Bridging Programs at York University (Policy and Guidelines)

Legislative History: Approved by Senate: 2013/04/25

Approval Authority: Senate

Signature: Harriet Lewis


1. Definitions

1.1 Bridging Program

A bridging program has one of two purposes; it provides either:

  • academic preparation and support, language skills and/or experiential knowledge  necessary to enter and succeed in a post-secondary education program;
  • a mode of career-path education for students who hold degrees from abroad and require professional experience in the Canadian context.

Bridging programs contain courses for academic credit and may be supplemented by non-credit activities. Such programs are normally housed in an academic unit at the University.

1.2 Bridging Course

A bridging course is a university-preparation course with an academic curriculum that is offered to mature students as a means of preparing for the intellectual challenges of a university education, successful completion of which is recognized as a basis of admission to a degree program at the University. See the Senate Policy on Bridging Courses.

1.3 Courses for Academic Credit

Courses for academic credit in a bridging program are courses which have been otherwise approved for academic credit. Each Bridging Program is responsible for determining which courses are acceptable and satisfy the program requirements.

1.4 Non-credit Activities

Non-credit activities are designed to supplement the courses for academic credit in a bridging program or provide instruction for students to help meet the necessary level of performance. Each bridging program is responsible for determining its non-credit content.

2. Policy Statement

York University is a socially responsive university committed to accessible education and social justice. It shall be the policy of the University to offer bridging programs (i) as a means of providing access to, or furthering prior, post-secondary studies; and (ii) providing program supports for internationally educated professionals.

3. Approval Authority

Bridging programs as defined in Section 1 above and categorized in Section 4.1 below are established upon approval by Senate on recommendations from its Committee on Academic Standards, Curriculum and Pedagogy (ASCP), which oversees the application and evolution of this policy. Consistent with the York University Quality Assurance Protocols and Procedures (YUQAP), proposals for new bridging programs fall under the category of Major Modifications and require the submission of a Proposal Brief as outlined in the YUQAP.

4. Guidelines

4.1 Role of Bridging Programs

Bridging programs at York University provide access to University degree and certificate programs for various cohorts of students. Specifically, programs may be structured to provide one of the following specific outcomes:

i. a basis of admission to a university degree program by bridging the gap between prior education and requirements for admission to the degree program;

ii. a pathway for admission to a university degree program for CAAT diploma graduates with academic credits granted toward the completion of a degree program;

iii. an opportunity for internationally educated professionals seeking to augment their prior education in the Canadian context.

The programs may be designed as either a combination of courses for academic credit and non- academic activities, or consist solely of academic credits. The academic credits will be counted towards a degree upon students’ admission / confirmation of admission to a degree program. They may be offered as either full or part-time programs.

The structure and academic standards of individual programs shall be established in accordance with the Categories and Criteria of Bridging Programs, Section 4.2 below.

4.2 Categories and Criteria of Bridging Programs

The four categories of bridging programs currently offered by York University are the following:

4.2.1 Bridging Program to University Degree Studies

Definition: Normally a one-year (two-term) program that provides access to degree programs for mature students who do not otherwise have the academic qualifications required for admission. Typically such programs are offered as a Certificate of Completion program (see Senate Certificate Legislation).

Criteria: Programs include a combination of courses for academic credit and non-credit activities. There shall be a minimum of 12.0 and a maximum of 18 academic credits. Students must achieve a minimum cumulative grade point average of C (4.0) in the academic credit courses and a “pass” in the non-credit activities to be eligible for admission to a degree program at York, and to have the academic credits counted towards a degree program.

4.2.2 Provisional Admission Bridging Program to Enhance Language Proficiency

Definition: Normally a one-year (two-term) program that provides provisional admission to degree programs for direct-entry students who require further language instruction to achieve the level of English required for the University’s admission requirements. Students are admitted to the University with the condition of satisfying the English language requirements within the next 12 months.

Criteria: Programs include a combination of courses for academic credit and non-credit language instruction. Applicants must achieve a minimum score of 5.0 on the IELTS (or equivalent) to be eligible for the bridging program. A maximum of 9 academic credits may be taken during the program. Upon satisfaction of the language proficiency requirements, students’ admission to the degree program is confirmed. The courses for academic credits will be counted towards degree program requirements.

