What is USTEP?

USTEP provides a supportive learning environment for students whose high school grades do not represent their academic potential. Instead of upgrading, USTEP allows students the chance to take university courses in a supportive learning community environment. USTEP offers students a wide network of support including: upper-year peer mentors, dedicated academic advisors, and specialized academic coaching.

Course offerings 

USTEP students attend a weekly hour-long learning community (LC) hour. Attendance at this session is mandatory and required to complete the program. These sessions are facilitated by upper-year peer mentors and providing students with opportunities to make friends, study together, and to develop the academic and personal skills to achieve their goals.

Along with a mandatory LC hour, students take the same first-year courses as any Arts and Science student. They can register in a maximum of 24 credit units per year in a 2+2 model. Two courses are preselected to create a shared learning experience. These are picked by academic advisors to satisfy the College Requirement (which is a part of all Arts and Science degrees). Students then select up to two additional courses with the assistance of an academic advisor that reflect their personal learning goals and interests.


Students are automatically assessed for USTEP by admissions if their admission average falls below the threshold required for their first choice program. Alternatively, students can apply directly to USTEP if they believe they meet the criteria below. Regardless of application, to be eligible for USTEP students must:

  • Be aged 21 or younger
  • Have domestic student status
  • Have an admission average of 60.00-69.99% 

Completing USTEP

When students successfully complete the program, they are automatically transferred into regular standing in the College of Arts and Science. To complete USTEP students must:

  • Complete 18 credit units of study with a cumulative weighted average of 56% or higher
  • Attend all LC hours

Those who do not meet this requirement should reach out to a USTEP staff member to discuss their options.


2024 - 2025 Learning Communities

LC sign-up opened May 6th at noon and closes June 9th.

Frequently Asked Questions

USTEP is not an opt-in program. Students ineligible for USTEP that want the support of a learning community should consider signing up for FLEX!

Students are moved into regular standing within the College of Arts and Science once they complete 18 credit units of courses with a cumulative weighted average (CWA) of 56% or higher. This is the same promotion standard as any first-year student in Arts and Science.

In additional to a 56% average, students must attend all of their LC Hours to be eligible to complete USTEP. This is a mandatory component of the program. 

Absolutely! USTEP courses are the same first-year courses any University of Saskatchewan student would take. USTEP courses can also be used to transfer to other colleges. 

The learning community (LC) Hour is held once per week and is facilitated by upper-year students, known as Peer Mentors. At the weekly LC Hour you will learn tips and tricks on how to succeed in university, build a community and strengthen your academic skills plus, make connections!

The LC hour is non-credit course and will not have any assignments but attendance is mandatory

Participation in USTEP does not require any additional fees. 

However, you will be responsible for all regular tuition and student fees associated with the courses in the USTEP learning communities. 

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