X

Pathway: Program Description

Introduction

In the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia, students need to meet certain entry requirements to successfully apply to the university and programme of their choosing. They need to have attained a specified level of proficiency in English and have completed certain academic requirements. Otherwise they can attend a “Pathway Program” in order to reach the levels required by universities. The name of this type of programme comes from its function as a “path” between a student’s current level of education and the one expected for higher education.


These pathways exist at 2 different points of academic achievement:

  1. entering an undergraduate programme (Bachelor’s Degree) at a university:
    • from secondary education to higher academic education (i.e. high school to university)
    • from vocational education to higher academic education (i.e. specialised colleges/community colleges to university)
  2. moving on to a graduate programme (Master’s Degree) after completing undergraduate studies elsewhere

Pathway programs can be classified according to the type of courses that they provide:

    • Academic subjects and English language courses
    • Academic subjects only
    • English language courses only

For a better understanding, let’s separate pathways as follows:


1. Undergraduate Pathway Programs:

Universities in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia have similar basic admission requirements:

  • having completed 12 years of secondary/elementary education
  • having a secondary education certificate (A-Level in the UK, High School Diploma in the US, High School or Secondary School Diploma in Canada, and Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) in Australia)
  • having a specified minimum level of English proficiency

Pathway Programs to enter university at an undergraduate level aim at preparing students to meet those admission requirements. As such, they are thought out to prepare students either for exams offering certification equivalent to a secondary education certificate, or for direct admission to the first, second or third year of a Bachelor’s Degree at a university.


    A. Preparation for exams and certification equivalent to a secondary education certificate:

    As international students will have completed their studies in the educational system of their home country, they must then prove that their academic achievements are on a level equal to that required for a secondary education certificate in the country where they intend to pursue their studies. The most widely accepted certification for foreign students abroad is the International Baccalaureate (IB), which is recognised in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. International students can take the International Baccalaureate programme to prepare and sit the IB, as a pathway to university. In the UK, the certificate of secondary education is the A-Level. International students have the possibility to take an A-Levels Programme to prepare for and pass the same exams as UK residents and then apply for British universities.


  1. INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMME (IBP):

    Available in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia

    Duration: 2 years
    Student Profile: This programme is designed for international students between age 16 and 18 who want to enter one of the more prestigious British universities, such as Oxford or Cambridge, or one of the Ivy League universities in the US such as Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.
    Aim: The programme prepares students to apply for a particular degree or field of study at the university. At the end of the programme, students take a series of 6 exams in order to obtain the International Baccalaureate Diploma. For each exam, students are graded using a point system: from 1 (the lowest) to 7 (the highest). The maximum total score is 45, as students can gain 3 extra points with the thesis they must write and the CAS course in addition to the 6 studied subjects. Students must achieve a minimum of 24 points to get the IB Diploma. In order to qualify for entrance to one of the more prestigious universities of the world, students should have a minimum of 35-36 points.
    Content:

    • 6 subjects studied (3 subjects studied more in depth according to the student’s specialization and 3 subjects of general knowledge)
    • Theory of knowledge and detailed study paper
    • Thesis to write (detailed essay of 80 pages)
    • Course CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) including: creative work, workshops in art studios, sports activities, participation in social programmes
    • 6 exams at the end of the programme
    Benefits:
    This programme is recognised in 50 countries and allows students access to the most prestigious universities in the world. Students with an IB Diploma can apply directly to the second year of undergraduate studies at American universities. Because students complete a total of 6 subjects, compared with the usual 3 required for the British A-Levels, this programme gives students a more rounded, global education.
    Requirements:
    • Interview
    • Minimum IELTS score: 4.5-5.0

  2. A-LEVELS PROGRAMME (ADVANCED LEVELS):

    Available in the UK

    Duration: 1,5 to 2 years (3 semesters)
    Student Profile: This programme is designed for students who want to attend one of the top British universities (Oxford or Cambridge universities for instance). Students need to be at least 16 years old to start the program.
    Aim: This program prepares students for their A-Level exams. In Britain, the higher the results on these exams, the more chances students have to attend the university of their choice. The A-Level, or the IB Programme, is mandatory to enter Oxford or Cambridge universities.
    Content:

