Pathway Curriculum

Our students "learn by doing"

Pathway student taking notes

Pathway uses a “learn by doing” approach. We promote self-advocacy and use individualized support to accommodate the different learning styles of students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Pathway courses are designed to develop career interests, workplace etiquette, and job application and interview skills. Courses include training in life skills with a strong emphasis on practical learning.

At Pathway, our students receive the benefits of a UCLA college experience. The program features a curriculum of core courses, audit courses on UCLA’s main campus, UCLA Extension courses, and internships for our students to choose from.

Students who successfully complete the program receive an award of completion in Learning and Life Skills, and are invited to attend the annual UCLA Extension graduation ceremony at the historic Royce Hall. 

Skill-building areas

Pathway’s strength lies in our carefully structured and evolving curriculum. Courses are comprised within the following skill-building areas:


Pathway students earn an award of completion from UCLA Extension that includes successful participation in a combination of required coursework and electives. Students may elect to participate in courses offered through UCLA Extension, UCLA Recreation, or auditing approved UCLA classes.

health and nutrition

Career Exploration and Work Readiness

All Pathway students will participate in a structured internship, typically during their second year. Most students experience two different working environments. Internship sites are developed based on student interest and skill levels and are designed to prepare students for careers after Pathway.

Life Skills

While participating in Pathway, students receive life skills instruction from our partner, Level Up Solutions.

Staff work with students to develop essential living skills to prepare them to live as independently as possible upon graduation. Instruction occurs in the student apartments and throughout the community.

Required Courses

Time Management and Organizational Skills I

Students complete an inventory of how they spend their time, explore tools for effective planning and scheduling of time, and learn how to better avoid distractions. By setting realistic goals, correcting time-wasting behaviors, and managing stress, this course aims to increase students' energy levels and improve their productivity.

Time Management and Organizational Skills II

Students explore why they came to college and develop personal goals and plans to get the most out of their college experience. Students will also analyze how they spend their time, explore tools for effective planning and scheduling of time, and learn how to better avoid distractions. By continuing their work on setting realistic goals, correcting time-wasting behaviors, and managing stress, this course aims to teach students how to advocate for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and better prepare for life after Pathway.

Students learn to: 

  • Acquire practical tools to employ in navigating college, the workplace, and independent living
  • Identify current time management and organizational habits, and learn to set and manage goals to improve performance in these areas
  • Explore and apply time management/organizational tools, self-advocacy skills, and motivational tips
  • Understand scheduling and prioritizing methods as well as proper study skills

Health and Nutrition I, II, III

A series of three courses, students receive information and strategies for healthy living. Students will learn the benefits of physical activity, exercise, and healthy food choices in order to increase their commitment to exercise and good nutrition. 

Students learn to:

  • Understand and differentiate between healthy and unhealthy lifestyles
  • Critically analyze the information presented on food nutrition labels, and use this information to make smart food purchases
  • Learn what it means to engage in proper nutrition and fitness, and set individual goals for both
  • Acquire fitness skills and apply these through weekly hands-on training at the UCLA John Wooden Center

Healthy relationships allow for individuality, bring out the best in people, and invite personal growth. This course teaches Pathway students concepts and techniques to improve relationships with themselves and others. Emphasis will be placed on sexual interaction, communication, and consequences of choices in adult relationships.

Students learn to:

  • Identify concepts and techniques to improve personal relationships with yourself and others
  • Understand human sexual anatomy and physiology, sex, conception and contraception, and sexual identity within society
  • Understand and differentiate between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships
  • Enhance communication skills by engaging in discourse on communication and consent in relationships

Career Development I, II, III

This series of student-directed courses prepares Pathway students for their fieldwork experience by focusing on a variety of career exploration activities. Upon an initial evaluation of a student's career readiness and skill levels, activities include setting realistic career goals, preparing effective resumes, participating in mock interviews, and behaving and dressing appropriately in the workplace. Internship and/or job development options will be pursued upon mastery of these activities and/or skills.

Students learn to:

  • Explore individual interests and skills and understand how to set short-term and long-term career goals that align with such interests
  • Draft, revise, and edit professional resumes and portfolios for use in current and future job application processes
  • Understand and apply proper application process etiquette, including effective interview and job research techniques
  • Identify good communication skills and gain confidence in making oral and written presentation

Elective Courses

Students may choose from the following three opportunities to enroll in elective courses.

  • UCLA Recreation
    All Pathway students receive a membership to use the UCLA Recreation facilities, including fitness classes. 
  • UCLA Extension
    Students may elect to take Extension courses, some of which may carry college credit. Past Pathway students have also earned their certificate in additional subjects from UCLA Extension, such as Early Childhood Education or Bookkeeping.
  • UCLA
    Pathway students are welcome to audit undergraduate UCLA courses in any subject they choose. These courses allow our students to experience the lecture-style classes of a major university.
Academic advising at pathway

Academic Advising

Each Pathway student is assigned a staff member that acts as their academic advisor. The purpose of academic advising is to guide the student in making academic decisions, taking into consideration their personal, educational, and post-Pathway goals.

Academic advisors are the go-to person for academic issues, such as class selection, registration, accommodation requests, performance issues, and progress towards program completion.



Educational Coach Support

As a part the college experience, Pathway students are paired with a UCLA undergraduate who provides academic support and peer mentorship.

We consider this to be one of the highlights of the Pathway program, as it enables further inclusion on UCLA's campus for our students.

Pathway students in the classroom


Ready to join us?

Applications are now being considered for Fall 2022 Commuting Students

Residential applications for Fall 2022 are closed. Applications are still being considered for Fall 2022 full-time and part-time commuting students.

Apply Now

Some of my most wonderful memories come from the amazing internships that I was able to participate in. In my second year, I took the bus three days a week to Santa Monica to intern at State Senator Fran Pavley’s office. I learned so much working in an office and holding a job.

Courtney Vinson
Pathway Graduate

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Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

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