A Pathway Program in Canada is the one where students who wish to study in Canada first attend a prerequisite or preparatory program in order to prepare themselves for the conditions of their main study program.

Pathway programs are often in the form of a language course. Under pathway programs, students may meet the language requirements of the main study program by successfully completing a language course, rather than taking a recognized language test.

Stages of Pathway Programs

Pathway Programs include two stages. The first stage is usually the language course and is referred to as the ‘pathway program’, and the second stage — for example, a college diploma course or a bachelor’s degree — is referred to as the ‘main study program’.

Types of Pathway Programs

When a potential international student receives a Letter of Acceptance to a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI), in certain cases the offer is conditional upon the student proving his or her language ability in English or French. In this case, the international student may first attend a language course as a pathway program and then followed by that transfer to the main study program after completing the language course. There are two types of pathway programs for language courses. Have a look at the two programs:

Standard Pathway Program:

Under this program type a student undergoes a language course with a view to take a recognized language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL, towards the end. The language course includes preparation sessions for these tests.

Seamless Pathway Program:

Some receiving institutions have agreements with language schools to accept students who have just finished the language course, without any type of requirement of recognized test results. This type of program is known as a seamless pathway program.

The LOA may be conditional upon the international student completing an academic upgrading course. This condition may occur if the student has not completed the prerequisite courses required for the main program, or if secondary school in the student’s home country is not deemed equivalent to a Canadian secondary school. In such a case, the student may complete an academic upgrading course as a pathway program, before transferring to the main study program.

In order to ensure a smooth transfer between the pathway program and the main study program many universities and colleges in Canada have agreements with language schools and other institutions. Usually, a pathway program is taken at a different institution from the main study program. Occasionally, the pathway program and the main study program take place at the same Designated Learning Institution.