Chemistry Bridge Program

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Program Overview

The Chemistry Bridge Program is a one-year post-baccalaureate program that helps students prepare for graduate school in chemistry, with transfer either to the Chemistry Ph.D. or M.S. program at the end of the year.  An important goal of this program is to build up students’ fundamental knowledge and skills so they can be successful in a Ph.D. program.  The focus of the program is a mix of undergraduate and graduate coursework, mentoring, peer community, and research experience.  The program is a partnership with the American Chemical Society's Bridge Project.  We aim to expand the pool of underrepresented minority (URM) students in chemistry graduate studies with the program, which is why we make these offers after Apr. 15.  At present, we expect to admit up to four students per year.

The Ohio State University and Columbus

OSU is a comprehensive public land-grant university, founded in 1870. OSU enrolls 46,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate and professional students. Over 30% of its students come from outside Ohio. Nearly 20% of all students are from minority groups. OSU is ranked 54th by U.S. News & World Report among national universities and 17th among top public institutions. It has nearly $850M in annual research expenditures, ranking 12th among public research institutions. OSU has nearly 500,000 living alumni, one of the largest alumni networks in the country. The Columbus campus of OSU sits on over 1,600 acres mostly just north of downtown. Columbus is the state capital and the 14th largest city in the U.S. Columbus’s economy is based on government, education, finance and insurance, retail, and increasingly on technology and innovation. Columbus is about 28% Black or African American and 6% Hispanic or Latino. It is widely ranked as a top place to live and work, as well as having one of the nation’s burgeoning start-up cultures.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Chemistry Graduate Program

The Chemistry Ph.D. program is ranked 30th by U.S. News & World Report. There are 53 tenure-track faculty, over 900 undergraduate majors, and about 300 graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (250 in the Chemistry Graduate Program). The department has strength in all traditional chemical disciplines (analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry including theory, and biochemistry), as well as considerable strength in interdisciplinary areas like materials, energy, surface science and nanoscience, molecular biophysics, and chemical biology. The Ph.D. program brings in about 55 students a year. The mean time to graduation with the Ph.D. is 5.26 years, on par with the national average.

COVID-19 Notice - Updated June 3, 2020

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of the university, department, and Bridge program in 2020-2021 are not yet clear.  We expect the Bridge Program to operate in 2020-2021, and we expect the first day of classes to be August 25, 2020.  The dates and nature of orientation are not set.  The nature of graduate classes and activities are not set.  It is not yet clear if Bridge students must be residential in Columbus during the Autumn term of 2020.  There is no Early Start research program for the summer of 2020.  We will update this section as information becomes available after June 15.  See:

ACS Bridge Program

The American Chemical Society Bridge Program (ACS-BP) assists URM students with getting into and succeeding in graduate school. Students, who have not applied to graduate school or have applied but were unsuccessful, or would benefit from additional coursework and research experience, are eligible to apply. Applications will be circulated to select chemical science departments that have committed to partnering with the ACS Bridge Program, at no cost to the students. Please visit www.acs.org/bridge to learn more about the program and apply.

Bridge Program Policies and Procedures

Curriculum

Because the program is highly tailored to the student's needs, no two students will likely have the exact same curricular path.  The purpose of the program is to enable students to succeed and excel in graduate school after the Bridge year, which will likely entail shoring up chemistry fundamentals, providing additional breadth that was not taken (or maybe available) in the student's undergraduate curriculum, and gaining some experience in early graduate classes.

In general, Bridge students will take the equivalent of three semester classes each in the autumn and spring terms.  A typical curriculum might include, each term, one core chemistry class (such as majors general chemistry, majors organic chemistry, physical chemistry or physical biochemistry), an undergraduate class in the student's area of interest (such as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry), and one foundational semester class in the student's intended area of study.  As needed, classes in mathematics (such as Math 2177 covering topics in multivariate integrals, linear algebra, and differential equations), physics, biology, molecular genetics, computer programming, statistics, or English as a second language may be taken.

In addition, all students will participate in first year graduate classes for faculty research presentations, safety, and research ethics, and will attend one of the divisional seminar series.

A course plan will be developed based on undergraduate transcripts, proficiency testing, input from the student, and input from a professor in the student's area of interest.  One of the program directors will act as the temporary academic advisor for the student and will work with the other directors and Vice Chair for Graduate Studies to finalize the plan.

Research

The main purpose of the Bridge program is to build academic fundamentals, but a secondary aim is to help clarify the student's interests and get a start on laboratory work in the area of interest.

