U of S to help northern Saskatchewan students access science and engineering programming

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) officially partnered with Northlands College today to offer a program designed to reduce barriers people living in northern Saskatchewan may face when preparing to enter into post-secondary science and engineering programs.

The Pre-Engineering and Science (PRES) program is offered by Northlands College in Buffalo Narrows, Creighton, Ile a la Crosse and La Ronge. The 42-week program runs from September to April and includes high school upgrading, 10 university courses and programming designed to help students successfully transition to the U of S.

“It can be quite challenging for people living in northern Saskatchewan to pursue an education in science or engineering, and since 2014 we’ve been in discussions with Northlands College to figure out how we can help,” said Patti McDougall, vice-provost teaching and learning at the U of S. “Though the College of Engineering co-ordinated this project, I am proud to say that this new PRES program will provide residents of northern Saskatchewan the chance to locally begin science and engineering programming leading to a range of colleges at the U of S.”

McDougall says the PRES program emerged from the recognition that Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in science and engineering. The design of the program began with the idea that high school students in northern Saskatchewan need stable access to courses like pre-calculus and calculus and may need to be supported in these difficult courses. Success in these areas leads, in turn, to admission into university-level programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

Alongside a supportive math environment, McDougall said other university-level courses will provide students with a foundation in chemistry and physics, which are requirements for post-secondary science and engineering programs.

The class credits obtained through the PRES program will transfer towards multiple diploma and degree-level program requirements at most colleges and universities, which will give students the option to take fewer classes in their first year, helping to ease the transition to college or university, according to Toby Greschner, president and CEO of Northlands College.

“The strength of our institution is partnerships, and this partnership with the University of Saskatchewan is another example of how we are all working together to increase educational opportunities and improve the overall quality of life for the people of northern Saskatchewan,” said Greschner.

If a PRES program graduate chooses to attend the U of S, they will have the opportunity to take part in a free two-week university transition program in August, which will provide them with personal supports and program-specific information.

The first cohort of PRES program students starts this September at Northlands College. The college is accepting applications until June 1. For more information about the program and to apply, visit: