Bridge to Ph.D. Program in the Natural Sciences
The goal of the Bridge to the Ph.D. Program is to enhance the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in the natural sciences. To achieve this, the Bridge Program provides an intensive research, coursework, and mentoring experience to post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into Ph.D. programs.
Bridge participants are hired as full-time Columbia University research assistants (RAs) for up to two years and conduct research under the mentorship of faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students. The current salary for Bridge RAs is $34,030 per year. Program participants are also provided with $1,500 per year to support professional and educational expenses (examples include travel to professional conferences or graduate school interviews, application or course registration fees, or the purchase of books), and, as full-time employees, are eligible for University benefits.
Additionally, Bridge participants enroll in one course per semester at Columbia that is related to their future field of study, and attend monthly one-on-one progress meetings with the Program's Assistant Director (currently Dr. Summer Ash). They do not pay tuition for these courses but are responsible for related registration and course fees. In partnership with Columbia's School of Continuing Education, the Program provides access to GRE test preparation, writing workshops, time management courses, and other services designed to ensure success while at Columbia and to facilitate application to Ph.D. programs.
To find out more about our Bridge participants, click here.
You can also read an article about the Bridge Program in the March 2011 issue of Physics Today.
Program Disciplines & Eligibility
The Bridge Program is intended for students who are interested in pursuing research and graduate studies in natural science disciplines. The Program accepts applications from students who are interested in the following subject areas:
- biological sciences;
- earth and environmental sciences;
Note that positions in clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational, and personality psychology are not available through the Bridge Program. This program is not appropriate for those intending to pursue M.D./Ph.D. programs.
Note to Columbia University PIs: If there are students in your lab who are strong candidates for the Bridge Program, please reach out to the Bridge Director, Marcel Agüeros, as soon as you've identified them, so that he can partner with you in the application process.
Applicants to the Bridge Program must have:
- a four-year degree from an accredited college or university (students who will graduate with a four-year degree in the spring of 2013 are also eligible);
- a minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale;
- a demonstrated commitment to apply to Ph.D. programs within two years of beginning the Program;
- U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
The Bridge Program strongly encourages applicants from historically underrepresented groups, including but not limited to:
- Blacks/African Americans;
- Native Americans/Alaska Natives;
- Pacific Islanders.
The application deadline for the Bridge Program is May 1, 2013. The number of slots available for scholars entering the program in 2013 is yet to be determined. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by June 1, 2013, and those accepted to the Program must be able to begin working as full-time RAs during the month of July 2013.
To apply, please submit the following:
- cover letter introducing the candidate and the application;
- current curriculum vitae;
- official undergraduate transcript;
- two-page statement of intent (double-spaced). The statement should outline the candidate's qualifications (including prior research experience), scholarly interests, and long-term education and career goals. Statements should also identify several labs the applicant is interested in working in;
- two letters of recommendation, preferably from research mentors or academic instructors.
Note: The cover letter and/or statement of intent should address the applicant's demonstrated commitment to fostering diversity in the natural sciences.
Complete applications should be sent to the following address:
Marcel Agüeros, Ph.D.
ATTN: Bridge to the Ph.D. Program
550 W. 120th Street
New York, NY 10027
Bridge Program Participants, 2011-2012. Back row, left to right: Claribel Nuñez, Juliana Agudelo, Steven Mohammed, Carlos Garcia. Front row, left to right: Kirsten Frazer, Corey Perez, Erick Andrade, John Pamplin II, Evan Hamilton, Raven Harris.
The Bridge Program is supported by the National Science Foundation through grant AST-1015491. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.