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Academic Upgrading


Available: Full Time Classroom or Online

Program Highlights

SAIT Academic Upgrading courses prepare students for admission into SAIT career programs. These courses are Alberta high school equivalency courses. They may be accepted for admission purposes by other Alberta post-secondary educational institutions. You may be required to take placement tests for selected courses.


Daytime & Evening Classes


Classroom, Online, Blended

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Tuition and fees per year*

1 Course: $608  
2 Courses: $1,136  
3 Course: $2,881 

1 Course (International): $1,894
2 Courses (International): $3,708
3 Courses (International): $5,901

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change

Full costs

Tuition and financial aid


This is a direct entry program. Applicants who meet the admission requirements are offered spots into the program.

When can you apply?

  • Applications for Fall 2020 open Oct. 2, 2019 and are accepted until the program start date.
  • Applications for Spring 2020 opened Dec. 13, 2019 and are accepted until the program start date.
  • Applications for Winter 2021 open March 30, 2020 and are accepted until the program start date
Term Program start
Spring 2020 May 4, 2020
Summer 2020 July 6, 2020
Fall 2020 Sept. 8, 2020
Fall 2020 Oct. 5, 2020
Winter 2021 Jan. 11, 2021

Why upgrade at SAIT?

  • Meet admission requirements for SAIT career programs and other post-secondary schools in Alberta
  • Flexible course delivery options: daytime, evening, online and blended (online and weekend)
  • Develop successful learning strategies to prepare you for further studies
  • Discover the post-secondary culture and connect with our diverse student population
  • Access to academic upgrading liaisons who can assist you with program planning and refer you to additional SAIT resources to support your academic success

Program Details

Program description

SAIT academic upgrading courses prepare students for admission to SAIT career programs. For SAIT program Admission requirements, refer to the appropriate sections of the   SAIT Academic Calendar. SAIT academic upgrading courses are Alberta high school equivalency courses, not Alberta Education courses. They may be accepted for admission purposes by other Alberta post-secondary educational institutions. Check the current Alberta Transfer Guide published by  Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer for a listing of all formalized transfer agreements among Alberta post-secondary institutions.

SAIT academic upgrading courses provide students with a flexible approach for their transition to post-secondary studies. Courses can be taken part-time or full-time in the day, evening or online. Students become accustomed to the SAIT environment and culture and develop successful strategies for learning.

Government grant funding may be available for eligible students. For more information on funding, please check the following website: www.sait.ca/sip. Student loans are not available for upgrading courses.

It is recommended that all students have access to a personal computer. 

Other Benefits 

  • Students who take academic upgrading courses develop the essential learning skills that can lead to successful completion of a career program.
  • Students in upgrading benefit from smaller class sizes and engaging instructors. 
  • Upgrading students can expect hands-on learning in all courses, particularly in the sciences. 
  • Access to ongoing academic advising and learning supports such as free tutoring, coaching, learning seminars and accessibility services.
  • Access to student development services such as career and personal counselling.

Your career

Students complete upgrading courses in order to meet the admission requirements for programs at SAIT and most other post-secondary education institutions in Alberta.

Student success

Attendance and punctuality are directly related to academic success. Students who attend all of their classes do better on assignments and tests. Students are encouraged to access free SAIT student services such as tutoring, learning strategy workshops, appointments with a learning strategist, and student counselling services.

Credentials and accreditation

No credentials and accreditation awarded.

Admission Requirements

Note: all students taking upgrading courses must apply to Academic Upgrading through Apply Alberta.

Admission and selection

  • Applications are open until the program start date.
  • Spring 2020 start: applications opened Dec. 13, 2019.
  • Fall 2020 start: applications open on Oct. 2, 2019.
  • Winter 2021 start: applicatons open on March 30, 2020

Admission requirements

  • Minimum of 50% in the following courses or their equivalents:
    • English Language Arts 10-1 or 10-2, or successful completion of an English placement test.
    • Pure Math 10 or Applied Math 10 or Math 10C or Math 10-3 or successful completion of a math placement test.
  • Students will be required to complete testing in the relevant subject areas if transcripts are not available.
  • All applicants to SAIT must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada. For more information, please see English Proficiency.
  • View High School Course Equivalencies by Province.

