Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Eligibility

A: Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields include but are not limited to: American Indians or Alaska Natives, Black or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Pacific Islanders. Also, we consider applications submitted by individuals from social, cultural, economic, and/or educational environments that may have prevented entry into STEM graduate programs.

A: Yes, applicants who have completed a master’s program or have post-undergraduate professional experience are encouraged to apply to our program.

A: Our program is eligible to international students; however, Bridge scholars must be able to work legally in the U.S. at the time of applying to the program. Unfortunately, the Bridge Program cannot provide work sponsorship (e.g. J1 or H1B visas) for our international scholars. Typically, our international schools participate in the Bridge Program through the Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT). Please visit, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for more information about STEM OPT extensions.

A: Our most competitive applicants will have some research experience prior to applying to the Bridge Program. Previous research experience includes traditional research at your home institution, participation in summer research programs, research through coursework, or professional work experience. 

A: The Bridge Program is intended for applicants interested in applying to graduate programs in STEM disciplines. 

Applications, Admissions, and Onboarding

A: Typically, our applications are open from February to April. Please visit Application Information to learn more about what is needed to apply. Also, complete our inquiry form to receive updates regarding the start of our application season.

A: Neither the GRE General Test or Subject GRE Tests are required for admissions into the Bridge Program. The Bridge Program does provide GRE General Test preparation during the summer between the first and second years of the program.

A: Since the Bridge Program provides a two-year research experience, the most impactful recommendation letters are those from past and current research mentors. If you have not participated in any research experiences, please provide letters from professors and/or academic advisors who can write about your potential for succeeding in a research-intensive program. 

A: Selected applicants will be required to participate in an interview with our admissions committee, which typically consists of four to five faculty members. 

A: No.

A: Unfortunately, you cannot track your application online. If you would like to check the status/completeness of your application, you can email the program director, Kwame Osei-Sarfo at cubridgetophd@columbia.edu for an update.

A: Yes, you may reapply to the Bridge Program; however, you should indicate how your past application has improved.

A: Although the number may vary from year to year, we typically accept 10 – 12 scholars.

A: For the 2020 - 2021 academic year, the Bridge salary will be set at $40,600. Economics Bridge scholars' 2020 - 2021 salary will be set at $50,123.

A: Bridge scholars are hired as Non-Union Support Staff (NUSS) employees. Columbia University offers a wide range of benefits for NUSS employees, which include medical, dental, and vision coverage. Please visit Human Resources for more information about the benefits offered to NUSS employees.

A: At this time, we cannot provide housing for Bridge scholars. However, Columbia University Off-Campus Housing Assistance can provide resources to find housing options near the Morningside Campus.

Program Details

A: The Bridge program is a two-year post-baccalaureate program. If you plan to apply to graduate school during the first year of the program, you should seek another post-baccalaureate opportunity.

A: A Bridge scholar will enroll in STEM undergraduate and/or graduate courses that will strengthen his/her graduate applications. Bridge scholars are eligible to take up to seven credit hours (one to two courses) per semester. Note, we highly suggest that Bridge scholars take one course during their first semester of the Bridge Program to ensure that they can handle the transition to Columbia University. Applicants may visit Columbia University Directory of Classes to get an idea of courses offered at Columbia University.

A: Applicants should mention three to five potential advisors in their statement of intent. Once the applicant is accepted into the Bridge Program, we will reach out to potential advisors. Following this request, the Bridge program will facilitate a meeting between the accepted scholar and the potential advisor. This meeting will determine if the Bridge scholar’s qualifications and research interests will align with the advisor’s. Also, we want to ensure that the Bridge scholar will be placed in a supportive environment with direct mentorship. Although we do not have a pool of Bridge-specific advisors, prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the homepages of participating departments and investigate the research interests of CU faculty in those departments.

A: Participation in the Bridge Program does not guarantee admissions into Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Bridge scholars interested in graduate programs at Columbia University would need to apply to Columbia GSAS during the second year of the Bridge Program. However, the Bridge Program will give you an opportunity to interact with Columbia University faculty, which may improve your chances of admissions into a graduate program at Columbia University.

We provide extensive individual academic and professional counseling throughout the Bridge Program. For example, Bridge scholars are required to have individual monthly meetings with the Bridge Program's director. In addition, we place Bridge scholars in laboratory/working groups with a strong mentoring component.