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AGU Bridge Program

The AGU Bridge Program’s mission is to advance the Earth and space sciences in the United States by increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who receive related doctoral degrees.

About the program

AGU is one of five leading scientific societies that have formed the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN), an organization with the vision: "To achieve equity for underrepresented groups in doctoral degree attainment in physical sciences."

As part of a national effort by the IGEN, the AGU Bridge Program was created with the mission to increase the number of Earth and space science Ph.D.s awarded to underrepresented minority (URM) students, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

By creating sustainable transition programs and a national network of doctoral granting institutions that provide substantial mentoring for students, more URM students will be able to successfully complete Ph.D. programs.

The AGU Bridge project incorporates practices from programs that have strong evidence of success in supporting URM students. The AGU Bridge Program will also establish links between minority-serving and doctoral-granting institutions through research activities, collaboration, and personal contacts. Since many of today’s doctoral students will become tomorrow’s academic, industrial and government leaders, educating more URM PhDs will have a multiplicative effect in educating and inspiring students at all stages in the system and will help address persistent disparities.

You may download a copy of our AGU Bridge Program promotional flyer to print and share.

If interested, please contact Pranoti Asher, Manager, Higher Education, at [email protected].

The AGU Bridge Program leadership team recognizes that to reach the goal of eliminating the achievement gap between undergraduate and graduate participation, it is essential to build a large base of institutions that can admit and retain underrepresented ethnic and racial minority (URM) students through an AGU-led student application process.

The AGU Bridge Program Bachelor’s and Master’s student applicant database provides access to a unique talent pool for departments in the geosciences that would ensure a supportive pairing between the student and partner institutions.

Partner Institutions are departments that have demonstrated that they will provide a supportive, bridge-like treatment of students. This designation allows us to recommend supportive programs to interested students and helps departments committed to Bridge Program principles recruit talented students to their programs.

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AGU Bridge Program Partner Benefits

  • 1
    Access to AGU Bridge Program Bachelor’s and Master’s student applicant database (an annual recruitment effort by the AGU to identify URM students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in the geosciences)
  • 2
    Public recognition by AGU of the department’s commitment to diversity in the Earth and space sciences
  • 3
    Endorsement of the graduate program to URM students in Bridge Programs and to others who contact AGU to inquire about possible recommendations for departments that have supportive postbaccalaureate educational environments
  • 4
    Featured on AGU and AGU Bridge Program websites
  • 5
    Access to individuals in the project and at existing bridge sites who are knowledgeable about support strategies for URM students in graduate studies
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Becoming an AGU Bridge Program Partner Department

Becoming a Partner Department is free. All universities that grant a master's or doctoral degree in geoscience are eligible to apply.

Partner Department applications are reviewed annually by members of selected AGU committees and AGU Bridge Project management. Deadlines for applications are in late October.

The Request for Proposals for Partner Institutions and template to apply will be made available soon.

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How can departments benefit from the AGU Bridge Program?

The AGU Bridge Program believes in nurturing a positive culture that supports diversity as well as study. We encourage graduate programs that have demonstrated commitment to working with diverse students and supporting them as graduate scholars to join the Bridge Program as a Partner Department.

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AGU Bridge Program Partner Benefits

  • 1
    Access to AGU Bridge Program Bachelor’s and Master’s student applicant database (an annual recruitment effort by the AGU to identify URM students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in the geosciences)
  • 2
    Public recognition by AGU of the department’s commitment to diversity in the Earth and space sciences
  • 3
    Endorsement of the graduate program to URM students in Bridge Programs and to others who contact AGU to inquire about possible recommendations for departments that have supportive postbaccalaureate educational environments
  • 4
    Featured on AGU and AGU Bridge Program websites
  • 5
    Access to individuals in the project and at existing bridge sites who are knowledgeable about support strategies for URM students in graduate studies
Green mountains and grassland surrounding a small pond

Becoming an AGU Bridge Program Partner Department

Becoming a Partner Department is free. All universities that grant a master's or doctoral degree in geoscience are eligible to apply.

Partner Department applications are reviewed annually by members of selected AGU committees and AGU Bridge Project management. Deadlines for applications are in late October.

The Request for Proposals for Partner Institutions and template to apply will be made available soon.

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Which students are right for the Bridge Program?

The AGU Bridge Program is appropriate for undergraduate students in the geosciences who can contribute to the diversity of the geosciences, are driven in their study, and would benefit from additional consideration from Ph.D. programs in the Earth and space sciences.

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Information for Student Applicants

The AGU Bridge Program is open to prospective African American, Native American and Hispanic students who meet the eligibility criteria, exhibit academic promise, plan to pursue a doctoral degree in geoscience.

The Bridge Program aims to improve access to, and culture of, graduate education for all students, with emphasis on those underrepresented in doctoral programs in the geosciences.

Is the Bridge Program for Me?

The ideal candidate for this program will be a current or former undergraduate geoscience student, who for various reasons does not have the necessary coursework, research experience, or guidance to successfully apply for admission and complete a geoscience Ph.D. program. Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, drive, and potential to complete a rigorous graduate program in the geosciences.

If you are already enrolled, or completed a graduate program in the geosciences, you do not qualify for acceptance into the AGU Bridge Program.

Underrepresented minority students including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans are strongly encouraged to apply.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen/permanent resident to apply?

Since the AGU Bridge Program is primarily funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation, students selected for funding through the AGU Bridge Program must be US Citizens or permanent residents. However, if you fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, you may apply to have your application circulated to our sites. Although you cannot receive AGU funding, some sites may offer alternative sources of funding.

If I have a Master's degree am I still eligible?

If your Master's degree is in the geosciences, and you have not been able to get an offer of admission into a doctoral program and are a US citizen or permanent resident, we can circulate your application to a number of institutions. You should apply through the Bridge Program application website.