How to apply for Academic Upgrading

Registration opens approximately two months prior to the start of course start dates. 

Step 1: Apply to Academic Upgrading and submit your transcripts and/or anticipated final grades.

Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above. You may be required to complete a placement test within two or three weeks of applying to satisfy admissions requirements. You will receive confirmation through acceptance. 

Step 3: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply.

Placement testing

Once you have applied to the program, your transcripts will be reviewed by the academic upgrading team to determine the appropriate level of upgrading courses.

Placement tests are required to determine the proper level of placement in academic upgrading courses for math and physics. Placement tests in other subject areas are also available if you are not meeting prerequisites through high school transcripts. Contact upgrading@sait.ca for more details.

View the table below for courses that require placement testing. Please download and review the appropriate study guide and formula sheet prior to taking the placement test for your desired course.

*Students who have passed SAIT’s upgrading Math or Physics courses are not required to take placement testing.

Course  Educational equivalent Placement Test Guide Formula Sheet
MATH-100 Math 9 MATH-100 N/A

Take the test. V1Take the test.V2

MATH-180 Math 10C MATH -180 Formula Sheet  Take the test
MATH-181 Math 20-1 MATH - 181 Formula Sheet Take the test 
MATH-182 Math 30-1 MATH - 182 Formula Sheet  Take the test
PHYS-181 Physics 20 PHYS -181 Formula Sheet  Take the test
PHYS-182 Physics 30 PHYS - 182 Formula Sheet Take the test

Study guides are available for the following placement tests:

An individualized program plan will be created. A program plan maps out the courses that need to be taken each semester and will be created for students based on their transcript and/or test results.


Note: all students taking upgrading courses must apply to Academic Upgrading through Apply Alberta.
Step-by-step registration instructions

To register in an academic upgrading or open studies course complete the steps listed below.

Once you have applied and been accepted into the program you can register. You’ll be using mySAIT for registration.

  1. Log into mySAIT with your SAIT ID.
  2. Select a term open for registration.
  • summer: July to August
  • fall: September to December
  • winter: January to April
  • spring: May to June
  1. Find your course and add it to your summary. If you’d like to register for multiple courses, add them to your summary now.
  2. Choose submit in the summary.
  3. Go to account summary and pay now to review your account balance.
  4. Choose pay now.
  5. On the landing screen, choose make payment, and advance to the account payment
  6. Choose to pay the current account balance and verify your payment amount and choose OK.
  7. Choose your method of payment — Visa or MasterCard.
  8. Enter your credit card number and choose continue.
  9. Enter your account information and choose continue.
  10. Review your confirmation details and choose submit payment.

You will receive a confirmation of payment via email. You can find your complete payment history in your account summary on mySAIT.

For downloadable instructions click here

Program outline

Most upgrading courses at SAIT have prerequisites, for more information click here

Course code Course name AB Education equivalent Credits
APSC-180* Science Preparation Science 10 for SAIT programs only 3.0
BIOL-181 Biology I Biology 20 3.0
BIOL-182* Biology II Biology 30 3.0
CHEM-181* Chemistry I Chemistry 20 3.0
CHEM-182* Chemistry II Chemistry 30 3.0
COMN-180 Literature and Composition I English 10-1 3.0
COMM-181 Literature and Composition II English 20-1 3.0
COMM-182 Literature and Composition III English 30-1 3.0
MATH-100 Mathematics Foundations None (Skill Development) 3.0
MATH-162 Technical Mathematics II Math 30-2 3.0
MATH-172 Applied Mathematics II Applied Math 30 3.0
MATH-100 Mathematics Preparation Math 9 3.0
This course requires a placement exam 
MATH-180 Mathematics Preparation Math 10C 3.0
This course requires a placement exam 
MATH-181 Mathematics I Math 20-1 3.0
This course requires a placement exam 
MATH-182* Mathematics II Math 30-1 3.0
This course requires a placement exam 
PHYS-181 Physics I Physics 20 3.0
This course requires a placement exam
PHYS-182* Physics II Physics 30 3.0
This course requires a placement exam

View additional Academic Upgrading program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.

