can include any course offered through a department within the College of Arts & Science. Some courses from other colleges will transfer automatically towards an Arts & Science degree. For a complete list of courses from other colleges that count for credit,  please see this list.

You do not have to meet all of the distribution requirements for a degree in your first year. If you feel uncomfortable taking a course to meet a certain requirement in your first year, you can always take it at a later time. For example, if you are interested in majoring in Political Studies and are hesitant to take a Science course in your first year, don’t. The only thing to be aware of is that certain courses may be prerequisites for upper year courses. So when you are planning your course selection, keep in mind how it will affect your registration options for the next year.

Some majors require first year students to take multiple courses in the sciences in their first year of study. When creating your timetable, keep in mind that many science courses also have weekly labs and tutorials in addition to their lecture times. This means that for some 3 credit courses, you might actually be spending 6+ hours in class per week – that’s the same time commitment as two courses! It is therefore recommended that first year students take no more than 6 to 9 credit units in lab based courses per semester to start. If you are fulfilling admission requirements for another college you may not have as much choice in selecting your courses for your first year.

When registering, it is always important to check the prerequisites for your courses (if applicable) to ensure you have completed them. Some 100 level courses have Grade 12 or junior level university prerequisites. Students who enroll in (and even complete) courses that they do not have the prerequisites for are at risk of being dropped from the course at any time or having the credit revoked.

For more information on specific academic requirements, consult the Course and Program Catalogue.

First year students are usually surprised by the amount of time and effort that university courses require. Most classes are held for 3 hours per week and meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 50 minutes each day or Tuesday and Thursday for 1 hour and 20 minutes each day. Night classes are usually held for 3 hours once a week. Yet, university involves a lot more work than just attending classes. Labs and tutorials will be held outside of class time, so students must also factor these into their schedules. 

In order for students to be successful in a course, a general rule of thumb is that you should spend about 2-3 hours on out-of-class course work for every 1 hour spent in class.  For example, a class that meets 3 hours per week will usually require the completion of 6-9 hours of course work outside of the lecture time, plus the possible addition of a tutorial or lab component. For 5 classes per term or a full course load, that is 30-45 hours per week of outside course work and 15 hours spent within the lecture setting. At 45-60 hours per week, being a successful student is equivalent to holding a full time job! Because of the significant time commitment university requires, many students may limit the amount of courses they take in their first year.

The University of Saskatchewan Course and Program Catalogue is the official resource for students to find out exactly what courses they need to take to earn their degree. It contains the most up-to-date information on college policies, course descriptions, degree requirements, programs offered, and admission requirements for the College of Arts & Science. Familiarizing yourself with the Course and Program Catalogue can help answer questions you may have about what courses to take, what subject you should major in, and what CWA you need to maintain to apply for an Honours program or to graduate.

Click here to access the Course and Program Catalogue.  To access the College of Arts and Science programs & policies directly select the College of Arts & Science heading or click here. Next, choose a major that sounds interesting from the programs list. You can then click on the degree options and requirements for that program. You can even click on classes for a course description, prerequisites, and more information.

Note that there is also a tool in PAWS called DegreeWorks to help students plan and choose courses each year to ensure they are meeting the requirements of their program. See pp.45-46 for more information.

To view course descriptions and prerequisites for any course offered by the University of Saskatchewan, go the Course Catalogue. Choose the subject area you are interested in from the Subject Code drop down menu and click Search. You will now be able to view all classes offered in the selected subject area and their prerequisites.

It’s important to note that not all of the courses listed will be offered every term or every year. See page 10 of the handbook to learn how to read a course description. 

The course offerings or class search function allows you to search for a specific course in a specific term. This will generate a list of the dates and times a course/lab/tutorial will be offered in a specific term, the name of the instructor (if available), the location of the class (if available), and the Course Registration Number (CRN) needed for registration.

Click here to access the course offerings search.

Select the appropriate term from the drop down menu – for courses that take place from September to December and September to April or for courses that take place from January to April. Click Submit.

Select the subject that you are interested in. Entering in a course number is optional. If you want to see all offerings for a subject, leave this field blank and it will generate a list of every course offered that term for that subject. If you are interested in all 100 level courses, you can type in “1%” and it will generate only the 100 level courses offered that term.

