Foundations Pathway

Diverse minds open doors

The Faculty of Arts and Science is pleased to announce a new initiative that supports the transition from high school to university. Students will have an opportunity to take unique courses that inspire curiosity and provide an open dialogue for discovery. This pathway is intended for students who are determined to earn a university education but have faced challenges in an academic environment. Through our customized classes, students gain the skills and knowledge required for continued success as they work towards their Bachelor of Arts or Science degree. The pathway admits students applying directly from secondary school who have an average below the 70% admission requirement.

Engaging Courses

This suite of courses provides students with an exciting opportunity to choose topics that are meaningful, relevant and applicable. Students will explore "Big Questions" from diverse perspectives, encouraging a dialogue between disciplines and modeling a productive learning environment where learning becomes a tool for building a better world, achieving academic success, and creating meaningful career opportunities. 

In addition to the Arts or Science courses specific to the students area of study, students will take a Foundations Pathway core course in each semester and choose 2 of 3 Foundation Pathway transformation courses. The Foundation Pathway core and transformation courses have been uniquely designed by experienced faculty who have committed to being mentors and guides. These skill-building courses, that bolster academic success, take place in a small-class environment. 

Foundations Pathway Core Courses

Diverse Mindfulness (FYFE 1001) & Diverse Minds (FYFE 1002)

Through the study of a topic in the Humanities, Sciences, or Social Sciences, students learn how to approach and engage with the world academically. Students examine and apply theory drawn from various disciplines to various worldviews. Topics vary from year to year.

  • FYFE 1001 - Fall: Diverse Minds
  • FYFE 1002 - Winter: Diverse Mindfulness
  • (First Year Foundations Core Courses - 6 credits total)

Foundations Pathway Transformation Courses

Choose 2 of 3 Transformation Courses 

Critical and Applied Thinking (FYFE 1011)

Students become familiar with the rules of logic, quantitative, and qualitative analysis, and their practical applications, including improving of learning techniques. Students analyze typical situations in social, economic, political, and other contexts. Students assess credibility of various sources of information using the rules of logic and qualitative analysis.
(3 credits)

Building a Better World (FYFE 1021)

This course gives students the opportunity to imagine and analyse different ways to make life better for themselves, their fellow humans, and the animals and plants that humans share the planet with. Students engage with aims and methods of different disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities in order to discover new possibilities for change, both idealistic and practical.
(3 credits)

Social Media: Untangling the Threads (FYFE 1031)

This course analyzes the effects of social media on both society and media. Students evaluate their own consumption of and participation in various platforms of social media and engage with current debates about the harms and benefits of widespread use of social media in various countries and cultures.
(3 credits)

Experiential Learning

Student's personal and academic growth takes place through experiential learning in transformation courses that highlight the importance of community involvement, civic responsibilities and global citizenship. Experienced faculty members will be mentors and guides as they teach skill-building courses to bolster academic success and foster meaningful relationships with the Foundations Pathway students.

Lectures, guest speakers, and workshops will nurture an environment where students can develop critical thinking skills and analyse global events through the lens of their chosen discipline. 

Your path, your way

In first year, students take a reduced full-time course load and receive support from a team focused on teaching the skills required to thrive in an Arts or Science degree. Upon successful completion of the Foundations Pathway, students will have earned up to 24 credits towards their Arts or Science degree. This strong foundation will provide tools and strategies that ensure continued academic success at Nipissing and offer Foundations Pathway students an easy transition directly into the second year of their degree program.

View our Arts and Science degrees here.

The reduced load enables students to participate in workshops and activities that support personal development. Students will also have access to:

  • an advising team that will assist in creating a customized academic plan;
  • a small-class environment with one-on-one faculty-student engagement; 
  • one-on-one guidance and access to various supports and services offered; and
  • support from the top-rated Student Services team in Canada (Maclean’s University Ranking). 

Student Testimonials

“...this program is exactly what every student should take who has any doubt in their minds about what they want to pursue.  This program and these courses are a great introduction to what University is like and a great way to introduce you to the workload difference from high school.  The teachers get to know you and are really friendly and helpful for any questions you may have.”

- Caden, Foundations Pathway Student 

"…the discussion is applicable to all classes and real life. It lets us discuss in a smaller group on relatable topics which I enjoy. I like the hands on aspect of it. Not everyone learns the same, and I think this program is a perfect example. I like the different vibe of this course oppose to my other electives."

- Brooklyn, Foundations Pathway Student

"The first year foundations class has been a very beneficial course to take this year. This course has taught me so many skills that I would consider critical in my education yet have not been discussed in any of my other courses! Skills such as how to effectively study, time management and how to get the best out of your lectures has been so helpful and applicable to all of my other courses. I would definitely recommend this class to all first year students."

- Jessie, Foundations Pathway Student

Nipissing University offers all prerequisite courses required for admission to Medical School

Frequently Asked Questions

Click through the tabs below to clarify any questions you may have about Foundations Pathway. 

If you have any other questions not listed, please do not hesitate to contact us! 

How do I get into the Foundations Pathway?

You apply to Nipissing University for a program within the Faculty of Arts & Science. If the average of your final grades falls below the 70% admission requirements, you will be offered to enter into your program though the Foundations Pathway. We recognize that your secondary school marks are not the most accurate indicator of your abilities and we want to help you successfully reach your goal of obtaining a university education! 

Click here to view the variety of degree programs within the Faculty of Arts & Science. 

Why can't Foundations Pathway students take a full course load?

We want to help you transition smoothly into university. We do not want you to be overworked or overstressed. We want to ensure you have enough time to access all of the amazing support services, programs, and workshops at Nipissing as these will positively contribute to your ability to succeed. Additionally, we want you to have time to enjoy yourself as a Nipissing University student. We value our student’s mental health and well-being.

Will I qualify for financial assistance?

Of course! Our students take a reduced full-time course load. You are still a full-time student and therefore qualify for financial assistance for full-time students.

Click here to learn more about the Student Financial Services at Nipissing. 

Does the Foundations Pathway add a year onto my university education?

Nope! After year one, you will have earned 24 credits toward your degree. This is only 6 credits less than a full course load (the equivalence of one full-time course). Most of our students make up these credits either online, in future years or in the spring/summer semesters.

Will I be able to take courses other than the Foundations Pathway courses?

Definitely! All of our Foundations Pathway students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to design a timetable that sets them up for future success in their area of study. In first year, students will enroll in 12 Foundation Pathway credits. The remaining 12 credits are encouraged to be taken in a way that will best allow the student to transition smoothly into the second year of their program.

What types of things will I learn in the Foundations Pathway courses?

Our courses have been designed by experienced faculty who strive to be your mentors and guides in first year. They have designed the courses to address meaningful topics that you will find relevant and relatable to your life. Through these topics, they will take the time to explicitly teach you skills such as: note-taking skills, study skills, time management, organizational strategies, academic reading/summarizing, research and referencing, stress management, coping strategies, and mindfulness.

Can I still play sports and participate in athletics?

Absolutely! Our students qualify for varsity athletics (assuming they maintain their grades while participating in athletics). We strongly encourage students to make the most of their time here at Nipissing and to gain the full university experience.

Click here to learn more about Nipissing Athletics.  

Contact Us

Foundations Pathway,
Faculty of Arts and Science
100 College Drive, Box 5002,
North Bay, ON P1B 8L7
705-474-3450 ext. 4315