AGU Bridge Program
The AGU Bridge Program offers students from historically marginalized populations the opportunity to attend institutions that are interested in supporting the continuation of their academic education in geoscience Master’s and Ph.D. programs.
AGU Bridge Program
The Bridge Program increases opportunities for students from historically marginalized populations to obtain graduate degrees and create a network of peers, mentors, and advisers to support and serve them before, during and after grad school. The program is open to those who have not applied to graduate school or those who applied and were not accepted.
As part of the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN), the Bridge Program defined standards for recruiting, admitting and retaining students to develop, adopt and share the best inclusive practices. AGU works as a community with this national network to provide opportunities for students and participating institutions. Download our flyer and learn more.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants Nos. 1834540, 1834545, 1834528 and 1834516. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Requests for Bridge Partner Proposals will open this summer
Check back in June for the 2022 AGU Bridge Partner Request for Proposal.Contact us
AGU Bridge Program Partner Institutions
The AGU Bridge Program is an asset to institutions seeking to increase diversity in their departments and the larger geosciences community. By working together, we can create a more welcoming environment in the Earth and space sciences for everyone. Congratulations to the 2021 AGU Bridge Partner departments, announced in a recent From the Prow post. The 15 partners selected in 2021 join the original cohort from 2019, announced in a 2019 Eos article, and the 2020 cohort, announced in a 2020 From the Prow post. With the addition of the 2021 partner cohort, the AGU Bridge Program now has a total of 46 partner departments.
Colors represent the year an institution became a partner
Blue pin – 2019
Green pin – 2020
Purple pin – 2021
AGU Bridge Program Partner Benefits
Access to the AGU Bridge Program student applicant database.
Recognition by AGU of the department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Earth and space sciences.
Recommendation of the department’s supportive post-baccalaureate educational environment to prospective and current Bridge Program students, students from underrepresented groups, and others.
Secure a five-year partnership with the potential to renew.
In addition to the benefits listed above, Bridge Program Partners will also receive access to AGU Bridge Program staff, veteran Bridge Program Partners, and other subject matter experts to provide resources and strategies for supporting historically marginalized students in graduate programs.
Application for Bridge Program Partner
AGU is focused on nurturing a positive culture that supports diversity as well as continued education in geosciences. When institutions are accepted as an AGU Bridge Program Partner, they are helping to increase the diversity in their departments and our larger geosciences community. By working together, we will create a more welcoming environment in the Earth and space sciences for everyone.
We encourage graduate programs that have demonstrated a commitment to working with diverse students and supporting them as graduate scholars to join the Bridge Program as a Partner Department. The application is free. Applicants must be U.S. based institutions that grant a master’s or doctoral degree in geosciences.
AGU Bridge partner proposals are reviewed annually. A request for proposals opens in July and closes October 15th. Please refer to the 2021 proposal template and request for proposal instructions for reference.
Review the attached Bridge Program Dos and Don’ts for tips on how to submit a successful AGU Bridge partner proposal.
Interested students & eligibility
Students with degrees closely related to geosciences should apply to the program. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student in the geosciences and identify with a historically marginalized identity, this program is for you!
Before applying, we recommend reviewing the eligibility since advanced undergraduate core geoscience requirements are required which may include courses in advanced calculus, math or other appropriate courses.
Students without undergraduate geoscience degrees must include compelling reasons for how their studies have prepared them to successfully pursue a graduate degree in the geosciences in their application.
The Bridge Program application is open to applicants who did not apply to a geoscience graduate program, or, applicants who applied to one or more geoscience graduate programs, but did not accept an offer or commit to a specific department/program in the current academic year. If applicants are waiting to be notified about acceptance into a graduate school program, they should still apply for the AGU Bridge Program.
Successful applicants to the AGU Bridge Program must meet the following criteria:
Attain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in geoscience or a closely related discipline by the time they would enter the AGU Bridge Program.
Satisfy additional requirements of individual Bridge Program institutions, such as minimum GPA or GRE scores. Note: Institutions have different requirements. Applicants may be asked to submit additional materials if admitted to programs that require them.
