Frequently Asked Questions


I am just starting university and want to study Computer Science. What college should I enter?
All the Computer Science programs are offered through the College of Arts and Science. However, a number of other colleges require Computer Science courses as requirements or electives for their programs, for example, Engineering, Eduction, and Business. In addition, students may pursue dual degrees such as an Engineering degree and a B.Sc. in Computer Science.
What is the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?
The quick answer is that Computer Science deals with software and high level computer applications dealing with information handling. Often the software systems are very complex, with a lot of code and a lot of information and knowledge. Computer Engineering deals with computers embedded in other objects. As such, Computer Engineering needs to deal with interfaces to the real world in real time, but generally does much simpler manipulation of data. The next step in this sequence is the Electrical Engineer who might design the hardware of a computer. Of course, the basics of computer hardware are part of a Computer Science program. For a more detailed answer, you should arrange an advising appointment with a faculty member.
What high school prerequisites do I need?

For a Computer Science or Bioinformatics degree, students must have completed Foundations of Mathematics 30 or Pre-Calculus 30. The Interactive Systems Design program does not have a high school prerequisite, but Mathematics 30 or Pre-Calculus 30 is strongly recommended.

Your high school Computer Science courses will dictate which first-year Computer Science course you can begin with at the University of Saskatchewan. CMPT 140 does not have a high school Computer Science prerequisite, while the prerequisite for CMPT 141 is Computer Science 30. Check out the first year prerequisite chart for more details. 

The College of Arts and Science admission requirements are listed on their website

More about our first year courses

I am just starting university, and I wish to study computer science. Which courses should I take in first year?

Students should review the individual program's information page to see a recommended academic schedule. 

More about our first year courses

Is it possible to specialize my degree program to a particular field of interest?

Yes. The first two years will have very little room for specializaion. However, there are lots of options after your second year. Look through the Computer Science courses offered and try to determine a course or two related to your field of interest. Then, consult an advisor if you still have further questions. 

How do the new 100-level courses relate to the old courses?

How do the new courses relate to the old courses?

  • The courses do not replace the old courses one-for-one.  They’re completely redesigned to suit the needs of students with different backgrounds, and different career ambitions.
  • CMPT 105 (deleted) was roughly equivalent to CMPT 140.
  • CMPT 111 (deleted) covered a little more than CMPT 140, but less than CMPT 141.
  • CMPT 115 (deleted) covers some of CMPT 145, but these courses do not overlap much.
I have credit for some of the old courses.  Which of the new courses can I take?
  • If you have CMPT 270, you can’t take any of the new courses.
  • If you have CMPT 115 or CMPT 117, and want to complete a major in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, or Interactive Systems Design, move forward with 200-level CMPT courses, under the old program requirements.  Changes to 200-level courses are coming in 2017-2018.
  • If you have CMPT 115 or 117, and don’t want to major in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, or Interactive Systems Design, then you are allowed to take CMPT 145.  There’s some overlap with CMPT 115, but not a lot.
  • If you have CMPT 105, or CMPT 106, you should take CMPT 141.
  • If you have CMPT 111, or 116, it’s best to take CMPT 141.  But if your mark in CMPT 111 or 116 is really good, you can apply for a prerequisite over-ride for CMPT 145.
  • If you have CMPT 113 prior to 2016-2017, take CMPT 141.  
  • If you have CMPT 113 during 2016-2017 or later, take CMPT 145.   
My degree program requires (or recommends) CMPT 141!
  • CMPT 141 assumes some background in writing programs, but gives a 3-week review of all the concepts found in CMPT 140.
  • Students who are strong in math can use MATH 110 (or equivalent) as a prerequisite or co-requisite for CMPT 141 without any other computer science prerequisite course.  Expect to work hard to catch up in the first few weeks of CMPT 141!
  • Students who do not have a strong math background should take CMPT 140 before taking CMPT 141.  It’s not the math you need, it’s the analytical skills. If you haven’t taken much math, or aren’t sure, take CMPT 140 to gain the skills you need at a pace suitable for novices.

How do other courses fit in?

  • CMPT 100 is a general introduction to computing, but not equivalent to CMPT 140.   You can take CMPT 140 after CMPT 100.
  • CMPT 120 is a course in productivity applications, and is not equivalent to CMPT 140.   You can take CMPT 140 after CMPT 120.

Engineering students:

  • EE and EP: CMPT 116
  • CME: CMPT 141, 145
  • CHEM, CIV, ENVI: CMPT 113
Who should take CMPT 400 and CMPT 405, and what is the difference between them?

