Students who wish to study in Canada may first attend a prerequisite or preparatory program to prepare themselves for the conditions of their main study program. This is called a pathway program.
Pathway programs often take the form of a language course. In such a pathway program, a student may meet the language requirements of the main study program by completing a language course, rather than taking a recognized language test. While pathway programs are understood to include two stages, the first stage — for example, the language course — is usually 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 Program
When a prospective international student receives a Letter of Acceptance to a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI), in some 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 transfer to the main study program after completing the language course. There are two types of pathway programs for language courses:
Standard: A student undergoes a language course with a view to taking a recognized language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL, at the end. The language course may include preparation sessions for these tests. This type of program is known simply as a pathway program.
Seamless: Some receiving institutions have agreements with language schools to accept students who have finished the language course, without the requirement of recognized test results. This type of program is known as a seamless pathway program.