APS Bridge Program

Partnership Institutions Request for Proposals: A Guide to the Review Process

This page provides guidelines by which institutions can apply to become Partnership Institutions, and criteria we use to select these institutions. The procedure for becoming a Partnership Institution will require institutions to submit a brief proposal detailing programs and practices that support students entering their doctoral program.


The Partnership Institution must be a university or college that offers a Master and/or Doctoral degree in physics and be located and accredited in the United States. The institution must have active research programs readily available to students throughout the academic year. Additionally, the institution should be an APS-BP Member Institution or in the process of applying to become a Member Institution.

How to Submit

Institutions that would like to be considered as a Partnership Institution are required to complete an online application and upload their proposal. The deadline for proposals is during March each year.

The APS Bridge Program has prepared a Graduate Student Induction Manual covering a wide array of topics. We strongly encourage you to review this document prior to submission of your proposal and include in your proposal how you have addressed (or plan to address) suggestions from that document.

Approval and Review Process

Partnership Institution applications will be reviewed by the APS Committee on Minorities (COM) and members of the Bridge Program staff. Following a successful review, the Bridge Program and members of COM will conduct a 2-hour videoconference site visit of the department.

Many considerations are used when evaluating proposals, including the engagement and commitment of faculty, mentoring successes, reviewing whether admissions practices are thorough and multi-faceted, advising and monitoring students on their progress, recordkeeping on demographics, and how well a department actively strives towards diverse representation and involvement.

Videoconference Site Visit

If the committee has made a decision to move forward with a site visit, the project will schedule a two hour videoconference with the review committee to gather more information and establish a personal link with the institution’s leadership. A videoconference will include the following:

  • Institution liaison (if not the chair or DGS)
  • Chair of the department and the Director of Graduate Studies
  • A selection of graduate students

The videoconference provides the institution an opportunity to discuss specific efforts that support minority students. Details of how this is organized will be provided in advance.

After the site visit, the BP Management Team and COM will recommend if the institution should receive approval or not and begin receiving Partnership Institution benefits. The team will also provide a brief evaluative feedback report to the department where appropriate, to outline specific actions they might consider to further improve their support for students.

Review Outcomes

Following review, the panel will often make one of three decisions:


Full Approval Provisional Approval Denied
Comments and suggestions from the panel review will be made available Proposals can be provisionally approved pending submission of a supplement that discusses concerns raised in the panel review. The response will be reviewed by project management and/or COM, as appropriate. Proposals with significant issues will be contacted to help them address these concerns, and encouraged to resubmit as appropriate.

Post-Acceptance: Expectations

The following are expectations for continuing as a recognized Partnership Institution:

  1. Identify and recruit students to serve as peer mentors to students brought in by the APS-BP
  2. Participate in collaborative discussions with other Partnership Institutions and the APS-BP on practices that improve all programs
  3. Engage faculty / staff / students both internally and externally in discussions that improve the access to and culture of graduate education for all students
  4. Inform APS-BP of all offers and student acceptances from the APS-BP application pool
  5. Work with APS-BP to track student progress
  6. Renewal of certification should be completed every 5 years or with the change of the DGS, whichever happens first.

For institutions that accept Bridge Students, we will require ongoing communication with the local site leader for periodic updates on student progress. Where possible, we may ask the institution to provide information on students that participated in programs created for students from the APS-BP applicant pool, but were independently recruited, for comparison reasons. This will be done with appropriate permissions and precautions.

More details about the APS Bridge Program are available on www.apsbridgeprogram.org. Project management encourages inquiries and consultation during the proposal writing process. Inquiries can be directed to Brián Bordon (301-209-3225, bordon@aps.org).

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.