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Physics Bridge Program

APS Physics

Need More Preparation to Enter a PhD Program?

The APS Bridge Site at USF Physics is looking for academically strong students with research experience and an unyielding drive to succeed.   We diligently evaluate applicants on multiple dimensions to identify those with strong potential to become great scientists, regardless of present preparation gaps or GRE scores.  If you are passionate about becoming a PhD-level physicist, but need some extra preparation to create a competitive graduate school application, the APS-BP at USF is for you.   

Contact the program director, Prof. Garrett Matthews, today!

If you believe that you may be qualified to begin PhD-level work immediately, we encourage you to apply directly to our PhD program by the February deadline (  In that case, just indicate in your application that you are also interested in the Bridge program; in the event that you are not selected for admission directly into the PhD program, your application can be forwarded to the Bridge program for consideration.

Program Overview

By participating in the USF Bridge Program under the guidance of caring faculty mentors, students will develop a solid academic background, research skills, and one-on-one mentoring relationships critical for successfully transitioning to a PhD program. The Bridge Program ideally requires one year, and is flexible and individualized to the goals and needs of each student. Courses will be selected to address gaps in undergraduate preparation, and research experiences are available to allow students to develop and demonstrate their full scientific talent and potential.  A hallmark of the program is a STEM Professional Development course that focuses on scientific writing for fellowship and grant applications, scientific communication, leadership, and physics career paths.

Research Areas

Since the PhD is a research degree, students are encouraged to enter research labs as soon as they find an interesting topic, and an advisor that fits their needs.  The USF Physics department has three primary research thrusts: condensed matter physics, biophysics, and optics.  Within these subfields (which make up the majority of physics jobs), our faculty have expertise in experimental, theoretical, and computational methods.  

Check out the web pages of individual faculty members at for more information about exciting research at USF!  


All students in the Bridge program will make progress toward fulfilling the MS and PhD course requirements each semester.   This can be through the graduate core courses, if the student is ready.  We also offer several technical electives (computational and experimental) that require no advanced physics knowledge.   In addition, standard electives may be chosen in consultation with the student's advisors.

APS-BP Eligibility

As per the APS Bridge Program, students must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Complete a bachelor's degree in physics or closely related discipline by the start of the Bridge Program.
  • Students cannot be enrolled in or have previously completed a physics graduate program.

Finally, students must satisfy one or more of the following criteria in the current academic year:

  • Did not apply to a physics graduate program; or
  • Applied to one or more physics graduate programs, but were not accepted by any program
  • Be committed to improving diversity in physics

Application Process

  1. Consideration for the Bridge Program begins with an application to the APS Bridge Program, which has a deadline in March.
  2. The APS-BP forwards applicants to APS Bridge Sites for evaluation
  3. We will conduct Skype interviews with applicants that are very strong candidates for our program.
  4. We will make Bridge Fellowship offers by the end of May.