Our Centre

The Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre at the University of Newcastle, Australia has a proud history of delivering flexible and supportive pathways for motivated and talented students - not just to gain entry, but to thrive in their field of study.

Equity of access to higher education has always been a fundamental part of the University of Newcastle’s ‘DNA’. Our origins can be traced to a small pilot program for 80 students, ‘Open Foundation,’ run by the Department of Community Programs in 1974. Today we are home to one of the oldest and largest continuously operating enabling foundation programs in Australia.

Our English Language Centre has been operating since 1989, specialising in teaching English to students from all over the world. We offer a wide range of intensive English language programs designed to help students achieve their goal of studying with the University of Newcastle, as well as providing opportunities to engage with the wider Newcastle community as part of our award-winning Student Experience Program.

Located within the Academic Division of the University, our governing board and staff work closely with faculty colleagues to deliver almost a fifth of the commencing undergraduate cohort (domestic and international) and a significant amount of postgraduate (international) for the institution. We are proud of the achievements of our students, many of whom go on to pursue further postgraduate and research higher degree qualifications.

We believe in the power of sector-wide collaboration and initiated the inaugural national conference of enabling educators (2004) and are heavily involved in the governance of national bodies driving the ELICOS sector, in particular English Australia. Our staff played a key role in establishing a national association of enabling educators and work tirelessly to build a community that informs excellence.

Pathways ? We are the largest provider of alternative entry programs in Australia
75% ? completing enabling students go on to study an undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle
18.4% ? of commencing undergraduate cohort made up of pathways students
4263 ? students enrolled in pathway programs
Top 7 ? Ranked English Language Centre in Australia for Overall Satisfaction
Top 6 ? Ranked English Language Centre in the in Australia for Learning

Pathway Programs

Our centre is committed to student-focused learning, with flexible and innovative delivery methods to ensure our students can find an option that is best suited to their educational goals, experiences and external environment. Our Pathway Programs are a major pillar in the University of Newcastle’s commitment to equity and excellence through widening participation, access, retention and success in Higher Education, particularly for students from low SES and first in family backgrounds who often suffer from social inequities and challenges.

We offer two Enabling Pathway Programs; Open Foundation and Yapug as well as credit-based pathways including our Diploma in Engineering. We are committed to teaching excellence, making our courses some of the most highly rated by students in the University.  They provide students with a means to access and succeed in a degree of their choice.

Preparatory Courses

In addition to our full enabling program, we deliver NUPrep Bridging and Refresher Courses for both undergraduate and enabling students designed to improve academic skills and subject knowledge prior to the commencement of semester. In 2021 we also introduced a new NUPrep Plus University Preparation Program, which combines a customised list of courses with added academic and peer mentoring for commencing undergraduate students.

Our English Language Centre has been offering English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) since 1989, and has established a reputation for excellence in English language education. We teach ELICOS for academic and general purposes at varying levels of proficiency.

Student Support and Outreach

We’re here to support students and our local communities. We offer Academic learning support for all students at the University to help them succeed as well as engage with our local communities to widen participation in higher education through our Children’s University and Uni4You programs.


The Centre has a proud history as a global research leader in the fields of access, equity and enabling education, and since 2013 the Centre has placed a considered focus on building research capacity, successfully doubling output during this time with academic staff who have become involved in, and led, successful research grant applications and important national research projects. In research and in teaching and learning, the Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre strives for excellence, champions equity and serves our communities to the best of our ability. We cordially extend an invitation to individuals and institutions both within Australia and abroad to connect and collaborate with the Centre.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.