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Bridging Program for Women

The School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at York University offers academic Bridging Courses for women who want to upgrade their writing and speaking skills and explore the possibility of university study.

  • Learn ... in a supportive group environment
  • Improve ... reading, writing and speaking skills
  • Explore ... your education options and potential
  • Prepare ... for future university study

Course participants must be 21 years of age or over, permanent residents of Ontario, and comfortable in both spoken and written English. A grade of 'B' or better offers admission to mature students to the Faculties of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Glendon in addition to some programs in other Faculties. The Bridging course is not appropriate if you require ESL instruction. If you have completed one full year or more of university or academic college studies, you may not need a bridging course as an admissions credential.


Upcoming Course:



191 Gerrard Street East (Gerrard & Sherbourne)

Toronto, Ontario

Course Day & Time:  Tuesdays, 6:00-9:00pm


Orientation Session: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 6:00pm

Course Dates:  Tuesday, January 26 - Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Fee: $150.00 + Books (Payable by cash only. Limited Enrolment)


For further information on the Bridging Program, please contact Celeta Irvin at the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies 416-736-2100 ext. 77818 or via email:


More About Bridging

Bridging courses, for many participants, make the seemingly impossible, possible. Individuals who would not otherwise consider, or who may not have had access to university studies discover that they can develop the skills and the confidence to continue their education.

In conjunction with the Admissions Office of York University, the application process is simplified. Participants who earn a grade of B or above in their Bridging course, are provided with an admissions credential to the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Prospective Bridging students must be over 21 years of age, must have been out of school for a minimum of 2 years, and must have landed immigrant status or Canadian citizenship.

Course Structure

Bridging courses normally span 13 weeks, with classes held for one evening of the week for 3 hours. Class size ranges from 15 up to 25 students, depending on community demand. Though other models are possible, and some of our courses have welcomed male participants, the majority of our courses have been designed exclusively for women.

Instructors are carefully chosen to be sensitive both to the needs of the community and/or workplace and to the academic standards of university-level education. All of our instructors have held or currently hold positions at York University, and are qualified to teach both content and critical skills.

A week before classes begin, there is an information session held at the site where the course will be taught. This allows participants to learn about the course schedule and material, to ask questions of the instructor, and also to register and purchase books. The fee for community based courses is $150 per students, plus the cost of reading materials. Some book sets are available on a lending basis to those in financial need.

Course Content

The course material, drawn from Canadian sources and written by women, focuses on issues and concerns pertinent to women and women's studies. Over the years, topics have included women's work, representations of women in the media, issues of ethnicity and equity, the construction of gender and women's sexuality. Participants have found the material relevant to their lives, and the open, supportive atmosphere essential to their individual growth, self-esteem, and academic self-confidence.

Students are given an opportunity to practice oral skills in group discussions and formal seminar presentations. They learn and are given an opportunity to apply and practice a range of strategies for reading fiction and non-fiction, for identifying and evaluating arguments, for analyzing an assignment, generating ideas, developing a thesis, and so on. In addition to in-class writing assignments and oral presentations, students are required to complete three formal writing assignments.


Bridging Book:

You Can Get There From Here: 25 Years of Bridging Courses for Women at York University

We are pleased to announce the availability of a book that chronicles the history, development and successes of the Bridging Program for Women.

The year 2006 marked the 25th anniversary of York University's Bridging Program for women. In 1981, York University initiated a unique and innovative pre-university "Bridging" Program designed and taught for women. Over two thousand women have graduated from the program., many of them going on to pursue post secondary and graduate degrees.

To commemorate and celebrate, the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies has published a book, You Can Get There From Here: 25 Years of Bridging Courses for Women at York University (edited by Ruby Newman and Andrea O'Reilly). This amazing volume includes a preface by Michele Landsberg, noted Canadian journalist and great supporter of the Bridging Program, and introductory chapters from Bridging Program founder, Shelagh Wilkinson.

The book is divided into three sections: the first section looks at the history of the program while the second section examines its pedagogy and curriculum. In the third section, thirty-six graduates recall their classroom experiences and the paths they have traveled since completing the program. This volume bears witness to the profound and lasting difference education makes in the lives of women.

This is an ideal book for professors, teachers, educators and the general public who are interested in and committed to feminist pedagogy, and pre-university education for women from all different walks of life, all with one common goal - to get an education.

All proceeds from book sales of You Can Get There From Here: 25 Years of Bridging Courses for Women at York University go to the Bridging Program for Women. Please purchase a copy and please encourage your library to shelve this important book on this landmark program.

The book costs CAD/US$10.00 and makes a wonderful gift for mothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, daughters... any woman who has pursued an education or who one day hopes to do so.

Please fax or mail the attached form with cheque or money order to:

Celeta Irvin
School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
206M Founders College
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
Telephone: 416-736-2100 x77818
Fax: 416-650-3900

Thank you for your support!