About the US Pathway Program

The US Pathway Program (USPP) is a multi-component program established by the Consortium of North American Universities led by Northeastern University and Kaplan International. USPP prepares students for success by providing a unique, incremental transition to American university life.


Benefits of the USPP program include:

  • Up to 1 year’s worth of academic credit toward a bachelor’s degree
  • Dedicated academic support for success at US university
  • Classes taught using US university teaching styles on campuses in China
  • More affordable than direct admission to US universities
  • Simple application process, 3-day application decision, and applications accepted as late as September for same-year Fall entry

Learn about the innovative structure of the US Pathway Program.

Learn more about the USPP:

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How USPP works


Program structure

As a student in USPP, your US bachelor’s degree studies begin close to home.

Year 1: Fall and Spring terms in China

Your first 2 terms of USPP will be taught on one of our international campuses in China. CNAU-approved faculty use US teaching styles to help you become familiar with an American university classroom before you even set foot in the United States.

The shorter Fall term curriculum allows you to adjust to the USPP program, your instructors and life as a USPP student. Spring term courses channel you toward your area of focus, through one of 2 tracks:

  • Business and Humanities for business, arts, science, and social science majors
  • Engineering and Computer Science for engineering and computing majors

Learn more about Year 1 Fall and Spring terms.

Year 1: Summer Bridge term in the USA

With this foundation, you will travel to Boston for the Summer Bridge term at Northeastern University—an immersive experience designed to help you transition to life as an international student in the USA.

Learn more about the Summer Bridge term.

Progression to your US university

Following successful completion of the Fall, Spring and Summer Bridge terms, you will matriculate at your chosen US university. If the grades you earned in your Year 1 courses meet the minimum requirements of your university and program, you will be able to transfer up to 1 year’s worth of credits toward your degree.

Learn more about progression requirements.

USPP transferrable credit

Students can earn academic credits that are transferrable* to a US bachelor’s degree:

  • 6 credits in Fall term
  • 14 credits in Spring term
  • 12-14 credits in Summer Bridge

On completion of the US Pathway Program, up to 32-34 credits can be transferred into these majors.

*A minimum course grade of C is required to transfer credit to a CNAU institution.

Year 1 Fall and Spring terms

China Fall term courses

CourseTransferable credits*
Total Fall term credits6 credits
American Studies I2 credits
Calculus I for Science / Engineers4 credits
Career and Program CounselingNon-credit
English for Academic Purposes INon-credit
Information TechnologyNon-credit

Intensive English Program

Students who don’t pass the USPP English entrance exam may have the opportunity to participate in an Intensive English Program before USPP. This intensive English course is designed to give students the language ability and confidence they need to pass the USPP English test.

China Spring term courses

CourseBusiness and Humanities track*Engineering and Computer Science track*
Total Spring term credits14 credits14 credits
American Studies II2 credits2 credits
Business Statistics4 credits-
Calculus II for Science / Engineers-4 credits
Engineering Design-4 credits
English for Academic Purposes IINon-creditNon-credit
General Chemistry (no lab)4 credits4 credits
Principles of Microeconomics4 credits-

Timeline to US university matriculation


Start the US Pathway Program in China


Receive your CNAU admission decision


Complete Summer Bridge


Progress to your CNAU university

Timeline details

This example is a typical program structure, and may vary regionally depending on local holidays and class schedules.

  • Start your US Pathway Program journey with your in-country induction and orientation week. Meet staff and teachers, learn about the program structure and expectations, and get to know your new classmates.
  • After orientation week, enroll in the 9-week Fall term.
  • Fall midterm exams
  • Fall term exams signal the end of the first term.
  • After a short break, your 15-week Spring term begins.
  • Receive your Fall term grade point average (GPA) results and begin to consider which CNAU universities are most suitable for you.
  • Enjoy the Lunar New Year Festival holiday break in January/February
  • Between late January and early February, representatives from CNAU visit and share more information about their universities. Come prepared with lots of questions!
  • USPP staff provide counseling on university options, application processes and degree choices. Your Spring Midterm exam and Fall term final results are an important part of your admission decision.
  • With USPP staff guidance, submit your preferences for 3 CNAU universities.
  • Receive your university admission decision(s) and I-20 visa document by the end of the month.
  • Following Spring term final exams, your final grades are reviewed and your Summer Bridge schedule finalized. Time to pack for your move to the USA!
  • Apply for your US visa. The deadline to receive your visa is 5 days before the Summer Bridge program start date.
  • Travel to the USA for Summer Bridge. A crew of staff and volunteers is excited to welcome you!
  • Attend Arrival Week, designed to help you adjust to your summer term home and introduce you to the campus and city.
  • The 9-week Summer Bridge program begins. Classes such as Exploring America and Music of the USA teach you about American history and culture, and field trips introduce you to nearby places of importance.
  • A representative from your CNAU destination university visits to help you prepare for your transition following the Summer Bridge.
  • While your classes keep you busy, there is still time to enjoy fun activities and explore the city.
  • Summer Bridge term finals – and time to prepare for your next step!
  • Summer Bridge grades are reviewed and final progression decisions are made by CNAU.
  • Your Summer Bridge hosts have planned fun community volunteering activities and other excursions before a final farewell celebration at the end of the term.
  • Before the end of the month, it is time to move to your destination CNAU university!
  • Matriculate to your CNAU university, joining classes with American and other international students.
  • In as few as 32 months, you can earn an American bachelor’s degree.

Advantages of the US Pathway Program

  • In-country prep 0

    An innovative approach to US university study

    Your US university studies begin in your home country. Our program’s two terms of in-country preparation plus the Summer Bridge term in the USA are equivalent to the first year of an American bachelor’s degree.

    Learn more
  • In-country prep 1

    Specially designed curriculum

    The USPP curriculum is designed to provide the ideal mix of subject, study skills and English language preparation, and cultural learning.

    Learn more
  • In-country prep 2

    Real US university-level teaching

    To help students adapt quickly to US university teaching style, USPP is delivered using an authentic American college lecturing setup. All teachers are approved by CNAU, ensuring a high-quality, realistic learning experience.

  • In-country prep 3

    Small class sizes

    We limit the number of students in each class. This ensures high levels of personal attention and allows students to quickly develop a good working relationship with their teachers and classmates.

  • In-country prep 4

    English preparation

    Specialist English classes will prepare students to deliver presentations with confidence, take lecture notes and contribute effectively in class.

  • In-country prep 5

    Monitoring and counseling

    We monitor students’ academic development closely and provide feedback to both students and parents to recognize strengths and suggest areas for improvement. All students receive first-class counseling related to their choice of university degree, CNAU institution and future career.