Frequently Asked Questions


Questions? We have answers

If you don’t see your question or answer here, contact the Undergraduate Student Office, ARTS 265.

High School Prerequisites

In order to study university-level biology, chemistry or physics, the 30-level/seniorlevel/ Grade 12 high school course of the same subject is required. University-level chemistry and physics also require Foundations of Math 30 or Pre-Calculus 30.

Clearing high school deficiencies:

30-level Biology, Chemistry, and Physics deficiencies can be cleared with 90-level Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses, which are offered at the U of S through one of the following routes:

  • ISAP STEM Accelerator courses
  • STEM Accelerator Certificate
  • Learning Communities that include one or more of these courses
  • Note: 90-level courses are non-credit courses

Students must address math deficiencies even if they do not intend to pursue a science degree; however, they have two options:

  • Students can complete Math 30 at a number of institutions in Saskatoon, including: Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Online Learning Centre, Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School
  • If math is not required for their major, students may opt to hold off completing their Math 30. If they can achieve a 65% CWA in their first 30 cu, they can request a deficiency waiver.

About the deficiency waiver…

Students must contact the College of Arts and Science Undergraduate Student Office to request the deficiency waiver upon completion of 30 cu.

If the student does not obtain an overall average of 65% or more in the first 30 cu, they must complete the required course(s) regardless of degree type.

If a student with a deficiency waiver subsequently changes their major and high school math prerequisites are required, the waiver is no longer in effect and the high school math prerequisites or equivalents must be completed.

Choosing Courses

In first year, students should focus on their “distribution requirements” i.e. requirement #’s 1 – 5, with particular attention on requirement 1 if they have already chosen a potential major to pursue.

If a student does not have a major in mind, they can explore a variety of course subjects in first year by choosing up to 6 cu from each of Social Sciences, Humanities, Sciences, Languages and Fine Arts. 

Cautionary note: if a student does not have a major in mind, but they are interested in the sciences, they should choose natural science courses with labs to avoid course conflicts and/or loss of credit for courses completed.

  • Example: GEOL 121.3 and 122.3 are required for a BSc 4 yr GEOL degree. These are lab-based courses. GEOL 108.3 and 109.3 do not include a lab component. Therefore, they cannot be used as substitutions in the BSc 4 yr GEOL degree, nor can students receive credit for GEOL 108.3 and 121.3 or GEOG 109.3 and 122.3.

Cautionary note: It is advisable for first year students to limit the number of lab-based courses to a maximum of two or three per semester, since the lab is like another course in itself. It is helpful for students to take the time to get a feel for these heavier course requirements.

Once students have completed their first year and they have chosen a major, they should choose courses that are required within their program so they can complete their degree efficiently and economically. Degree program requirements can be found in the online Course and Program Catalogue.

Be sure to monitor prerequisite requirements: students must complete all required prerequisites before they can register in a course. Prerequisite requirements are indicated in all course descriptions.

Cautionary note: if a student wishes to take classes from another College at the University of Saskatchewan, they should be aware that not all courses transfer for credit to the College of Arts and Science. Review the Automatic Transfer from Other Colleges information sheet for confirmation.  If a student wishes to take courses at another Institution, the same rule applies that not all courses transfer for credit between different universities/educational institutions. Review the Transfer Credit Equivalents webpage for more information.  It is recommended that students consult with the Undergraduate Student Office before registering in courses at another College or educational institution.

Full time status vs. Full course load

Full-Full-time status in the regular session (Sept – April) = minimum of 18 cu (9 cu per semester) up to a maximum of 30 cu (15 cu per semester)

  • Most funders require students to maintain full-time status within this range; however, some funders require students to maintain a minimum of 24 cu of courses (four courses per semester). Be sure to read the fine print of your funding agreement.

Full-time status in the Spring/Summer session (May – August) = minimum of 12 cu (6 cu per semester) up to a maximum of 18 cu (9 cu per semester)

  • Most funders require students to maintain full-time status within this range; however, some funders require students to maintain a minimum of 24 cu of courses in the regular session (four courses per semester). Be sure to read the fine print of your funding agreement.

Cautionary note: Students must monitor their course load and pay attention to course withdrawal deadlines. Attempting to ‘fast track’ your admission into a professional College by registering in a full course load year before you are ready can result in low grades which will delay your eligibility and/or successful admission into these programs.


