Overview for Prospective Applicants

The Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in STEM is a two-year training program for scholars that have completed their undergraduate programs of study and wish to pursue graduate study in a STEM discipline. Bridge scholars spend two years at Columbia University (Morningside Campus, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, or the Zuckerman Institute) gaining research experience, taking upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level courses, and participating in professional development activities. 

Unfortunately, we are unable to place Bridge Scholars in laboratories that are affiliated with Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Program Eligibility

  • A four-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale
  • A desire to apply to Ph.D. programs within two years of beginning the Bridge Program
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status

STEM Disciplines/Departments

*Applicants interested in Earth, Environmental, and Climate Sciences are encouraged to research potential advisors within the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Climate School, and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.

**Engineering consists of any program sponsored by Columbia Engineering. These disciplines include applied physics and applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering and engineering mechanics, computer science, earth and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and operations research, and mechanical engineering.

***Applicants interested in working at Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Insitute must select advisors that are affiliated with either the Departments of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and/or Psychology.

Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in STEM Timeline

Late Summer

  • Arrive at Columbia University and participate in orientation and HR onboarding
  • Meet research advisers, other Bridge scholars, and Bridge administration and staff
  • Register for undergraduate or graduate courses


  • Start research project(s)
  • Take undergraduate or graduate courses
  • Participate in professional development workshops and seminars
  • Attend monthly meetings with the director
  • Register for spring semester courses


  • Continue research project(s)
  • Take undergraduate or graduate courses
  • Attend professional development workshops and seminars
  • Attend monthly meetings with the director
  • Register for fall semester courses
  • Participate in the Year-end Annual Research Symposium
  • Year-end evaluation

In addition to the activities mentioned above


  • Continue research project(s)
  • Take a preparatory course for the GRE General Test 
  • Attend a GRE Physics Subject Test "boot camp" (for scholars in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics)
  • Develop preliminary lists of prospective graduate programs
  • Apply to graduate school open houses


  • Begin the second year of coursework
  • Take the GRE General and Subject (if applicable) Tests
  • Prepare and submit applications for graduate programs and fellowships


  • Continue the second year of coursework
  • Visit graduate programs and go on graduate interviews (if applicable)
  • End of program evaluation