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AGU Bridge Program

The AGU Bridge Program offers underrepresented students the opportunity to attend institutions that are looking to help them continue their academic education in geoscience Master’s and Ph.D. programs.

AGU Bridge Program

The Bridge Program increases opportunities for students from underrepresented 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.

Student applications open mid-December

Please check back then for updates.

Learn more

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 Blue pin – 2019

Green pin Green pin – 2020

Purple pin Purple pin – 2021

AGU Bridge Program Partner Benefits

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Access to the AGU Bridge Program student applicant database.

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Recognition by AGU of the department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Earth and space sciences.

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Recommendation of the department’s supportive post-baccalaureate educational environment to prospective and current Bridge Program students, students from underrepresented groups, and others.

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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 support strategies for aiding underrepresented students in graduate programs.

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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 templatepdf icon and request for proposal instructionspdf icon for reference.

Review Tips for submitting a successful AGU Bridge partner proposal.

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Interested students & eligibility 

Students with degrees closely related to geosciences should apply to the program. If you are an undergraduate or graduate underrepresented minority student in geosciences 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.

Eligibility requirements

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 receive acceptance by any 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:

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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.

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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.

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Underrepresented minority students including Hispanic, African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian are encouraged to apply.

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Be a U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident cardholder, or have current enrollment in the DACA program.

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Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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

31 March

Deadline for all application materials.

(Students must submit their application by 31 March 2022, to allow enough time for faculty recommendations to be submitted.)

Early April – Mid-Summer

Applicants notified of offers

Early April - July

When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email regarding your application status. Partner institutions will contact students to schedule interviews. Student applicants should plan to be available during this time. Students accepted into Bridge Programs will receive admission offers from April through July, through direct email contact with institution graduate directors or AGU Bridge Program staff.

Although most offers go out in May and June, some institutions may make offers for fall enrollment later in the summer. As such, you should be sure to 1) Check that the email listed on your Bridge application is one that that you will use after graduation and that you check often, and 2) Keep an eye out for contact from institutions throughout the summer. The application cycle closes in early September, and no offers with be made after this deadline.

Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN)

The AGU Bridge Program is part of the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN), an effort to develop, adopt and share inclusive practices for recruiting, admitting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in STEM Ph.D. programs. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants Nos. 1834540, 1834545, 1834528 and 1834516.

Please review the following documents to learn more about the project’s findings and available resources. These documents highlight best practices for persons and institutions not directly involved in the program that are interested in advancing goals similar to those of the AGU Bridge Program and IGEN.

  • In August 2019, a brief document pdf icon was put together to communicate IGEN’s goals and methodology.
  • This document pdf icon from the IGEN Research Hub draws from published research and demonstrated community successes to answer questions about the positive impacts of increased diversity in graduate education programs.
  • This guide pdf icon, written through a partnership with the University of Southern California and IGEN, provides readers with tips for writing, reading, and soliciting letters of recommendation.

The Equity in Graduate Education Team (which is a collaboration between IGEN Inclusive Practices Hub, IGEN Research Hub, and the CCIDE project) have put together some data regarding the representation of minoritized and marginalized students in the Geosciences. Please visit the Equity in Graduate Education website to learn more.

Additional Resources

  • IGEN Equity in Graduate Education – Faculty are encouraged to visit this site to learn more about effective practices and change strategies that can promote the advancement of equity in graduate education.
  • Article from Nature – As various academic disciplines debate whether or not to continue using the GRE, this article discusses current perspectives in the geosciences.


First Year PhD Student in California

| Bridge Fellow
[One thing that should not be changed about the Bridge Program application process is ] The ability to apply across different fields with just one application.

[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
[The Bridge Program ] has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

[I would recommend it because ] This program will help improve diversity.

First Year PhD Student in California

| Bridge Fellow
[One thing that should not be changed about the Bridge Program application process is that ] Most of the questions asked served as great opportunities for us to talk about our circumstances and it allowed us to be seen from a whole perspective rather than one dimensional students.

[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
The recent Bridge Program Leaders meeting reminded me that I wanted to share with you how grateful we are to be an AGU Bridge Partner. One experience for us during the review/selection cycle from last year was the increased visibility our program gained from the Bridge Application and Review process. None of the applicants that we interviewed had heard of [our] university before we contacted them for the interview. Our participation as a Bridge Partner is a very effective way for us to become more visible to students in other regions of the country. We are very grateful to you and AGU for developing and maintaining this effort and look forward to increasing the diversity of students in our graduate programs and, eventually, professionals in our discipline.

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.

Dr. Oliver Timm, University at Albany

| Bridge Partner
[The] program offers exciting opportunities to actively participate [by] increase[ing] the non-traditional/underrepresented groups in our STEM-related academic field.

Dr. Nievita Bueno Watts, Humboldt State University

| Bridge Partner
The AGU Bridge program has afforded our recent graduate an opportunity we had not thought to pursue. So thank you, AGU, for your support of our underrepresented students.


AGU Staff Headshot Asher

Pranoti Asher

Assistant Director, Grants and Education Programs

202.777.7522 | [email protected]

AGU Staff Headshot Kostyu

Eva Kostyu

Project Coordinator, AGU Bridge Program • Talent Pool

202-777-7354 | [email protected]