Program Overview

The Bridge to the Ph.D. Program aims to enhance the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in STEM. The Bridge Program is an intensive research, academic, and mentoring experience for post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into graduate school. Recent Bridge Alumni have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Columbia University, but also to Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Cornell University, Northwestern University, the University of California-Davis, the University of Chicago, and Weill Cornell Medical College.

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 2018-2019 salary for Bridge RAs is $39,800 per year. Program participants are also provided with $1,500 per year to support professional and educational expenses (examples include travel to professional conferences and the purchase of textbooks), and, as full-time employees, are eligible for University benefits. Note: the salary and education stipend will be $50,123 and $2,000, respectively for Bridge participants in economics.  

Additionally, Bridge participants enroll in one to two courses 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 Director (Dr. Kwame Osei-Sarfo). The Program also organizes a number of professional development workshops, provides access to GRE test preparation, and partners with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to ensure success while at Columbia and to facilitate application to Ph.D. programs.

Follow these links to find out more about our current Bridge scholars and about our alumni.

Program Disciplines & Eligibility

The Bridge Program is intended for students who are interested in pursuing research and graduate studies in STEM disciplines. The Bridge Program accepts applications from students who are interested in the following subject areas:

  • astronomy;
  • biological sciences;
  • earth and environmental sciences;
  • engineering;  
  • economics;
  • chemistry;
  • physics;
  • psychology.

The Bridge Program does not offer positions in clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational, and personality psychology. The Bridge Program is not appropriate for those intending to pursue M.D./Ph.D. degrees.

The Bridge Program strongly encourages applicants from historically underrepresented groups, including but not limited to:

  • Blacks/African Americans;
  • Hispanics;
  • Native Americans/Alaska Natives;
  • Pacific Islanders.

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 Program's Director, Dr. Kwame Osei-Sarfo, as soon as you have identified them, so that he can partner with you in the application process.

You can also read an article about the Bridge Program in the March 2011 issue of Physics Today. The Columbia Daily Record also featured an article about the Program in June 2012.