    • Students choose their field of study according to their intended major at the university (usually 3-4 disciplines)
    • English language skills (reading/listening, writing/speaking)
    • Preparation for the A-Level exam
    Benefits: The programme prepares students for the A-Level exam which is mandatory (or can be replaced by the IB Programme) to enter British universities.
    Requirements:
    • Certificate or Secondary School Diploma
    • High level of academic achievement or the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams certificate, with a score of not less than C.
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.5 or equivalent
  3. B. Preparation to the First Year of Undergraduate Program

    Some Pathway Programs prepare students to reach the academic level necessary to be able to follow the academic courses, as well as the minimum English proficiency level as required by the university. They are called International Foundation Programmes in the UK and Canada, and Foundation Studies Program (or Preparatory Foundation Program”) in Australia. They are a “path” between secondary education and higher academic education (university). Australia also offers a shorter Pathway Program of 1 semester called Bridging Course.


  4. INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION PROGRAMME:

    Available in the UK and Canada

    In the UK
    Duration: 6, 9 months or 1 year (depending on the student’s level of English)
    Student Profile: This programme is designed for international students, finishing their high school degree and receiving a high school diploma, who have completed less than 13 years of education and who would like to enter the first year of an undergraduate programme at a British university but who do not meet the English language and academic requirements.
    Aim: The programme prepares students to the knowledge of a specific field studied in the first year of an undergraduate university programme and raises students to the level of English required by universities in the United Kingdom. It acts as a bridge between a student’s current qualifications and the university’s requirements. This programme can be delivered by specialist private or public colleges, or even by the same universities where students plan to study in the future. In this way, the programme also serves to familiarise students with British life, academic environment and culture since they have the possibility of already being assimilated into university life at the very heart of the campus.
    Content: The training is typically 36 hours/week (18 hours in classroom + 18 hours of independent work/ task performance):

    • In-depth study of 4 academic subjects required by the university according to the student’s chosen field of study (e.g. Business, Engineering, Law, Life Science)
    • Lectures, seminars, tutorials
    • Essays, class assignments, oral presentations
    • English language classes
    • Programmes to discover the local culture
    Benefits:
    The tutorials offer students more individual attention. They can discuss personal academic issues with their tutors who can give them some guidance on how to address each issue.
    Often foundation programme providers have partnerships with select British universities and can guarantee admission to one of these universities upon successful completion of the foundation programme.
    Many foundation programmes take place right on the university campus, allowing students to make full use of the university facilities (access to the library, sport facilities…).
    Requirements:
    • Minimum age of 16 or 17 years, depending on the school
    • Minimum IELTS score of 4.5 in total and 4.0 for each part of the test (this can vary according to the school)
    • Completion of 12 years of elementary/secondary education
    • Higher Secondary School certificate
    • Higher Secondary School transcripts
    • Reference letter from your high school teacher
    • Copy of passport and visa
    • Completed application form


    In Canada
    Duration: 1 to 2 academic years
    Student Profile: This course is designed for international students interested in pursuing their undergraduate studies at a Canadian university but who, after completion of their secondary school education, do not yet meet the English language and academic requirements of the university.
    Aim: The programme prepares students for the first year of an undergraduate programme in a Canadian university. It focuses on improving students’ academic abilities in order for them to adapt more easily to the Canadian academic environment and culture and helps students manage their general English skills. The course is offered by language schools, colleges and universities.
    Content: The subjects studied vary according to the student’s field of study (Arts, Business, Sciences…).
    Benefits: Students can enter this programme with a lower level of English than the one required for direct entrance at a university. The English level of the students will be greatly improved. Students will be able to adapt to an English-speaking academic environment and get an internationally recognized title, testifying to their level of English. They can also take courses for credit toward their future studies at the university.
    Requirements:

