APS Bridge Program

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

Addressing Known Barriers in the Graduate Education Admissions Process

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program addresses known barriers in the graduate education admissions process through professional development for faculty and administration. As part of this project, six modules have been developed to provide relevant literature and research-based practices. These modules engage faculty to reflect on their current practices in graduate admissions, instill motivation for change in admissions practices, and tools to aid faculty in implementing new methods of recruitment and admissions. All modules are drafts that are in progress. To provide feedback on any of the modules, please send an email to diversity@aps.org.

Primer: An Overview of Holistic Review
Prior to engaging with the modules targeted as specific pieces or processes within the graduate application process, an understanding of holistic review is critical. This primer introduces a framework for holistic review that is comprehensive, contextualized, and systematic. In addition, the benefits of holistic review through a lens of diversity and equity are outlined.

Using GRE Scores in Evaluating Graduate Applications
This module provides an overview of the content, scoring procedures, and scoring distributions for both the general GRE and the Physics GRE subject test. Implications for relying heavily on GRE scores for admissions are outlined through a lens of diversity.

Using Rubrics to Evaluate Graduate Applications
Faculty will reflect on their current admissions practices through the discussion of relevant research and the collective development and application of a rubric. We intend for faculty to use this module to take a deep dive into a single category (academic preparation) to serve as a foundation that they can continue to build upon with the inclusion of other suggested categories in the future.

Identifying Non-Cognitive Qualities In Graduate Applications
Faculty will reflect on their current admissions practices through the discussion of relevant research and the collective application of a rubric targeted on non-cognitive qualities. We provide an overview of non-cognitive qualities. However, we intend for faculty to use this module to take a deep dive into two examples (resilience and self-motivation) to serve as a foundation that they can continue to build upon with the inclusion of other suggested non-cognitive qualities in the future.

Aligning Recruitment and Admissions
The curriculum for this module includes a combination of presentation and activities designed to build attendees’ 1) knowledge about the current state of research on recruitment and 2) appreciation for how a graduate program’s website can operate as a recruitment tool, and 3) planning for recruitment activities that complement more equitable admissions practices.

Systemic Change: Designing for Equity
This module guides faculty through a 1) reflection about positive case studies of Ph.D. programs that have realized systemic change, 2) discussion about the applications to our own programs, and 2) planning to address a concrete equity challenge from a systemic perspective.


NSFThis material is also based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1633150. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


NSFThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1834540. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.