Computer Science Early Start Program


The Computer Science Early Start Program is an opportunity for highly talented high school students who are interested in Computer Science to get an early start on their academic career and enroll in a first-year University course.

Students will take one full course over 6 weeks in the summer, with the same content, workload and expectations as a first year university student. The course will provide you with a full science credit, recognized at universities across Western Canada, and give you a head start on your degree. This program is open to students in Grade 11 and 12.

The courses will be offered on campus at the University of Saskatchewan. Successful applicants will attend lectures in university lecture halls, and participate in hands-on learning and customized tutorials in the modern Computer Science Computer Labs. As a benefit of this program, students will receive more one-on-one instructor time than if they had taken these classes during the regular term, as class size in this program is limited.

If you are a high school student who enjoys problem solving and are interested in exploring Computer Science, and thinks that getting a head start on university might be more useful than pumping gas or waiting tables for the summer, then this program is for you!

Creative Computing

The Creative Computing (CMPT 140) course is designed to be a challenging and fun introduction to computing for students who have little or no background in computer science or programming. The course emphasizes building computer programs in a graphical and interactive environment using the Python programming language, which is a useful tool for scientists and engineers from all disciplines.

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Design and implement simple Python programs from scratch.
  • Test and debug simple Python programs.
  • Employ conditionals and loops in simple Python programs.
  • Employ variables, arrays and records in simple Python programs.
  • Define and call Python functions in Python programs.
  • Design and implement simple recursive functions in Python.
  • Trace through the execution of simple Python programs by hand.
  • Implement simple numerical algorithms, such as computing the average of a list of numbers, finding the min, max of a list.

Student Eligibility

This program is open to students who are currently enrolled in grade 11 or 12. Students must be in good academic standing, and must meet the following academic criteria:

Minimum Overall Average Grade: 75%

* Grade 11 high school students must plan on beginning their Grade 12 studies the following academic year

No previous experience in Computer Science is necessary to participate in the program. The Creative Computing (CMPT 140) course is designed to be a challenging and fun introduction to computing for students who have little or no background in computer science or programming.

It is important to note that the outlined requirements are the minimum criteria. Placement in the Computer Science Early Start Program is a competitive process. Applicants who meet the minimum criteria may not be placed in the program, depending on spaces available and the additional information provided in their application package.

Class Schedule

The Computer Science Early Start Program is offered from June 28 - August 17, 2018

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 9:00am - 11:00am
Tutorial Labs
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 11:30am - 12:30pm, or, 12:30pm - 1:30pm


The following dates are inclusive of the 2018 calendar. 


Deadline for students to submit applications into program

Friday, June 1 

Notifications of acceptance are sent out to students

June 8

Deadline to pay tuition

July 3

Computer Science Early Start Program begins

June 28

Deadline to drop program without academic penalty

July 31

Computer Science Early Start Program ends

August 15

Final Exam

Scheduled between August 15-17 (TBD)

Please refer to complete withdrawal schedule online

Important Note: Notifications of acceptance into the program will be sent to student applicants on June 8th, 2018. 

How to Apply

All applications must contain the following items:
Early Start Application for Admission

This application includes a one time $90 admission fee. All University of Saskatchewan students must pay this fee upon applying for admission. Students will not have to pay this fee again once they continue their studies at the University of Saskatchewan after high school graduation. It is also important to note that this admission form requires a co-signtaure from a parent or guardian.

Please note that the admission fee can only be paid via cheque or money order. We do not accept cash, debit, or credit. 

Download Application Form 

Reference Letter from a Math or Science teacher

The Computer Science Early Start Program is a chance for Grade 11 or 12 students to get a head start on their university career. As part of their application process we are requesting that they obtain a recommendation letter from a science or math teacher. This letter should be provided in a sealed envelope, with the expectation that it is confidential. We are particularly interested in the following topics:

  • Academic Ability: Students will complete one first year courses over a short three week period. The content in the courses will be identical to the content normally taught to first year students, so applicants will need to have a strong academic background to complete the program. What is the student’s academic ability? How does the student compare with his/her current peers? with students you have taught previously?

  • MaturityThe course will cover the same content, and have the same workload as during the normal academic year. While there will be greater instructor contact than is typical for a first year course, students will require a degree of maturity in their approach to unsupervised, or weakly supervised coursework. Has the student demonstrated sufficient maturity to you? Can you give any specific examples of the students ability to work independently? Do you have confidence they could complete the program?