4.2.3 Pathway Programs into University Degree Programs

Definition: A program consisting of academic credits for qualified graduates of a college (or equivalent) offering a pathway for admission to the second or third year of an undergraduate degree program at York with transfer credits. The focus of Pathway Bridging programs is to address the gap between the program learning outcomes of the college diploma and the university degree program to ensure students meet the degree level expectations of the degree program. In such programs, students are granted academic credits toward the completion of a degree at York in recognition of the earned College diploma, completion of the academic credits at York, and the satisfaction of the learning outcomes gap between the diploma and the degree. Typically such programs are offered as a Certificate of Completion program (see Senate Certificate Legislation).

Criteria: Individual programs define:

i. The number of academic course credits necessary to address the gap between the learning outcomes of the college transfer credits and the university degree program, with a minimum of 12 academic credits required;

ii. The total number of academic credits granted towards the completion of the degree upon successful completion of the bridge program. University Residency Requirements for degree programs must be met.

The minimum grade point average (GPA) required in the bridging program for admission to the degree program at York shall normally be the GPA required for eligibility to continue in the specific degree program.

4.2.4 Bridging Programs for Internationally Educated Professionals

Definition: A program consisting of courses for academic credits for internationally educated professionals (IEP) to gain foundation skills and an orientation to the Canadian context to help obtain employment commensurate with their qualifications. Typically they will be offered as an undergraduate stand-alone Professional Certificate program.

Criteria: Programs consist of a minimum of 24 academic credits, 18 of which must be at the 3000-level or above. Variations to the minimum standards may be approved for programs designed to meet specialized needs or requirements of particular professions. Candidates for admission will hold a degree from a recognized non-Canadian university. Students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or greater for successful completion of the bridging program.

Note: Other kinds of bridging programs may be subject to Senate approval. The University Secretariat, in consultation with the Senate Academic Standards Curriculum & Pedagogy Committee, will advise on the application of this policy.

4.3 General Regulations

4.3.1 Academic Regulations Applicable to Bridging Programs

With the exception of the Provisional Admission Bridging Program, the University’s bridging programs are offered as non-degree certificate programs. As non-degree programs, they fall outside of the academic rules which govern degree programs. Thus, the following academic regulations apply to bridging programs, with the exception of the Provisional Admission Bridging Program which is governed by the students’ degree program rules and regulations.

4.3.1 (i) Enrolling in Additional Courses for Academic Credit to Meet GPA Requirements

Upon conclusion of a bridging program, students whose grade point average is below the standard required will be permitted to enrol in a maximum of 9 additional credits to meet the program’s required GPA. New courses, repeated courses, passed courses and failed courses will count towards the total maximum number of attempted course credits. These courses must be taken at York University.

4.3.1 (ii)   Senate Pass / Fail Policy

The Senate Pass / Fail Policy is not applicable to courses for academic credit in a University bridging program.

4.3.1 (iii) Senate Policy on Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit

The Senate Policy on Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit is applicable to courses for academic credit in a University bridging program.

4.3.1 (iv) Deferred Standing

Students in bridging programs are eligible to apply for deferred standing in courses for academic credit when they are unable to write their final examination at the scheduled time or to submit their outstanding course work on the last day of classes. In such cases, students complete a Final Exam/Assignment Deferred Standing Agreement form and reach an agreement directly with the course director for an alternate final examination date or for an extension to the deadline.

4.3.1 (v) Academic Petitions

Students in bridging programs are eligible to submit petitions pertaining to a course for academic credit (e.g., for late withdrawal / late enrolment) to the Faculty offering the course in question.

4.3.3 (vi) Grade Reappraisals

Students in bridging programs may with sufficient academic grounds request to the relevant department that a final grade in a course be reappraised. The Senate Principles Regarding Grade Reappraisals shall apply.

4.3.1 (vii) Religious Observance and Accommodation

The Senate Policy on Religious Observance and the companion Accommodation Guidelines apply to University bridging programs.

4.3.1 (viii) Residency Requirements

Students will complete all courses for academic credit and non-credit activities for bridging programs at York.

4.4 Admissions Applications

Students seeking admission to a bridging program must submit a written application to the University’s Office of Admissions.

4.5 Transcript Notation

The successful completion of a bridging program certificates will be noted on a student’s transcript.