What Are University Pathway Programs?

February 7, 2018

Pathway programs, also known as Academic Bridging Programs, are preparatory programs designed for students seeking undergraduate studies as well as graduate studies in some universities.

Pathway Programs

Benefits for International Students

The programs mainly prepare students to succeed in their undergraduate and graduate studies by teaching them some foundation courses.

For international students, this could also mean teach them academic English language that maybe equivalent to TOEFL or IELTS by university’s standard.

The length of the academic bridging programs varies depending on the university’s requirements and the students’ academic qualifications and skills. It could range from 8 weeks to 56 weeks to two years.

 pathway programs are:

  • Targeted to students preparing for admission to English-medium undergraduate studies; and especially those requiring English training or other preparation for academic studies; and
  • They typically combine academic content with English language studies, study skills, and cultural adaptation courses. (As per ICEF MONITOR article on Pathway programs).

To learn more about Canadian Pathway Programs, click here.

Universities usually grant guaranteed admission to the undergraduate studies or graduate studies upon successful completion of the pathway programs, therefore, students may initially receive conditional admission, not final admission, to their degree studies if they are required to upgrade their academic skills first.

Some universities offer the English for Academic Purpose programs for example, at their campus. Others, partner with private colleges and/or English language schools and international students who successfully complete the last level of English up to the university’s standard will be able to join partner universities only for their undergraduate studies.

As per ICEF MONITOR article on Pathway programs dated 26 January 2016, the vast majority of pathway programs are offered in English speaking countries. UK leads in the number of pathway programs, followed by Australia and New Zealand, then Canada and USA.

There is a trend by universities wanting to attract international students to introduce academic bridging programs or partner with private colleges or English language schools. This way they can be assured that international students joining their universities are well prepared to succeed in their degree studies.

Final Though

It’s highly recommended to prepare for all university’s requirements at least two years before you head for studying abroad. You should know way before the requirements of your targeted university. Everything now is online and information are easy to get so no excuse.

Attempt ILETS or TOEFL or other acceptable English languages tests before you even finish high school. If you still don’t get the required score by your university, no problem, enroll in a pathway program. Click here to see the types of English language tests acceptable by universities worldwide.


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