Be sure to select “U of S – Saskatoon Main Campus” to narrow the search down to classes offered on the Saskatoon Campus, otherwise you could end up registering for a course in Yorkton or Prince Albert by accident! The only exception to this would be if you are interested in searching for an independent studies or online offering of a course. To view independent studies and online courses, you would need to select “Off-campus site” as the campus.

You can now browse through the courses offered. If you find a course with a date/time you are interested in, be sure to copy down the CRN for fast registration later! To view a brief description of the course and prerequisites required, you can click on the CRN for each course.

Once you know what courses you want to take, you should create a timetable with your course selections. Make sure that you have not picked courses that are offered at the same time. You must also include lab and tutorial times in your timetable. You can use the Course Offerings tool mentioned above to check the exact days/times during the week that lecture/lab/tutorial sections will be offered.

As a general guideline for students who are planning to take a “full course load” (30 credit units during regular session), you may wish to take three courses on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and two courses on Tuesday and Thursday. This way you will have approximately three hours of lecture time a day. Please be advised that you must schedule your labs and tutorials outside of your course times. Tutorials and labs usually require mandatory attendance and are often essential tools to successfully complete a course. Off-campus courses are scheduled in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Make sure that you make your schedule flexible. You may not get into a course or lab that you want so provide yourself with alternate times/options. 

It is suggested that you schedule your courses around the time of day you find learning easiest.  If you are not a morning person, do not schedule all of your courses for 8:30 am!  It is also possible to schedule your courses back to back.  Professors will let the class out with enough time to get to another class.  Try not to schedule more than three hours of course time back-to-back, as it is important to leave yourself time for food breaks.  

Once you have registered in a course, you are obligated to pay any assessed fees as long as you remain registered! If you want to drop a course, you must do so on PAWS before the drop deadline. The amount of tuition you receive back for dropped courses depends on when in the term you dropped them. This website shows the registration deadlines for the current academic year.". It is important to note that:

Courses dropped before the Deadline for Registration Changes (100% Tuition Credit) will not show up on your transcript.

Courses dropped after the Deadline for Registration Changes but before the final Withdrawal Deadline will show up on your transcript, but with a grade of “W” (for withdrawal). This will have no bearing on your Cumulative Weighted Average (CWA).

You cannot drop a course after the Withdrawal Deadline. If you do not write the final examination or complete all course components the course will show up on your transcript as a fail and will count towards your CWA.

To drop a course, go to your Worksheet. Under the Action column, select “Drop Class” from the drop down menu, and click Submit Changes. This will remove that course section from your Current Schedule. Always double check to make sure that you dropped out of your course successfully!

6 Course selection
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Course selection chart by potential major

The chart has some recommendations for first year course selection based on potential major areas. Please note that these are suggestions based on the junior level prerequisites needed for senior level degree requirements.

If additional courses are required over and above the recommended courses mentioned below, we encourage students to select courses to fulfill their distribution requirements for their degree type or take a variety of courses to see what interests them most.

Always keep in mind that students are not required to enroll in a full course load (15c.u. per term), and should only take what they feel they can handle. We strongly recommend students do not register for more than 3 lab courses per term.


7 Applying to a non-direct entry
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A path to professional college

Admission to the College of Arts & Science does not imply or guarantee that you will later be admitted to any professional college, regardless of intentions declared on your admission or registration form. Admission to professional colleges is highly competitive. Many students applying to professional colleges will not be accepted - for some professional colleges, only one or two out of every ten applicants are ever admitted. 

We always recommend that students try to keep other options open. We encourage students, while completing their prerequisite courses for a professional program, to still work toward an Arts & Science major/degree in case they change their mind or do not get admitted to the professional college of their choice. 

Many professional colleges have additional admission requirements (such as an entrance exam, interview, admission essay, related volunteer, or other experience, etc.). This information sheet provides only a guideline for required academic courses. You must consult the professional college directly to confirm entrance requirements. Web sites and contact information are provided below.

Definition of a 30-credit-unit year

Several professional colleges require that students complete one or more "30-credit unit years," and use the average achieved in these years to rank students for entrance purposes. This means that the student must complete 30 credit units in one Regular Session (September to April). Professional colleges will, in most cases, count summer courses towards academic entrance requirements; however, courses taken outside of September to April will not count towards the 30 credit units required for a “30 credit-unit year”. Marks in summer courses or in courses taken during years when fewer than 30 credit units are completed may also not be included in the average calculation done by the professional college for ranking. Students must contact the professional college directly to confirm if marks from Spring/Summer session classes will count towards their application average.