    • Completion of 12 years of elementary/secondary education
    • Proof of high academic performance at the high school level
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.0 and minimum TOEFL score

  5. FOUNDATION STUDIES PROGRAM (PREPARATORY FOUNDATION PROGRAM) /FAST-TRACK PROGRAM (9 MONTHS):

    Available in Australia

    Duration: 1 year (or 9 months, i.e. 30 to 36 weeks, for fast learners referred to as a Fast-Track Program
    Student Profile: This program is designed for non-native English speaking students who want to enter the first year of an undergraduate program at an Australian university.
    Aim: It helps students adapt to the academic environment and to life in Australia while preparing them to meet the academic and English requirements for study at a university in Australia. Students will have time to adjust to the Australian university learning process, language, way of life, and environment. The program is offered at Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions, at private training institutions and at TAFE (Technical And Further Education) Institutes, as well as by universities, on campus.
    Content: This program offers English language support classes, compulsory and elective subjects, usually divided into subject streams such as business, humanities or science studies, according to the student’s future specialization, lectures and tutorials with essays, reports, presentations and team projects.
    Benefits: Some courses offer flexible options, such as more than one start date throughout the academic year and programs with different levels of English or academic proficiency. Courses are often taught on campus, giving students an opportunity to use the university’s facilities (library, sports facilities…) and to meet Australian students. Successful completion of these courses can guarantee entry to the first year of a degree course in some Australian universities, and even to the second year of a related degree.
    Requirements:

    • Minimum age: 17 years
    • Completion, or near completion of, the equivalent of the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) in their home country
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.0-5.5 (may vary depending on the school)


  6. BRIDGING COURSE:

    Available in Australia

    Duration: short, usually 1 semester
    Student Profile: The program is designed for students who want to gain admission to a 4-year university or college degree, but who do not yet have sufficient knowledge. The program is especially useful for students who want to get back to their studies after having taken a short break.
    Aim: This program aims at providing students with the knowledge expected of them for their future university studies, quickly and intensively.
    Content: Lectures and tutorials
    Benefits: Students gain more expertise in their field of study in a very short time. They do not need to take a whole year program.
    Requirements:

    • Having completed secondary education
    • Having a minimum level of English (depending on the school)
  7. C. Preparation for entry to the second year of an Undergraduate Programme

  8. FOUNDATION PROGRAM (UNDERGRADUATE PATHWAY PROGRAM/ YEAR ZERO/ FIRST YEAR PROGRAM INTERNATIONAL):

    Available in the US

    Duration: from 1 academic year (9 months) to 2 years
    Student Profile: This program is for foreign students who want to enter an American university and who need to gain the required academic skills and level of English.
    Aim: This program brings foreign students to the English level required while ensuring that they also have the necessary academic skills for study at universities in the US. It prepares them for direct entry to the second year of an undergraduate program. It enables students to learn how to adapt quickly to living in a foreign country and integrate its culture, and aims at increasing the student’s English proficiency.
    Content: The program combines a thorough study of the English language with specialised subjects which will vary according to the student’s chosen field of study:

    • English language: reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, syntax, pronunciation, fundamental of speech communication, vocabulary, American culture, English composition
    • Academic subjects: Business, Engineering, Human Geography, Maths, Science, Sport Sciences, Technology, Visual Art
    Benefits: Courses can be delivered on the university’s campus, allowing students to take advantage of an excellent academic environment, interacting daily with American students, and to use the university’s facilities (libraries, sports facilities…). The program leads students to a direct entry to the second year of an undergraduate program.
    Requirements:
    • Minimum age: 17 years
    • Proof of a specific result on TOEFL and/or IELTS testing (depending on the school)
    • Completion of 12 years of elementary/secondary education