  • ValueDo you think that the student will benefit from the experience? Has the student expressed and interest or shown an aptitude for Information Technology or Computer Science?

  • Your ImpressionWhat, in general do you think of the applicant? Is there anything we should know about the applicant that would sway our decision?

Thank you for your time in composing the recommendation letter.

Important Note: If you prefer, we also accept recommendation letters via email to make the application process a bit easier. Please contact with your letter regarding a student's application. 

Most recent copy of your Report Card
Please submit a copy of your most recent report card. This should include your Grade 11 or 12 final marks from semester one and if applicable, your current marks from your semester 2 classes. It is optional to include a report card from your previous year.
If you are currently enrolled in CS30...

Students who are currently enrolled in CS30 at their high school are required to submit an additional form that outlines their experience with computer programming. The "Creative Computing" (CMPT 140) course is targeted towards students who have little or no Computer Science experience. If you are in the process of completing the CS30 high school course before this program begins, you may be eligible to skip CMPT 140 and enrol in "Introduction to Computer Science" (CMPT 141) when you begin your studies at the University of Saskatchewan. By reviewing your experience with Computer Science, we can advise if this course is the best option for you. If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact us at

Download the Student Experience Form

Students can submit their application package directly to the Department of Computer Science via mail or in-person:

Department of Computer Science
176 Thorvaldson Building
110 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5C9
Main Office: (306) 966-6513
Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday

Program Fees

The following chart breaks down the program costs for students accepted into the Computer Science Early Start Program. Please note that these tuition rates are the exact same for all University of Saskatchewan students. Students enrolled in the Computer Science Early Start Program will be required to pay the same tuition rates and student fees as regular undergraduate students. 

Program ItemCost

Early Start Admission Fee *

This is a mandatory one-time fee for admission to the University of Saskatchewan. Students who decide to continue their studies at the University of Saskatchewan would not need to pay this admission fee again.


CMPT 140 Tuition

Tuition fees are mandatory fees that are charged by the University for education and instruction. These tuition rates reflect the current tuition rates for all undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan.

Undergraduate Tuition and Fees

Payment and Due Dates


Student Fees **

Student fees are associated with student activities, services, and associations. All students enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan must pay student fees. 

Undergraduate Tuition and Fees

Payment and Due Dates




*Note: The Early Start Admission Fee payment is required upon applying into the program, while the remainder of the fees can be paid to the University of Saskatchewan by the Summer Term 2 tuition deadline

**Note: Student Fees include the U-PASS, a service that provides city transportation passes to qualified students from the U of S. To learn more about the program and its qualifications, please visit the USSU website

International Students: It is important to note that international student tuition rates differ from Canadian student rates. Please refer to the University of Saskatchewan's tuition guide for international tuition and fees.

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

The Computer Science Early Start Program offers an exciting opportunity for high school students interested in information technology and its applications to get a head start on the university career. This page contains answers to important questions that parents might have about the program.
Why is the program so expensive?
Students pay the same per course tuition as they would if they were attending the university as full time students.
What will I get for the money?
An actual university course. We are offering an introductory university course CMPT 140 in computer science. This course will cover the same material as its regularly scheduled counterpart (normally offered in the fall and winter respectively). However, in the Early Start summer session there will be more instructor contact hours, smaller classes, and a more focussed delivery.
Will my child get credit for these courses?
Yes. Your child will get credit for the course as a university student. However, the grades your child receives will become part of their permanent university transcript, meaning that the program should be treated as a serious undertaking, and not a day camp.
What about family vacation?
There is time before and after the three weeks of the program for family vacation. The schedule will be compressed so we do not recommend going on a family vacation while the program is ongoing, of course, the final decision is up to you and your child. Note that no special dispensation for vacations will be given.
Holding a summer job is good for young people. Won’t this interfere?
Yes it will. Just as with family vacations, we don’t recommend that program participants work while the program is underway. It is up to you as a parent, in discussion with your child whether the program or a summer job is ultimately more valuable.
Where will the program take place?
At the University of Saskatchewan. We hope to provide an authentic taste of academic life to the participants, so they will attend lectures in normal lecture halls, and use the resources in our modern computer laboratories.
Will the students get anything other than a university course?
We expect the students will receive a lot of intangible benefits: time spent with like-minded, talented peers; an exposure to university life in a more controlled environment; and a chance to try a new and rewarding career path, without the distractions of normal first year university.