UCLA Ph.D. Physics Bridge Program

What is the Ph.D. Physics Bridge Program at UCLA?

The Ph.D. Physics Bridge program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA is an effort to recruit and retain promising underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduates to our Ph.D. program.  The program is intended for students with a bachelor's degree in physics or related field with a strong motivation to pursue a Ph.D. but who could additional coursework, training, research experience, and mentorship.

Admitted students receive full funding for two years to complete the necessary advanced undergraduate and core graduate coursework in a supportive, vibrant and intellectual environment.    Admitted students also gain the benefits of considerable mentoring.  Each student is assigned a faculty mentor with whom they meet regularly and gain valuable insights about graduate school and careers, a graduate student peer mentor, and a faculty research mentor who will help them hone their research interests, learn specialized research techniques, and navigate the process of cutting-edge research.

Bridge students will continue in the Physics Ph.D. program upon completion of the required coursework and receiving a pass at the Ph.D. level on the written physics comprehensive exam.

Who is eligible to apply?

Each eligible applicant must:

  • have a strong desire to pursue a Ph.D. in Physics at UCLA
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • have a bachelor's degree in physics or a closely related field
  • degree must be complete by the time the student would enter the program
  • students who are currently enrolled or have already completed a graduate program in physics, including a Master's degree, are not eligible to apply
  • not have been accepted to one or more physics graduate programs in the current academic year, either because they have not applied or have not been accepted
  • be committed to contributing to diversity in physics and in the department

How do I apply for the Bridge program?

Applications are done through APS at http://www.apsbridgeprogram.org/

What is it like to be a Bridge student at UCLA?

Bridge students are immersed in the world-class intellectual environment in which all UCLA Physics and Astronomy students are immersed. Bridge students are given time to complete necessary advanced undergraduate and core graduate coursework.  

Bridge students also benefit from substantial peer mentoring.  Before starting their first year as a graduate student, Bridge students are assigned both a general faculty mentor and a faculty research mentor to help them navigate the process of matriculating at UCLA Physics and Astronomy.  Every incoming student works with the undergraduate advisor, the graduate advisor, and the director of the program to chart a course of study for the first year in preparation for completion of core graduate coursework.

Every incoming student is awarded the Cota-Robles fellowship and is, therefore, fully funded for the duration of the two-year bridge program. In the summer prior to their first academic year, students are also awarded with participation in the Competitive Edge program, which provides them with research and professional development experiences. Summer funding will also be provided. 

During their first year, Bridge students begin executing their individualized plan of study, begin to engage in research with their faculty research mentor, and engage in social and professional activities.  During the summer following their first year, students engage in full-time research with their research mentor.  During their second year, Bridge students complete the necessary graduate coursework, continue research with their faculty research mentor and begin to prepare for the comprehensive exam.  The summer after their second year, students concentrate on research and preparation for the comprehensive exam the following fall quarter.  Students who successfully complete this two-year timeline of study and research will be well-prepared to enter the Ph.D. program in Physics at UCLA or at any other program of their choice.