Prospective Students


The UW-Madison/ACS Bridge to the Chemistry Doctorate 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 chemistry, and can enhance the diversity of doctoral students in the chemical sciences.

    • The Bridge program is open to  U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and persons enrolled in the DACA program
    • Prospective students will have completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or closely related field by time of matriculation (fall 2020)
    • Students who are currently enrolled or have already completed a graduate program in Chemistry, including a Master’s degree, are not eligible to apply
    • Eligibility is limited to students who have not been accepted into any Chemistry graduate program in the current academic year.  Students are eligible if they did not apply to graduate school or if they applied and were not accepted.

Applying to the ACS Bridge Program:

Applications to the Bridge to the Chemistry Doctorate program are made directly to the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN). IGEN is  a consortium of professional societies  (including the American Chemical Society) and universities that have allied to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in graduate studies in the physical sciences.  The ACS and several other professional societies that sponsor Bridge to the Doctorate Programs in different scientific fields use one common web site and application form, hosted on the IGEN web site.  After the April 15 cutoff for graduate admissions,  IGEN distributes student application information to the appropriate universities that host Bridge to the Doctorate Sites (such as UW-Madison, in chemistry) for consideration.  Students who are not accepted by a Bridge Site can also be considered for admission by ACS Bridge Partners. Bridge Site and Bridge Partners may have significant differences in the structure of their program.  For more information about the ACS Bridge Program please visit the ACS Bridge Project website.

What do I need to apply to the Bridge Program?

IGEN will collect information  as described below.  Applications are due to IGEN on April 1, UW-Madison will be given access to the information on April 15, and the UW Bridge Steering Committee will contact semi-finalists for the UW-Madison/ACS Bridge Fellowships shorter thereafter to conduct a video interview and possibly to provide additional information relevant to our selection process.  Finalists for the Bridge program will be offered admission to UW-Madison on or before April 25.  

Information that will be requested as part of the Bridge application process includes:

      • Information about yourself, career goals, and experience.
      • ​Information typically found on a resume or c.v.. (You will need to copy and paste into the application form)
      • ​Transcripts from all institutions from which you have earned college credit
      • Names and contact information for three people who can write letters of recommendation (at least 2 of which should be from professors with whom you have conducted research).
      • additional materials, if available  (While ACS requests these if available, GRE scores are not used a part of the  UW-Madison selection process and are not required for admission to the Bridge program). 
        • General GRE score
        • Chemistry GRE score

Prospective students may contact Robert HamersDesiree Bates, or A.J. Boydston prior to applying to  answer any questions and to verify that this program is right for you.

By applying to the ACS Bridge Program:


How do my research interests affect my application? 

Application to the ACS Bridge to the Doctorate Program allows access to your application by multiple universities, so it is not important to express specific research interests in your initial application to the IGEN site. UW-Madison is currently the only Bridge to the Doctorate site in chemistry, and Georgia Tech runs a program in Chemical Engineering. Both UW-Madison and Georgia Tech receive funding from NSF , via ACS, as the official Bridge to the Doctorate Program sites. Other universities, known as “Bridge Partners”, may also receive your information. Students who are semi-finalists for the UW-Madison Bridge Program may be asked to supply additional information that we may also use in our selection process.  

What is it like being a Bridge student?

During Year 1 of the Bridge Program, students arrive three weeks before classes start for an extended orientation where they receive help finding housing, are assessed for academic preparation in the core physics subject areas, interact with their Academic Mentors and their Faculty and Peer Research Mentors, and are assigned offices together with incoming PhD students.  

During the following academic year Bridge Students take undergraduate or graduate core chemistry courses (depending on their individual academic preparation) with substantial academic mentoring in the form of Guided Group Work sessions with other students, and individual tutoring as needed.  

Bridge Students also gain research experience in their Research Mentors’ groups, and participate in social activities. During the following summer students engage in full-time research.  In the fall of the following academic year, students continue with coursework and research, engage in some teaching, and are considered for admission into the PhD program.