Students who identify with the following historically marginalized identities are encouraged to apply: Hispanic, Black/African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian.
Be a U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident cardholder, or have current enrollment in the DACA program.
Frequently asked questions
Are students that have already attained a master's degree still eligible to apply to the AGU Bridge Program?
Eligibility for the AGU Bridge Program states that students should hold a degree, either bachelor's or master's in the geosciences or a closely related discipline. Note that students who have already attained a master's degree in the geosciences must meet all other eligibility requirements. This includes not receiving an offer of admission into a doctoral program.
Do students receive stipends if accepted into a program and if so, in what amount?
The AGU Bridge Program does not presently offer funding to successful applicants nor to participating institutions, however, these institutions typically offer financial support, typically comparable or identical to stipends received by other graduate students at the institution. Once students receive graduate program offers, students should consider whether the offered financial support is sufficient for their needs.
Are women specifically included as an underrepresented minority?
Although women of all racial and ethnic groups are underrepresented in geosciences and many other STEM fields, the specific focus of the AGU Bridge Program is to increase the number of Ph.D.s awarded to African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian students irregardless of gender. Students who fall under these racial and ethnic minority groups are encouraged to apply to the Bridge Program.
Deadlines to Remember
Deadline for all application materials.
(Students must submit their application by 31 March 2022, to allow enough time for faculty recommendations to be submitted.)
April - May
Applicant interviews and offers
April - May
Completed applications and submitted recommendation letters will be reviewed by AGU Bridge partner departments. Departments will contact applicants to schedule interviews during a specific window of time (dates vary slightly each year but typically the interview window begins in mid-April). After the interview period has closed, departments send out offers of admission to students on specific offer dates (dates vary slightly each year but generally begin in April and close in May). Offers of admission will be sent directly from partner department faculty/staff to applicants. Applicants will be given a deadline to accept or decline any offer of admission.
After submitting an application, it is vital to consistently check the email listed on the submitted Bridge application. If using a school email on your application, be sure to confirm that this email will continue to be viable after graduation.
The official application review and offer period closes in May and this is when most offers are sent, however, some departments may continue to make a limited number of offers for fall enrollment throughout the summer. Accepted AGU Bridge Fellows are onboarded into the program in July.
Learn more about mentoring, inclusive practices, advancing equity in the geosciences and how you can get involved.
- AGU Ethics & Equity Center curates and shares resources, including workshops and trainings, for cultivating a diverse, equitable and inclusive scientific community in the Earth and space sciences.
- National Association of Geoscience Teachers DEI Resources from the NAGT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, is a compiled list of organizations, guides, reading materials, and various media about DEI practices in higher education.
DEI in Geosciences Data, Statistics, and Reports
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Data & Statistics
- Geoscience Numbers, Equity in Graduate Education (a collaboration between IGEN and the California Consortium for Inclusive Doctoral Education (CCIDE) project) gathered data regarding the representation of historically marginalized students in the Geosciences (Numbers, Data on general STEM)
- Diversity in Geosciences, from the American Geosciences Institute, shows demographic data in the geosciences from higher education to the workforce
- No progress on diversity in 40 years Bernard, R.E., Cooperdock, E.H.G, a published paper on demographics and diversity in geoscience doctorate programs over the last 40 years
Reports and Articles on DEI in STEM/Geoscience
- Race and racism in the geosciences a published article in Nature from Kuheli Dutt on racism, bias, and individual responsibility
- Moving Beyond the Business Case for Diversity EOS article by Rebecca Haacker, Melissa Burt and Marissa Vara on reframing equity for equity and individual sake instead business and productivity
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Earth and Space Sciences. Special issue of AGU Advances including multiple published papers on trends, climate, call to actions, and best practices/guides
Where to Start
How Departments & Institutions Can Get Started
- FAQ of Doctoral Education from IGEN Research Hub, contains quick information on diversity in science, best admission practices, and impacts of the Bridge programs
- An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations by Ali, H.N., Sheffield, S.L., Bauer, J.E. et al. On systemic racism in the geosciences and how to combat it.