In the autumn term, in addition to attending the faculty research presentations, students will participate in three laboratory rotations of about 4.5 weeks each, during which they will attend group meetings, meet and interact with the students and PI, and gain familiarity with the lab's work. In the spring term, the student will "embed" in a group--a term we chose to be clear that the student will become part of the group, but will have minimal research responsibilities during the academic year.

In the summer, students will carry out an approximately 12 week research project in the lab, and will carry out full-time research during this period.

Mentoring and Support

A cornerstone of the program is to provide extensive peer, faculty, and university mentoring and support to students, for a highly personalized experience, frequently advice, and early detection of problems or issues.  We have partnered with the OSU chapters of NOBCChE and SACNAS to provide peer mentors, and senior graduate students will act as peer tutors for weekly assistance. Program directors will regularly interact with students.  The university has extensive support resources for students, as well, including:

Individual Development Plans

To facilitate curricular planning and career development, Bridge students will create an Individual Development Plan in the autumn and update it at the end of spring.  Students should use the myIDP or ChemIDP sites to create these plans.  In general, myIDP is better for students with life sciences interests (such as biochemistry) and ChemIDP is better for students with more chemical interests.

Transition to Chemistry Ph.D. or M.S. Program

The intention of the program is that successful Bridge students will transition into the Chemistry Ph.D. program.  Such students will receive a regular graduate student offer, which currently includes, tuition, stipend (currently $27,600 per year), and standard benefits (including the 85% health benefit), guaranteed for five years with good standing, reasonable progress and adherence to university and program rules and policies.  With agreement of the PI, students may continue in the same laboratory, or they may do additional exploration/rotations in the fall to find a different preceptor, without any penalty.

We recognize that students may want to continue doctoral studies elsewhere, or may wish to terminate their studies, or may not be a good match for doctoral studies after the Bridge period.  In such cases, students can transition to the Chemistry M.S. program and complete the M.S. in one additional year.  Students will receive one year of support as a Graduate Associate or Fellow to complete the M.S.  The Chemistry M.S. requires 12 credit hours of graduate chemistry lecture classes and completion and defense of a thesis. Details about the Ph.D. and M.S. can be found elsewhere on this site, especially in the Graduate Program Handbook on the Resources page.

Students who wish to apply to other graduate programs will receive application assistance in the autumn of year following the Bridge year.  To bolster graduate applications, all Bridge students will take the Chemistry GRE Subject Test in the summer of the Bridge program year.

In June of the program year, the program directors will lead an evaluation and survey of the students, including instructors and the student's advisor.  Final decisions regarding admission to the Ph.D. or M.S. program are at the discretion of the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies.

Financial Support

Students will receive full tuition support including instructional and general fees (currently $14,910), and non-resident fees (currently $29,480), as needed, for the program year.  Students will receive the regular department stipend, currently $2,300 per month ($27,600 for 12 months), generally subject to some withholding and tax.  Graduate student associates and fellows receive an 85% student health insurance benefit (currently $2,653).  The remaining 20% (currently $663 for the year) is withheld over six paychecks in the autumn and spring.  In additional, required student fees for student activities, recreation, the student union, and COTA bus access (currently $708 for the year) are withheld monthly. Amounts cited are accurate as of summer 2020.

Students should be aware that Graduate Fellows are appointed on the Graduate School Appointment Calendar and are paid on a monthly basis on the last day of the month.  Consequently, in 2020, students will receive their first stipend payment by August 31 for about two weeks of appointment.  The first full monthly paycheck will be deposited by September 30.  In general, tax is not withheld from fellowships, but the IRS considers fellowship income to be taxable.  Fellows likely will be required to pay quarterly estimated taxes to avoid penalties.  See IRS Tax Topic No. 421 Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, and Other Grants, and seek the help of a tax professional.  

Application and Admissions

The OSU Chemistry Bridge Program can accept students from its own admissions files or from the ACS Bridge Portal.  We encourage students interested in the Bridge Program to apply through the ACS Bridge Portal, but also to send an email the Admissions Coordinator, Nick Rodgers, alerting us to your interest in Ohio State's program.

Admissions decisions are based on foundational chemistry knowledge (e.g., grades in general, organic and physical chemistry), research skills/aptitude (as evidenced by research experience, research classes, lab coursework, etc.), and evidence of perseverance and independent learning skills.  Because the program is only one year, this is generally not a good way to change fields; most applicants should be chemistry or biochemistry majors, or minors with significant coursework. The program is mostly coursework based, and so it is not ideal for students mostly looking for research experience.  Such students should consider a Chemistry M.S. program or a post-baccalaureate year of lab research employment instead.

