Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t see your question or answer here, contact the Undergraduate Student Office, ARTS 265.
Questions? We have answers
Booking an Appointment with an Academic Advisor
To schedule an appointment with an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Science, students must book their appointment online. You can find the link on the Book an Advising Appointment page. Appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes.
Students can book an appointment up to one month in advance. Students can also check on Mondays and Tuesdays as some appointments become available on a weekly basis.
Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and noon, and 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. A limited number of evening appointments are also available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
There are different types of academic advising sessions:
Drop-in Advising is available the first two weeks of September and January to help students finalize their course selection before the course add deadline. You’ll notice this is the only type of advising appointment that is available during these particular time periods. Drop-in advising is intended for quick questions only.
Students may request an Academic Program Review to speak with an academic advisor about choosing or changing a major, determining the best course load, degree progression, and to discuss academic challenges they may be experiencing. If a student is concerned about their grades an academic advisor can also develop a course retake strategy. An academic advisor can also provide information about academic appeals and deferred exams.
Group Advising is when a group of students attend an academic information session to ask general questions about requirements, policies, and/or procedures. In many cases, group advising sessions centre on providing information to a specific group of students, or they are based on specific questions students frequently ask. To protect students’ privacy, advisors do not discuss individual student cases in group advising sessions.
Digital and printable maps of the University of Saskatchewan main campus can be viewed online at maps.usask.ca
Arts and Science courses are taught in many buildings across campus. Download maps of some of the most commonly used buildings:
High School Prerequisites
In order to study university-level biology, chemistry or physics, the 30-level/senior-level/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. And, in order to study university-level calculus, which is required for some degrees, Pre-Calculus 30 (or equivalent) is required.
Students can upgrade their high school courses through any of the programs listed below:
SASKATOON AND SURROUNDING AREA
In some cases, course options are available through the University of Saskatchewan, and these courses will count for credit toward your Arts and Science degree.
If you have not completed high school prerequisites for University-level courses in CHEMISTRY…
You can register in CHEM 100.3: Problem-solving Foundations for University Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan. This course will count for credit toward your degree.
If you have been admitted to the USask with a MATH deficiency…
You will clear the deficiency by completing the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement that is built into each Arts & Science degree program. It is strongly recommended that you fulfill this requirement in your first year of study.
90-level courses offered at the University of Saskatchewan
A limited number of seats are available in the following 90-level courses, which will enable you to register for 100-level university courses in the same subject: Chemistry 90: Introduction to Chemistry, Biology 90: Introduction to Biology and Physics 90: Foundations of Physics.
These courses are offered through the Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways.
ISAP is a program that brings Indigenous students with common academic goals together. Students registered in ISAP will be given priority access to these courses. Throughout the summer, seats will also become available for students who are not registered in ISAP.
These courses will have an emphasis on Indigenous perspectives in the discipline. To indicate your understanding of this, and to request a seat in one of the above courses, please complete this survey. Once completed, you will be granted permission to register, or you’ll be placed on a waitlist. All students who are offered a seat will be notified by mid-August via their PAWS email.
Please note, the 90-level courses will not count for credit toward your degree; however, if you complete all three courses you will be eligible to receive the STEM Accelerator Certificate.
When trying to decide which courses to register for, there are several strategies you can consider. For first year students:
- If you have a potential major in mind, you can choose foundational courses required for your degree.
- Register in a Learning Community, which is a pre-established cluster of first-year courses.
- Treat your first year as an exploratory year and choose a variety of courses to help you decide.
- Start with a Certificate to gain a credential and build confidence.
For more information about the above strategies, check out the Undergraduate Students First Year Handbook.
If you’re in your second, third, or fourth year, some of the above strategies may still be relevant. Once you choose your major, you should rely on the course and program catalogue as it outlines all the courses you must complete for your degree.
You can also look at DegreeWorks. This is a degree audit tool that you can access through your PAWS account. You must declare your major in order for DegreeWorks to accurately display your degree requirements.
Courses from other Colleges at the USask
Yes, students in the College of Arts and Science can register in select courses at other Colleges on campus; however, the full range of courses at other Colleges are not available to Arts and Science students. They would need to apply to and be accepted into the other College. In addition, not all courses at other Colleges at the U of S transfer for credit in the College of Arts and Science. For a full information, see Automatic Transfer for Courses From Other Colleges.
Transfer Credits from Other Universities
Yes, students who transfer from another University submit their transcripts to the University of Saskatchewan for review, and all completed courses that are equivalent to U of S courses can be used towards a U of S degree. As indicated above, not all transfer credits can be used in all Colleges.
Taking Courses at Another University While You Are an Arts and Science Student
Yes, students can register for courses offered at other Universities while they are a student at the University of Saskatchewan. Students are encouraged to review the pre-approved Transfer Credit list as a preliminary step before submitting a Visiting Student Request Form.