If your Master's degree is not in geosciences, but you have an undergraduate degree in geology or a closely related field (e.g., environmental science, geotechnical engineering etc.), then you would be eligible for the AGU Bridge Program. You should apply to the program through the Bridge Program application website.

Are women included as underrepresented minorities?

Although women are underrepresented in geosciences and some STEM fields, the focus of the AGU Bridge Program is to increase the number of Ph.D.s in the geosciences awarded to underrepresented minority (URM) students, including African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students. Those who fall under these racial and ethnic minority groups are encouraged to apply to the Bridge Program.

Is the General GRE required?

Minimum scores are not required for the General GRE, and you are not required to have taken the tests in order to apply to the AGU Bridge Program. However, individual institutions have their own graduate school requirements, and you may be required to submit scores for these exams if you are admitted to their program. You may need to find the specific program you are interested in order to find requirements for each institution.

Is there a minimum GPA required?

There is no minimum GPA required by the AGU Bridge Program to apply. However, individual Bridge institutions might have their own university or departmental GPA requirements. In the Bridge Program model program in physics, it was found that for promising students, site leaders will work to waive their institution's GPA requirement so you should not consider this a firm rule.

You may need to find the specific program you are interested in order to find requirements for each institution.

Is there a fee to apply?

There is no fee to apply to the AGU Bridge Program. If you are accepted into a graduate program, you may be asked to formally apply to the institution you plan to attend.

Should I skip applying to grad school and just do this?

The AGU Bridge Program encourages all students to apply to graduate school through the usual process. Our program is intended to help students who have not received an offer from a graduate program or who, for whatever reason, have decided not to apply. While we expect that most students who apply get offers from one or more programs, it is not a guarantee, and you may find that the program where you gain admittance is not well suited to your goals.

Your first effort should be to choose an appropriate mix of graduate programs spanning "reach" schools to those that are more on your "safety" list. Only choosing the very best universities in the country may be a laudable goal, but may also be a recipe for rejection, as these institutions receive many hundreds of applications for a very small number of admitted students. Talk with your undergraduate advisor, research mentor, or other Ph.D.-level geoscientists for advice on where to apply. You might also want to contact faculty at a desired institution to ask about your chances of admission.

How many programs will see my application?

We send all eligible applications to AGU Bridge Partners (Bridge Partner names will be published in December 2019). Following the consideration of applications by all of these institutions, the students that did not receive or accept offers will have their applications circulated to a larger group of graduate programs for their consideration. These institutions are called Partner Departments and have been vetted by the AGU Bridge Program. The number of approved Partner Departments will be determined in December 2019.

Acceptance into Master's and Ph.D. programs at Bridge Partner Departments does not come with funding through the AGU Bridge Program, although institutions typically tend to offer financial support.

Should I apply to other bridge programs as well if I am interested in an interdisciplinary field; e.g. geology/physics?

If you are interested pursuing a research-based doctoral degree in an interdisciplinary field that intersects with the geosciences one other Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) related fields, complete the AGU Bridge Program application and send an email to [email protected] (Subject: Interdisciplinary Bridge Application) stating explicitly that your application should be considered for review by a specific and related discipline that is part of the Inclusive Graduate Education Network. AGU would forward your application package to the corresponding IGEN partner for dissemination to their Bridge Partner Departments.

What is the deadline for applying?

The deadline for completed applications is generally in March. Students are encouraged to submit complete applications well before the deadline to avoid technical issues. Please view the student page for more information about the specific deadlines for each application year. Keep in mind that we need your complete application by this time. This includes your application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Please allow some time (usually at least two weeks) to make sure your letter writers are able to get their letters uploaded before the deadline.

When will I hear back about my application?
When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email regarding your application status. Students accepted into bridge programs will receive admission offers in May and June, through direct email contact with institution graduate directors and 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) Make sure 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.

I finished my degree 3 years ago, can I apply?

Yes, you can apply even if you completed your bachelor's degree several years ago. If your degree was from further back you may be a bit rusty on your geoscience concepts. We recommend you talk with an advisor or contact us to determine your level of preparation to pursue a doctoral degree.

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in the in order to apply? Can I apply if my major isn't in the chemical sciences?

Students with degrees closely related to geosciences may apply to the program, but they must have completed many of the advanced undergraduate core geoscience requirements or their applications will not be considered. These may include courses in advanced calculus, math or other appropriate courses. Students without undergraduate geoscience degrees should be sure to include in their application strong reasons for why their studies have prepared them to pursue a Ph.D. in the geosciences.

I am unsure what area of research I want to pursue, will this count against me?

Bridge Partners use the information provided in the "Research Interest" area of the application in different ways so it would be beneficial for you to look up individual departments and their statements on how they use this information (will become available through links from AGU Bridge Program web site in January 2020). Sites may use this information in order to determine possible mentor matches and whether your interests align with the research areas that the university has to offer. Being unsure is OK, but you should discuss your research experience and broad interests with mentors.

Will I get a stipend if I am accepted? How much?

AGU Partner Departments do not have access to funding. However, Partner departments typically offer financial support. This amount is typically comparable or identical to stipends received by other graduate students. Once they receive graduate program offers, students should consider whether the offered financial support is sufficient for their needs.

I don't want to leave Texas (or some other area), is there a bridge program in Texas?

The AGU Bridge Program only has Bridge partners established in certain areas in the US.

You can look into the graduate programs closer to home as many have informal bridge programs built into their graduate programs that you might be able to benefit from. We recommend you contact faculty at institutions you are interested in attending.

Contacts

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Pranoti Asher

Manager, Higher Education, AGU

202.777.7523 | [email protected]