APS Bridge Program

Bridge Sites

To accomplish the goals of the program APS will, over the course of the project, fund a set of Bridge Sites. These bridge sites will host students (APS Bridge Fellows) who typically would not gain acceptance into a physics doctoral program, to spend a period of 1-2 years after their undergraduate studies enhancing their academic and research skills before applying to a doctoral program.

Key Components

Successful bridge programs share certain interrelated key components, which build on each other to provide students with a complete educational experience, from recruitment and research experiences, to mentoring, application coaching, and progress monitoring through the PhD. More Information

APS Bridge Sites

The APS Bridge Program currently funds four bridge sites. More Information

California State University Long Beach

We offer a bridge to the PhD through our Master’s degree program. Between 2011 and 2013, 13 students (3 URMs) from our MS program were accepted into doctoral schools across the United States. As an APS Bridge Site we aim at increasing further the number of URM students entering a PhD program by providing a solid academic education in conjunction with practical research training in an environment of personalized guidance conducive to empower students to pursue their dreams. The structure of the department allows Bridge Fellows to integrate seamlessly into a program where students experience a culture typical of a small liberal arts college but in a large and diverse urban comprehensive university.

Program Contact:
Andreas Bill
CSULB Physics Bridge Program

Florida State University

The Department of Physics at Florida State University (FSU) has established a program to bridge students from Under-Represented Minorities (URMs) in Physics to a PhD program at FSU or elsewhere. Students will initially be appointed as research interns at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) in Tallahassee in the summer prior to enrollment. In their first academic year, bridge program (BP) students can enroll in advanced undergraduate courses in Mechanics, E&M, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics, or may enroll in the corresponding core graduate courses, depending on their level of preparation. After a second summer of research, students will enroll in a mix of core graduate courses and MS thesis credit, and will qualify for a thesis-based MS degree by the end of their second year. Students will receive a full stipend and tuition support, and will not teach until their second year in the BP. Any student who is successful in this course of studies and research would be admitted into the FSU PhD program, requiring completion of the remaining core courses, passing a written PhD qualifying exam in their third year, and dissertation research. This is expected to be true for essentially any other physics PhD program in the US.

Program Contact:
Simon Capstick
Department of Physics
315 Keen Building
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4350

The Ohio State University

A 1 or 2 year transitional M.S. program beginning in summer 2013. Students will enter OSU’s existing physics M.S. program, and eventually apply to a physics doctoral program there or at another institution. Students will spend the summer of their first year doing research and preparing extensively for the general and physics GRE. During the academic year, they will take graduate physics core courses and receive application coaching to prepare their applications for graduate school. The program also plans to implement a network of mentors for each Bridge Fellow, including academic, research and peer mentors, and emphasizes student networking and study groups to ensure success.

Program Contact:
Jonathan Pelz
Professor and Vice Chair
Graduate Studies and Research
(614) 688-3299

University of South Florida

A flexible 1 or 2 year bridge program focused in the areas of condensed matter physics, biophysics, and optics. We use individualized advising, and employ a faculty and peer mentor to help ensure success. Students enter research labs immediately, and take courses to solidify undergraduate physics. Many graduate level electives (experimental and computational) are offered without advanced physics prerequisites, allowing students to make immediate progress toward meeting the PhD requirements. A Professional Development course that focuses on grant/fellowship writing, leadership, collaboration, ethics, and other essential skills is a cornerstone of the program.

Program Contact:
Garrett Matthews
Physics Department
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620

Existing Bridge Programs

A number of other bridge programs exist for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in physics. These programs are not funded by APS, but share similar program goals and work closely together to achieve the goals of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities that receive Ph.D.s in physics. Descriptions and requirements for these programs are below:

Columbia: Bridge to the Ph.D.

The goal of the 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.

Program Contact:
Summer Ash
Assistant Director
Bridge to the Ph.D. Program
(212) 854-4608

Fisk-Vanderbilt: Master-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program

A joint program in astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and materials science. We are looking for students with the persistence and passion to pursue the training they need to be ready for the Ph.D. The Bridge Program provides something truly unique, a family atmosphere, with caring mentors combined with high-level research.  By joining the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program you will connect with a community of over 60 students, more than 90% of whom have successfully continued on toward the PhD at Vanderbilt and other top institutions and have won major fellowships from NSF, NASA, and the Ford Foundation. Tools and Resources for Practitioners 

Program Contact:
Dina Stroud
Executive Director
Fisk Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program
(615) 322-2828

MIT: Physics Bridge Program

A one- or two-year post-baccalaureate program at MIT to facilitate the transition to graduate school. Participation is open to physics students who have completed a bachelor's degree and have participated in the MIT Summer Research Program. The Bridge Program is part of our effort to increase the number of PhDs awarded in physics to underrepresented minority students. Participants take classes, join a research group, and receive mentoring to improve the likelihood for a successful graduate school application to MIT or other schools.

Program Contact:
Krishna Rajagopal
Associate Head for Education
MIT Bridge Program
(617) 253-4827

University of Michigan: Applied Physics Imes-Moore Fellows Program

A Master’s degree bridge program designed to prepare students for doctoral studies in interdisciplinary research in applied physics, physical sciences and engineering. This two-year program is designed to strengthen the students’ preparation in the fundamentals of physics and will provide a broad range of research opportunities. Our goal is to bring promising students to the program and prepare them to succeed at the doctoral level in Applied Physics and related fields at the University of Michigan.

Program Contact:
Cynthia McNabb
University of Michigan Applied Physics Imes-Moore Fellows Program
(734) 936-0653