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.
Before you try to register, check your PAWS account to see when your registration window opens. In the College of Arts and Science, students register based on their year in their program. In other words, you won’t be able to register until your ‘registration window’ opens.
The best resources for understanding how to register in your classes are available on the Classes and Registration page.
This page includes step-by-step instructions, a link to the Registration Channel in your PAWS account, and an easy-to-follow video. Scroll down the page and look for the section called “Register, Drop, or Withdraw.”
If a course you need is full (meaning there are no seats left and you can’t register in it), you can try one or all of the following:
- Check the class daily. As students are finalizing their course schedule they add and drop classes frequently. It’s common for a seat to open up during the month prior to the course add deadline.
- Submit a request for a class override, which means you are asking the instructor or the Department for permission to register in a class that is full. Not all instructors or departments will approve an override, but students are encouraged to submit this request.
- Try registering for the course in a different semester, or plan to register in the course later in your degree.
Choosing and Declaring a Major
Academic advisors encourage students to choose a major by the end of their first year or during their second year.
Students can change their major at any time in their program; however, if they choose or change their major in their third or fourth year, they may need to take additional courses to satisfy the specific program requirements.
If you’re unsure of what major to choose, here are a few suggestions:
- In your first year, choose a variety of Arts and Science classes in different subject areas This is what we refer to as an ‘Exploratory Year.’ This will help you to identify courses and subject areas you like. All the courses you successfully complete will count towards your degree requirements.
- Take a look at the Course and Program Catalogue to get an idea of the various degree majors that are available to you. Take some time to explore the Catalogue. Click through majors that interest you and look at the course requirements for majors that interest you. Be sure to bookmark the Course and Program Catalogue because this is your degree map.
Once you have decided, you declare your major through your PAWS account.
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 great Career Planning resources offered by Career Services. This is a great way to narrow down your degree choices and your career goals so they are perfectly aligned!
Planning for Entry into Another College
A lot of students begin their studies in the College of Arts and Science in order to complete application requirements for “non-direct entry” colleges like Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Nutrition, or Veterinary Medicine.
Students may also choose to apply to a “direct entry” college like Agriculture and Bioresources, Education, Edwards School of Business, Engineering, or Kinesiology. In this case, 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, each College has its own degree requirements and academic policies.
It is essential that students meet with an academic advisor in the College they wish to apply to in order to get full and accurate program information.
Full information on admission, prerequisite requirements and application deadlines for direct and non-direct entry colleges can be found at Colleges and Schools.
Dropping a Class
It is the student’s responsibility to monitor course withdrawal deadlines.
If a student misses a course withdraw deadline, they may miss an opportunity for a full or partial tuition refund, and they may fail the course.
When a student drops a course before the last deadline to withdraw without academic penalty, they will receive a W on their transcript rather than a fail grade.
Once the course withdrawal deadline passes, students cannot withdraw from the course unless they have experienced an extenuating circumstance that impacted their ability to meet the deadline. In this case, the student would need to submit an academic appeal for a retroactive withdrawal.
Tuition Fee Refunds
Tuition fee refunds are tied to Course Withdrawal deadlines. As the term progresses, the amount of tuition that is refundable decreases until no refund is available.If a student experiences an extenuating circumstance and they fail a course as a result, they can submit an appeal for a retroactive withdrawal. If their appeal is successful, they can then submit a tuition fee appeal through Student Central.
If a student fails a course with a grade of 49% or lower, they can retake a course as many times as needed to receive a passing grade.
If a student receives a grade between 50 – 59%, they can retake a course once and only if the course was not used as a prerequisite to complete an upper-level course. In this case, students must submit a request for Permission to Repeat a Course.
Course retakes for classes in which the grades received were 60% or higher are not permitted for credits in the College of Arts and Science.
In the College of Arts and Science, when a student retakes a course, the higher grade is used in the calculation of their cumulative weighted averages, and the lower grade is no longer included in that calculation. All attempts of a course will appear on the student’s transcript.
For full details, see Repeating Courses.
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 for credits in the College of Arts and Science.
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 Discontinue. Faculty 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
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.
If a student experiences an extenuating circumstance that impacts their ability to write their exam on a scheduled day and time, they should proceed as follows:
- For a midterm exam: contact your instructor immediately.
- For a final exam: submit a deferred exam request online within 3 business days of the scheduled exam. Be sure to read the deferred exam request page for more details.
Examples of an extenuating circumstance include:
- death of a family member or close friend
- family emergency
- physical or mental health issues
- challenges related to institutional transition
- undiagnosed learning challenges
- criminal or legal emergency
Graduation StandardsIn order to graduate, students must satisfy all program requirements for their selected degree and achieve a minimum cumulative weighted average (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.
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 (CWA) regardless of what session or term those courses were completed in (with the exception of course retakes, in which the lower grade is not used in the calculation of the CWA).