  9. DIPLOMA, ASSOCIATE DEGREE:

    Available in Australia

    Duration: approximately 2 years
    Student Profile: Particularly attractive to international students looking for practical, hands-on courses in their specific field before entering university and who do not yet meet the English level required by universities.
    Aim: Students having completed a Diploma or Associate Degree in a TAFE college or RTO are given credit toward their undergraduate degree and can enter directly into the second year of a university undergraduate program. The number of credits granted depends on the content of their vocational course and the number of places available in that particular undergraduate program at the university.
    Content: The program gives the student a well-grounded, specialised knowledge in the field of their choosing in combination with English-focused courses.
    Benefits: Some vocational training institutions have partnerships with specific universities and can guarantee students admission to a university. Students who complete this course can enter university with a lower academic and English level than the one required for university entry immediately after secondary education. Non-native English speaking students also have the possibility to reinforce their English skills at vocational institutions and to interact with native English speakers before entering an Australian university.
    Requirements:

    • Completion of their secondary education and obtention of a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) or equivalent
    • Transcript from their high school / secondary school
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.5, for most of the institutes
  10. D. Preparation for entry to the Third Year of an Undergraduate Programme

    Pathway Programs to enter the third year of an undergraduate program at university tend to be a path between studies in vocational education (institutions, community colleges, etc which prepare students for the job market through practical, hands-on training courses) and higher academic education (universities offering academic and more theoretical courses). In the UK, this programme is called HND Programme (Higher National Diploma Programme), whereas the US and Canada use the term University Transfer Program.


  11. HND PROGRAM (HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA PROGRAMME):

    Available in the UK

    Duration: 2 years (full time) or 3 years (part time)
    Student Profile: Designed for students who have a clear idea of exactly what they intend to do in their future career.
    Aim: Available at vocational colleges, this programme prepares students for their career in a specific industry (business, computer science, design, engineering, health, social care, …). It is on a par with the first 2 years of undergraduate study at a university. Upon completion of the programme, students can transfer to a full-time undergraduate degree and finish the last 2 years of the university programme.
    Content: Study of a specific subject according to students’ future career plan
    Benefits: Students become experts in a field of study. Completion of the programme allows students to transfer into the first, second, or third year of a university degree course.
    Requirements: Minimum IELTS score of 4.5, although a score of 5.5 is more favourable


  12. UNIVERSITY TRANSFER PROGRAM:

    Available in the US and Canada

    Duration: about 2 years
    Student Profile: International students away from home for the first time, or those for whom English is a second language, as well as for students wanting a Bachelor's Degree and who need more preparation for it.
    Aim: Instead of going straight to university after high school graduation, students can go to a community college and take the first 2 years of a typical 4-year university program. Students can then obtain an Associate Degree allowing them to transfer to a 4-year program at a top university where they complete the final 2 years of an undergraduate program.
    Content: The program gives students a more in-depth knowledge in their chosen field of study.
    Benefits: Students get the advantages of a college education:

    • Easier admission than for a university
    • Smaller class sizes
    • Lower tuition fees
    • More personal atmosphere
    Students have the chance to adapt to university level academics in a more intimate and closer environment, before going to university to take the advanced courses required by their degree.
    Requirements:
    • Minimum age: 18 years OR a high school graduate
    • High School Certificate (or equivalent)
    • Minimum SAT or ACT scores (vary according to community colleges)

2. Graduate Pathway Programs:

Students who want to pursue their studies through a postgraduate university program (Master’s Degree) can prepare by means of a graduate Pathway Program called Pre-Master programme.


  • PRE-MASTER PROGRAMME:

    Available in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia

    In the UK
    Duration: Usually 1 year
    Student Profile: This programme is for international students who do not yet meet the requirements of a Master’s Degree in terms of English language and academic skills, or students who need to improve their research and presentation skills.
    Aim: This programme aims at improving the student’s English level and academic skills as required by a university for admission to their Master’s Degree programmes. Furthermore, it familiarises students with the British way of teaching at a Master’s Degree level.
    Content: The programme focuses on English language skills in combination with the subject that the student plans to study for his Master’s Degree.
    Benefits: Students gain confidence as they improve their academic skills and deepen their knowledge in their specific field of study.
    Requirements:

    • Completion of an undergraduate degree in a recognised institution
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.5


    In the US
    Duration: 4 to 8 months (1 to 2 semesters)
    Student Profile: International students who want to prepare for a Master’s Degree at a university in the United States, and/or students who have decided to change their field of study after completing their Bachelor’s Degree. This program is also a good option for students who do not have an official TOEFL or IELTS score, or who need to train for the GMAT or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).
    Aim: Preparing students to pursue a Master’s Degree at a university, to reach the academic and English language levels required, and help students who have changed Majors to acquire the necessary knowledge in their new field of study before beginning their Master’s Degree. Provides academic credit towards the post-graduate program. It also allows foreign students to become familiar with the American culture and environment.
    Content: The program covers subjects that were not studied during the undergraduate program, but that the student needs to have for the Master’s Degree program.
    Benefits: Students can enter the program with a lower English level than the one needed for entry to a Master’s Degree program, and then improve their English language during this preparatory program. Courses include the foundation knowledge for their first year of Master’s Degree. If a student has changed majors, they can follow postgraduate courses in a totally different field of study. Furthermore, they gain academic credits which permit them to save time and money on their future post-graduate studies.
    Requirements:

    • Completion of the equivalent of a 4-year US undergraduate program (Bachelor’s Degree)
    • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) during undergraduate studies (as set by the school)


    In Canada
    Duration: Usually 1 academic year
    Student Profile: International students who want/need additional preparation for a Master’s Degree at a Canadian university, and for students who need to improve their English skills before pursuing their Master’s Degree.
    Aim: To prepare students for a Master’s Degree program at university and to help them adjust to the academic way of teaching at a postgraduate level. To allow students to reach the level of English proficiency required by the university at a post-graduate level. Degree. To grant students academic credit towards their Master’s Degree. To help foreign students adjust to day-to-day life in Canada.
    Content:

    • Academic and professional writing
    • Critical reading and thinking
    • Oral presentations and communication
    • Foundations for research
    • Team projects
    • Essays and reports
    Benefits: Students can enter the programme with a lower level of English than necessary for entry to a Master’s Degree programme and improve their English skills during this preparatory programme. They will also acquire the foundation knowledge for the first year of their Master’s Degree and gain academic credits which enable them to save time and money on their future post-graduate studies.
    Requirements:
    • Completion of the equivalent of a 4-year Canadian undergraduate program (Bachelor’s Degree)
    • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher during their undergraduate studies
    • Specified minimum GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Exam) score


    In Australia
    Duration: 9 or 6 months (for fast learners)
    Student Profile: International students who have completed their undergraduate studies and now want to prepare for a Master’s Degree at a university in Australia in terms of both English and academic skills.
    Aim: Preparation for a Master’s Degree program at a university and the academic way of teaching at a postgraduate level. Attainment of the English Language skills necessary for a Master’s Degree. Familiarise foreign students with Australian culture and environment. Provide academic credit toward the student’s Master’s Degree.
    Content:
    • English language courses
    • Courses aimed at acquiring necessary academic skills
    • Specialization modules allow students gain confidence to start a Master’s Degree
    Benefits: Students are guaranteed admission to the first year of a graduate program.
    Requirements:
    • Completion of a 3-year undergraduate program or equivalent
    • Minimum IELTS score of 5.5-6.0 or an equivalent TOEFL score

  • 3. English Language Pathway Programmes:

    Aside from academic pathways, there are programmes specifically designed to prepare students for the English level required by universities, such as the ESL Program (English as a Second Language program), the ELB (English Language Bridge) or the EAP (English for Academic Purposes).