CMPT 400 and CMPT 405 are project courses. Students in these courses will be supervised by a faculty member, but are expected to be able to research their topic and develop their project and ideas with relatively little help from their supervisor. CMPT 400 is required for all regular Honours students, and CMPT 405 is required for all Software Engineering Honours students who do not participate in the internship program. Other students can ask permission to enroll in CMPT 400 or CMPT 405, but are required to have an average of at least 70% in at least 24 credit units of Computer Science courses.

CMPT 400 emphasizes research on a topic by reading books and/or papers. The primary outcome from CMPT 400 is a research paper explaining what was learned and ideas for future work in the area. The focus of CMPT 405 is the development of a software product. There will be background reading for a CMPT 405 project, and a written paper is often required, but the emphasis is on development of a working version of a software project. As should be obvious, there can be a fine line between a CMPT 400 project and a CMPT 405 one. This is resolved by determining whether the primary focus is on the paper or on the software product.

Students who wish to take either CMPT 400 or CMPT 405 should apply to the Department towards the end, or just after completion, of their third year. The form requests that a student state their area or areas of interest, and the Department will attempt to match the student with a supervisor who is interested in similar topics. By the end of September, the student and supervisor are expected to agree on a topic, and sign an agreement of what is expected from the student. For CMPT 405, it is certainly possible for a team of students to work together.

Note that the same project cannot be used for two courses. Also, a student is usually not permitted to do both CMPT 400 and CMPT 405.

Application forms:

What is the advantage of doing a 4-year Computer Science degree vs. a 3-year Computer Science degree?
The 4-year B.Sc. is a comprehensive program that offers both ample depth and significant breadth of Computer Science related topics. The 3-year B.Sc. is a weaker program. It is a good program of choice if used as an add-on to another 4-year degree. But the three year degree is not strong as a stand-alone degree. In particular, the 3-year degree only requires 30 cu of CMPT courses, while the 4-year degree requires 48 cu of CMPT courses and there are restrictions on which 3rd and 4th year CMPT courses need to be taken. In addition, the 4-year degree has advanced mathematics and business science requirements. Finally, the 4-year degree program is an accredited program, while the 3-year degree is too weak to be accredited.
What is the difference between a 4-year degree and an Honours degree in Computer Science?

Both the B.Sc. Honours degree and the B.Sc. Honours Software Engineering degree provide a substantial experience overall compared to the 4-year B.Sc. All honours programs require a 70% average both in Computer Science courses and overall. 

The Software Engineering program has few options. To complete it, a student must complete the courses related to working in the software engineering field, and this leaves room for only one CMPT elective. This program is primarily directed to those anticipating to work on developing large software systems in industry, but it also provides a good background to go to graduate school.

The regular Honours program is more formal than the Software Engineering one, as the regular program requires more of the formal CMPT courses. Also, the regular Honours has advanced mathematics and statistics requirements. On the other hand, the regular Honours program has more CMPT electives than the Software Engineering one. The regular Honours is directed somewhat towards entry into graduate school, but also helps develop a strong background to work in industry. 

Note that an Honours degree is not required for entrance into graduate school. However, for entrance into graduate school a student needs to have close to an 80% average. Also, if a student omits the more formal courses of an undergraduate program, the student might be required to take one or more of them in their graduate program (possibly as extra courses). As a result, most students headed towards graduate school will take one of the two Honours programs.

When is a good time to apply for an Honours degree in Computer Science?
Although a student can apply anytime between the 2nd year and 4th year of their degree program, the best time to apply for Honours is during or after completing 3rd year, and certainly before starting the 4th year of studies. Probably the normal time to apply is in second term of your third year. It should be noted that a student must have at least a 70% average to be considered for the Honours program. Also, a student should decide towards the end of their second year whether they are considering an Honours program, because their selection of CMPT courses for third year is affected by this decision. In March of your third year is a good time to see an adviser for help making this choice, and help selecting their third year CMPT courses. Applications for the Honours program are available online or at the Arts and Science Undergraduate Office.
What is the internship program?
The Profession Internship Program is an optional program for a student to obtain practical work experience between third year and fourth year. It lasts from May after third year through the summer, the following winter term, and a second summer; 16 months in total. Employers who wish to hire internship students, post jobs. Students in the internship program apply for such jobs in the fall of their third year. The employers make their choice of students to hire. There is no obligation of the University or Department to find a job for each student who applies to the internship program. Students on the internship program are required to have a 65% average, and have completed a reasonable selection of third year CMPT courses.

For details on the program see the Professional Internship Program web site.