In general, academic advisors do not participate in registration activity; however, they sometimes assist first year and transfer students to help familiarize them with the process.

The academic advisor’s goal is to assist the student so they can become self-sufficient by designing their own course schedule, actively selecting courses from the online calendar that fit their program of study, and monitoring course withdrawal deadlines. In this way, students gain valuable organizational and time-management skills, and they learn how to become active, independent agents in their academic experience.

Advisor Tips: Planning for your Registration Day

  • Find out when your registration window opens each year and mark it on your calendar. 
  • Before your registration day:
    • Print off a copy of your Student Program Monitor through PAWS or review your DegreeWorks Audit so you have a reference point of courses you have already completed
    • Review your degree program requirements in the Course and Program Catalogueto see what you still need.
  • Make a list of courses that are required and/or those that interest you – be sure to review prerequisites for each course
  • Check course offerings online to confirm whether your selected courses are offered in that academic year and whether there are seats available
  • Collect the following information:
    • the term the course is offered in
    • the days and times of the week
    • associated labs or tutorials
    • CRN’s (course registration numbers) for each course, lab and/or tutorial
  • Map out a course schedule based on the information you have collected to see which courses fit, which courses conflict and/or which scheduling combination suits your needs
  • When your registration window opens, you’re ready to go!!

If a student requires additional assistance with registration they can contact:

  • The Undergraduate Student Office, ARTS 265
  • For Aboriginal students, the Aboriginal Student Achievement Office, ARTS 248
  • Student Central in the Administration Building
  • For International students, the International Student and Study Abroad Centre, Lower Place Riel

For a visual reference, students can also check out thonline registration tutorials.

Choosing a Major

Academic advisors encourage students to choose a major by the end of their first year or during their second year.

If a student doesn’t know the subject area they wish to major in, they may be able to narrow down a division such as Social Science, Natural Science, Humanities or Fine Arts and choose courses within a division (or two) to help them decide.

Students can change their major at any time in their program; however, if they choose or change their major too late in their program, they may need to take additional courses to satisfy the specific program requirements.

Once a student choosing a major, they may wish to meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss the requirements, or they can review the requirements online in the Course and Program Catalogue.

Once students declare their major through the PAWS Arts and Science tab, they will be invited to meet with an Academic Advisor in the department of their major in the Spring of each year.  The purpose of this meeting is to review the courses in the major and discuss program progress. 
Academic Advisors in the Undergraduate Student Office and the Aboriginal Student Achievement Office monitor the student’s overall progress to ensure they satisfy program requirements as well as promotion and graduation standards.

Academic advisors in the department assist students with course selection in their major and they monitor student progress in courses associated with the major (i.e. requirement #6).

Majors and Careers

Choosing a major is often linked to career goals.  Academic advisors offer pre-career advising to assist students in the initial stages of making degree-career connections.

Pre-career advising is primarily an inquiry stage:

  • We ask questions of the student to identify personal interests and goals
  • We help the student ask questions of themselves
  • We identify degrees that compliment student interests
  • We direct students to further career resources

In helping students make degree-career connections, academic advisors teach them how to “activate” their degree.

Students may also wish to explore the online resources listed below:

While they are registered at the University of Saskatchewan, students can also access the services of theStudent Employment and Career Centre on-campus. They offer a variety of resources including: personality testing to link student interests and aptitudes with career options; one-on-one career advising; informational interviews with professionals.

Planning for Entry into Another College

A lot of students have their sights set on attending the College of Arts and Science just long enough to satisfy the prerequisite requirements for application to a “non-direct entry” College such as Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Nutrition or Education. 

Students may also have their sights on application to a “direct entry” College such as the Edward School of Business or Kinesiology. In this case, since there are no set prerequisites, students choose Arts and Science courses that will transfer comfortably into these programs.

Academic advisors in the College of Arts and Science can help familiarize students with the prerequisite requirements or transferability of Arts and Science courses for these Colleges. HOWEVER, it is essential that students meet with an academic advisor from the College they wish to apply to in order to get full program information. Each College has its own policies on retakes, transfer credits and course substitutions.

Full information on admission, prerequisite requirements and application deadlines for direct and non-direct entry Colleges can be found at Explore Colleges and Schools

Dropping a class

Students must monitor course withdrawal deadlines so they can avoid inadvertently failing a course. If a student drops a course before the last day to drop without academic penalty, they will receive a W on their transcript rather than a fail grade.

