Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program
a joint program in astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and materials science


Admission to the Masters-PhD Bridge program begins with an application to the Masters degree program in biology, chemistry, or physics at Fisk University. If you believe that you may be qualified to begin PhD-level work immediately, we encourage you to apply directly to the Vanderbilt PhD program. In that case, just indicate in your Vanderbilt application that you are also interested in the Masters-to-PhD 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.

We urge all prospective applicants to contact one of the program coordinators before applying. We will gladly speak with you about the program, answer any questions you may have, help you determine whether the program is right for you, and guide you through the application process.

In your application, please be sure to describe your past research experience(s), if any, as well as your future research interests to the extent that you know them. In our experience, students perform best when there is a good fit with the scientific research areas that the students are most passionate about. We want to know a bit about the research you've been involved in so far (if any) as well as the area(s) of research that interest you the most as part of your master's and/or PhD training. Our program has faculty working in almost all subfields, and there is lots of flexibility for students to try out research areas and explore topics. But knowing what you are excited about helps us understand you better and helps us to plan the best training experience.

The program has two application deadlines:

  • Early: Applications completed by December 1 will receive full consideration for an early decision. This may be helpful for students applying to multiple programs and who would benefit from knowing as early as possible. Students not selected for early decision will be automatically considered for the final review below.
  • Final: Applications completed by April 15 will receive full consideration for the final application review. Please contact us if you would like to submit an application after April 15.
If you are applying to the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge program:

Our application process is simple and free for US citizens and permanent residents. For international students the fee is $50.

A complete application consists of:

  1. An application form for graduate study
  2. Three letters of recommendation preferably from persons who are familiar with your academic qualifications. Letters from professors who are familiar with your research capabilities are especially valued. Please provide your letter writers with a copy of these letter guidelines.
  3. Transcripts of all undergraduate work, unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  4. A 1-2 page personal statement
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores including percentiles, unofficial scores are acceptable.
  6. Bridge program information form

All of the above items should be emailed to Mr. Coca at

The early application deadline is December 1. The final application deadline is April 15. A letter of acceptance into the Fisk Master’s program will come to you from the Fisk Admission Office, followed by a letter from the Fisk Director of Graduate Studies from your department of interest and the Bridge Program.

Please direct any questions to:

Constantine Coca
Program Coordinator
Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program
W.E.B. Du Bois Hall, Room 230
1000 17th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37208-3051

Office: 615-329-8517
Cell: 615-420-0536
Fax: 615-329-1109

If you are applying directly to the Vanderbilt PhD program:

Complete the online application process by Jan 1 for one of the following programs:

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NSF logoThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. HRD-0930018, HRD-1110924, and AST-1358862. 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.