  • ESL PROGRAMME (ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE PROGRAMME):

    Available in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia

    Level: Undergraduate
    Duration: about 5 months
    Student Profile: The programme is designed for foreign students who want to enter a university or college in an English-speaking country, but who don't yet have the level of English required by the university.
    Aim: It prepares students to enter a university or college in an English-speaking country by focusing on improving the student’s English skills to reach the level required by universities and colleges, while having a first approach with academic subjects and improving academic skills.
    Content: The programme includes English language skills, such as reading/listening, writing/speaking, and gradually integrates subjects of general education to English courses (music, physical education, mathematics, psychology, science, etc.).
    Benefits: The students get the English level required by universities and are thoroughly prepared for the academic topics and learning methods in universities and colleges abroad.
    Classes are smaller for a more individual attention.
    Students are immersed in the English language and culture.
    Requirements:

    • English as a Second Language Placement Exam (ESLPE): 1 hour essay to place students in the right course level
    • High school degree certificate or equivalent from a recognised institution
    • Minimum GPA (depending on the school)
    • Minimum IELTS or TOEFL scores (depending on the school)


  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE BRIDGE (ELB) OR ENGLISH BRIDGE PROGRAM:

    Available in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia

    Level: Undergraduate
    Duration: 1 year
    Students: This program is designed for foreign students who have yet to reach the English proficiency level required to enter a undergraduate university program.
    Aim: Students will get the English level required to enter an undergraduate university program.
    Content: English language study (reading/listening, writing/speaking)
    Benefits: Students will increase their academic English abilities to university level, as well as gain academic credits toward their university studies.
    Requirements:
    Minimum IELTS score (5.5 or 6.0 according to the school), minimum TOEFL score (depending on the school)



  • ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES (EAP):

    Available in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia

    Level: Undergraduate and Graduate
    Duration: Usually 1 to 2 semesters (6 months to 1 year)
    Students: The programme is for foreign students, speakers of English as a second language, who want to gain admission to an English-speaking university and to reach the required English level, or for foreign students already enrolled in a post-graduate programme but who would like to become more confident in their use of English.
    Aim: This programme brings the international student’s English to the level required so they can successfully enroll and study at a university in an English-speaking country.
    Content:

    • Listening skills in a college environment
    • Planning and writing reports and academic papers
    • Oral presentations
    • In-class discussions
    • Group projects
    • English vocabulary and grammar
    • Methods to sit formal exams
    Benefits: Students improve their writing, speaking, listening and reading skills and reach the required English level, according to university standards, by increasing their vocabulary, knowledge and fluency. They gain confidence to be able to communicate effectively in discussion groups. At the end of the programme, students have learned to analyse academic materials and to give their opinion fluently, logically and accurately.
    Requirements:
    • Minimum age of 18-19 years (depending on the school)
    • Completion of a Secondary School Certificate or equivalent (General Educational Development (GED) certificate) if under 18-19 years old
    • Placement test (in reading, grammar, writing and speaking) proving a minimum level of English


  • USEFUL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    English Tests recognised by English-speaking universities and colleges in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia


    In order to show proof of their English language proficiency to enter university, students can take several recognised English tests. Some of them, like the IELTS or the TOEFL, evaluate the student’s general English knowledge, while others have a particular focus on a specific field (business, maths…) like the GMAT or the GRE.


    1. English Language Tests:

    2. English Tests in specific fields:
      • GMAT: the Graduate Management Admission Test
      • GRE: Graduate Record Examinations

        The Graduate Record Examination is the most commonly required test for admission to postgraduate studies (master’s, doctoral, etc) in the US, Canada and Australia. There are 2 types of GRE: the General Test and the Subject Tests.
        The General Test is usually the one referred to when talking about the GRE, and consists in verbal and quantitative reasoning with analytical writing.
        The Subject Tests evaluate the student’s abilities/knowledge in their specific area of study during their undergraduate programme. 7 different disciplines are offered: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; Psychology. (The Computer Sciences Test was discontinued in 2013.)

      • FCE: First Certificate in English
      • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English)
    • Inesa (25): I think the service works really well. I have had...
    • Anne (36): I found all the information I needed on your site...
    • Attila (41): I am very satisfied. I found more relevant...