There is a misconception that a W on a transcript looks bad. It’s important to understand that students withdraw from courses for a variety of reasons. A W on a transcript can reflect a health issue, a family issue and/or a personal emergency.  It can also signify that a student made a mature decision to withdraw from a course that they a) didn’t like b) didn’t need c) weren’t succeeding in.

Failing a class / Retake Policy

Within the College of Arts and Science, a failed class is one in which the student receives a grade of 49% or less. A failed class can be retaken as many times as is required to pass the course.

A course with a grade of 50% - 59% can be retaken once, provided that it has not been used to satisfy a prerequisite requirement for an upper level course. In order to retake a course within this grade range, students must request permission to register by contacting the Undergraduate Student Office, ARTS 265.

A course with a grade of 60% or higher cannot be retaken.

In the case of a retake, the higher grade is used in the calculation of the student’s cumulative weighted average(s) and the lower grade no longer impacts that calculation; however, all attempts at a course remain visible on the student’s university transcript.

If a student is experiencing academic difficulty that has resulted in multiple failed classes, they can meet with an academic advisor to discuss a course retake strategy to improve grades.

Cautionary note: transfer credit grades are not included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative weighted average and cannot be used as a retake to improve the student’s average.

Cautionary note: it is important to note that not all Colleges have the same retake policies.  If a student intends to apply to a professional College and they wish to retake a course that is on their prerequisite requirement list, they should consult with that College first.

Required to Discontinue

In order to complete their studies in the College of Arts and Science, students must satisfy promotion and graduation standards.

The minimum requirements for continuing as a full-time student in the College of Arts & Science are based on the C.W.A, that is, the cumulative weighted average. This calculation is reviewed annually in May and is based on all grades obtained to the end of April. 

Students who are not promoted will receive an e-mail notice from the College in June indicating their faculty action - Probation or Required to DiscontinueFaculty actions remain in effect for one full academic year.

The table below outlines the grades required for promotion and the grades associated with faculty actions.

Credit Units Attempted

Promotion Standards


Required to Discontinue

18 - 30


55.99 – 50.00%

49.99% and below

31 - 60


57.99 – 54.00%

53.99% and below

61 and above


59.99 – 58.00%

57.99% and below

If a student is placed on probation, they can continue to register in classes in the following September to April regular session; however, they are limited to a maximum of 24 cu.

If a student is required to discontinue, they will be prevented from registering in classes for one full year (September – August).


If a student has experienced an extenuating situation that has resulted in low academic performance and faculty action, they may be eligible to appeal their RTD status and request probation so they can continue to take classes. They may also be eligible to request retroactive withdrawals from failed courses.

In either case, if a student receives a faculty action, they should schedule a meeting with an academic advisor to discuss their options.  An academic advisor can assist students in developing a course retake strategy, choosing an alternate major and/or preparing an appeal to request probation status or retroactive withdrawals.


In order to graduate, students must satisfy all program requirements for their selected degree and achieve a minimum CWA of 60% overall and 62.5% in their major. For Honours programs, students must achieve a minimum CWA of 70% overall and in their major. 
Once students finalize their registration for their final year, they should request a Graduation Check so an academic advisor can confirm that all graduation requirements will be satisfied by the convocation date.

Graduation Check forms are available online or students can request them at the Undergraduate Student Office.

Deadlines to submit graduation checks:

  • June 15th for Fall Convocation
  • November 15th for Spring Convocation

Students must apply to graduate to receive their degree. Deadlines:

  • August 31st for Fall Convocation
  • March 31st for Spring Convocation.

I thought Spring/Summer Sessions courses didn’t count!

There is a myth circulating through the student body that courses taken in the Spring/Summer session do not count for credit – this is not true!

For students in the College of Arts and Science, all completed courses are included in the calculation of their cumulative weighted average regardless of what session or term those courses were completed in(with the exception of retakes, in which the lower grade is not used in the calculation of the CWA).

Here’s where the myth comes from: direct and non-direct entry Colleges often look at the “sessional average” when evaluating applications.  This means they calculate the student’s admission average based on the courses completed from September – April during the ‘regular session’. However, Colleges also look at prerequisite course grades regardless of what semester they are completed in.  

Each College at the University of Saskatchewan has its own method of calculating averages as well as their own admission requirements, promotion and graduation standards and retake policies.  It is important that students familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of the College they plan to attend.