We do not expect students to have a perfect or complete record, however.  We recognize that both life events and opportunity vary dramatically.  It does help us a great deal to understand the nature of and reasons for any gaps or issues in your undergraduate record, and your goals for the program.  Please address that in your application.

It is most helpful for us to see letters of recommendation from all former research advisors and from chemistry or biochemistry professors who are well acquainted with your academic and research ability or potential.  Letters from other science professors or academic advisors who are well-acquainted with your abilities are also useful.  Letters from professors in other areas, employers, other lab members, family members, friends or other peers are much less useful.  If you were employed in a research position, a letter from your supervisor may be useful, but be sure that a chemistry (or at least science) professor also provides at least one letter.

The GRE is not required, and there is no minimum GRE score.  There is no minimum GPA, but the Graduate School only admits students with a GPA below 3.0 by petition.

To be eligible for admission, students must:

  • Have completed a bachelor's degree in chemistry or a closely related field (and must have completed most of the classes necessary for a chemistry degree)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (or part of the DACA program)
  • Not have applied to a chemistry graduate program, or have applied but not have been accepted by any program
  • Be committed to improving diversity in the chemical sciences

Students with an M.S. or Ph.D. in chemistry or a closely related field are not eligible.

Admissions offers will be made between April 15-June 15 each year.  Pursuant to the administrative patterns of the Department, all offers of admission are ultimately at the discretion of the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, acting on the advice of the program directors and Admissions Committee.

Appointment and Orientation

Bridge students are typically appointed as Fellows under the Bridge Program rules of the Graduate School.  The program period is from the beginning of Autumn term (in August) to the end of Summer term (in August of the following year).  Students may only matriculate starting in Autumn term.

Bridge students are required to attend the department graduate student and teaching assistant orientation the week before classes start.  They also attend the orientation from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  In addition, Bridge students must arrive the week before this orientation to attend Chemistry Bridge Program orientation.  In 2020, the first day of classes is scheduled to be August 25, department orientation is expected to be August 14-24, and Bridge Program Orientation is expected to be the week of August 10.  Further schedule information will be shared after June 15.

Bridge students are encouraged to arrive on campus during the summer with sufficient time for at least one meaningful research rotation as part of the Early Start program of the Chemistry Graduate Program.  Students may participate for 5-10 weeks during the summer before matriculation in the Bridge program.  Early Start students do not enroll in classes and are appointed as Student Associates on and hourly basis (currently, $10.53 per hour up to 38 hours per week, or about $400 per week).  Students are required to maintain health insurance at their own expense during this time.  Typically, Early Start appointments may begin nor earlier than May 15 and must end by about August 15.

Please see above for information on COVID-19 related impacts.  There is no Early Start program in 2020.  We expect that the Bridge program will operate in 2020-2021 and that the first day of classes will be August 25, 2020, but other dates remain to be fixed.

Other Resources

The Chemistry Bridge Program relies on many other resources to enable students' success.  We work closely with the OSU Physics Bridge Program.  We use materials developed by the Fisk-Vanderbilt Physics Bridge Program.  We employ peer mentor training from OSU's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program.  We employ mentor training from the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) the national organizations of ABRCMS, NOBCChE, and SACNAS.  We encourage students to apply to ODI's GPS recruiting event and recruit from the Graduate School's SROP program.

Administration

The program is directed by Prof. Thomas Magliery (magliery.1@osu.edu, 614-247-8425), Prof. Anne Co (co.5@osu.edu, 614-688-8333), and Prof. Psaras McGrier (mcgrier.1@osu.edu, 614-688-2108).

The Chemistry Bridge Program is overseen by the Graduate Studies Office, led by the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, Prof. Christine Thomas (thomas.3877@osu.edu, 614-292-8688).

The Admissions Coordinator is Nick Rodgers (rodgers.271@osu.edu, 614-292-5577). The Program Coordinator is Jennifer Hambach (hambach.2@osu.edu, 614-292-8917).

Contact

If you have questions about the program, please contact Prof. Thomas Magliery (magliery.1@osu.edu, 614-247-8425), the Program Director, or Nick Rodgers (rodgers.271@osu.edu, 614-292-5577), the Admissions Coordinator.

Funding

The Ohio State Chemistry Bridge Program is made possible by funding from the College of Arts & Sciences, the Graduate School, and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.