- To GRE or not to GRE: FAQ questions, answers, and cited sources on using the GRE in graduate school admissions. Also read GRE in Geosciences Nature articles - discusses current perspectives in the geosciences - and #GeoGRExit EOS article on why programs are dropping the GRE
- Highlighting altruism in geoscience careers aligns with diverse US student ideals better than emphasizing working outdoors published article from Carter, S.C., Griffith, E.M., Jorgensen, T.A. et al. on reframing to increase diverse recruitment and interest in the geosciences
- Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program Toolkit compiled their lessons learned, strategies, and tools to inspire and provide concrete guidance for other practitioners in the field seeking to develop similar programs. To access these resources, you must fill out their form.
- Mentoring365 is a safe virtual mentoring platform for those interested in the Earth and space sciences (ESS) community. You can become a mentor or mentee, no matter your expertise, interest or location, and connect with others to help with career search, skills, exploration, and navigation. (Mentors/Mentees)
- Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) (IGEN partner) develops, implements and studies evidence-based and culturally aware trainings, facilitations and communities for research mentoring relationships. (Mentors)
- The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM Online Guide from National Academy Of Sciences with resources, tips, and tools on effective mentorship (Mentors)
Student & Faculty Relationships
- Equitable Practices For Writing, Reading, And Soliciting Letters Of Recommendation, a guide from Equity in Graduate Education University of Southern California (Mentors/Mentees)
- Writing Reference Letters for People With Disabilities, authored by Michelle Cooke, University of Massachusetts Amherst, AGU Bridge Partner department (Mentors/Mentees)
- Resources for Supporting Graduate Student Wellbeing, from IGEN Research Hub, a curated list of mental health and wellness resources (Mentees/Mentors)
Best Practices for Faculty
- Toilet stops in the field: An educational primer and recommended best practices for field-based teaching published article from University of Birmingham Earth Sciences Department professors, for more Field-based teaching tips check out Ten Steps to Protect BIPOC Scholars in the Field - Eos By J. Anadu, H. Ali and C. Jackson
Learn about some of the affinity groups in geosciences. Click on the links to get involved and learn more.
- 500 Queer Scientists
- 500 Women Scientists
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
- Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Geosciences (AAPIiG)
- Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG)
- Black In Geoscience (BiG)
- Black in Marine Sciences (BiMS)
- Black Women in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Sciences (BWEEMS)
- Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN)
- Geoscience Alliance (GA)
- Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science (MS PHD’S®)
- National Association for Black Geoscientists (NABG)
- National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)
- Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
- Society Of Latinos/Hispanics in Earth and Space Science (SOLESS)
- Society of Exploration Geophysists (SEG) Women’s Network (SEGWN)
The AGU Bridge Program is part of the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN), a partnership of over 30 societies, institutions, organizations, corporations, and national laboratories. Learn more about the network and other partner institutions through IGEN’s Partner page. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants Nos. 1834540, 1834545, 1834528 and 1834516.
First Year PhD Student in California| Bridge Fellow
[The Bridge Program is ] a huge influence on my career, I ended up studying the topic I do because of meeting my advisor through the Bridge Program.
[I would recommend this program to other students in the future because ] It’s a great way to explore new opportunities and avenues!
First Year PhD Student in Northeastern United States| Bridge Fellow
[I would recommend it because ] This program will help improve diversity.
First Year PhD Student in California| Bridge Fellow
[The Bridge Program ] has played a defining role in my career... I have my dream job working as researcher.
I would absolutely recommend the bridge program to any one who is interested and motivated to pursue a PhD or masters. The program has shown they truly care about our success and make us part of a community that is committed to our success.
Dr. John Gierke, Michigan Technological University| Bridge Partner
Dr. Steven Lower, Ohio State University| Bridge Partner
The AGU Bridge helped us do a better job recruiting (minoritized students) in the regular admission window.
The AGU Bridge Program is helping to boost diversity even when students don't come directly through the Bridge program.