More information

* A limited number of upgrading courses are offered in a blended format. A blended course runs 14 weeks and involves online participation as well as an on-campus class on Saturdays'. Please note that all Saturday scheduled classes are blended courses. Each course has a specific start and end date, as well as a course outline that states requirements and deadlines for coursework. Students are expected to work through course content and assessments outside the weekly on-campus class in order to stay on track with the course schedule. Exams and labs (if applicable) will be completed during class time and, as such, attendance and regular "check-ins" to the course website (in Brightspace/D2L) are essential to succeed in this course format. For more information about this delivery format, please contact as.coned.info@sait.ca.

View additional Academic Upgrading program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.


For course upgrading pathways click here

Students must pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. Admission to SAIT and other post-secondary programs can be highly competitive. Grades higher than a minimal pass improve opportunities for admission to post-secondary programs. 


Domestic tuition and fees*

Number of courses Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees 2019/20 total
1 $480 $80 $48 $608
2 $960 $80 $96 $1136
3 $1441 $80 $144 $2045*

*All evening, weekend and blended courses offered in May and July 2020 will have a flat fee of $500

International tuition and fees*

Number of courses Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees 2019/20 total
1 $1766 $80 $48 $1894
2 $3532 $80 $96 $3708
3 $5297 $80 $144 $5901*

*Including dental and health plans and Upass ($380)

SAIT fees

Campus athletic and recreation fee: $80 per semester
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): If you are taking two courses during the semester, you may be eligible to purchase the UPass. If you are taking three courses, the $302 is included in your SAIT fees.

Student Association (SAITSA) fees

Health plan†: $110**
Dental plan†: $125**
Student Association: Please see the chart above as charges are based on the number of courses you are taking.
† included in your fees if you are taking three or more courses

Cost and supplies*

  • Books and supplies are approximately $150 to $200 per course.

Find out about tuition and financial aid and use our cost calculator to get your estimated yearly cost for the program.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
** For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the SAITSA website for information on opting out.


Academic Upgrading

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Inspiring Stories

Mike's academic journey started at SAIT in 1985. At that time, he didn't see the value of education and decided to go into the workforce instead.

After an injury that prevented him from being able to work in his field, Mike decided to return to SAIT to pursue the Civil Engineering Technology program.

Mike has won two academic upgrading awards for service and academic achievement. He is also the vice president of SAIT's 2017 Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR).

A scholarship recipient and graduate from the Petroleum Engineering Technology program, Miles credits the Academic Upgrading program for giving him a competitive edge, helping him establish a strong academic foundation that contributed to his academic success.

After graduation, Miles plans to transfer to Universtiy of Wyoming for a degree in Petroleum Engineering.

Prior to starting at SAIT, Samantha didn't think she would ever go back to school, and if she did, she thought she would fail. 

She proved herself wrong after completing her academic upgrading courses in the 90th percentile and credits her instructors for contributing to her success.

Samantha graduated from the Dental Assisting program and is now working in her field.

Mike Van Dyk
Civil Engineering Technology | 2016

"Academic upgrading gave me a great head start to relearn a few necessary skills. Thanks to SAIT I am on the right track to a rewarding career."

Miles O'Keefe
Petroleum Engineering Technology | 2017

"As a mature student, the choice to come back to school would have been difficult without upgrading my high school classes."

Samantha Dixon
Dental Assisting | 2016

"After finishing Academic Upgrading ... I took Dental Assisting and found a job after graduation. Now, I plan to continue on to university to study nursing."  

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