Computational Science Research Center
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1245
(619) 594-3430



What is the Bridges Program?

It is a federal program that helps underrepresented U.S. students make transitions from a two-year community college to a full four-year degree program in the areas of biomedical and behavioral research. The program provides support for student, faculty and institutional development activities, as well as providing enrichment courses in laboratory skills, research ethics, biomedical research techniques, technical writing, chemistry, microbiology, human physiology, calculus, computational biology, and a colloquium addressing minority health care issues.The four year institution must have a strong science curriculum and a good track record of enrolling, retaining and graduating students who pursue advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral research. For the past sixteen years SDSU has maintained a partnership with three local campuses - San Diego City College, Grossmont College, and Southwestern College - in which 75% of past and current Bridges students have transferred or are preparing to transfer to SDSU or other four year university. SDSU Bridges students have participated in research programs at the NIH, The Scripps Research Institute, Harvard, MIT, UT Southwestern, U. of Wisconsin, and other major national research sites. Students have published papers in peer-reviewed journals, presented their research at national meetings, graduated, and entered graduate and professional schools. The goal of the SDSU Bridges program is to train 15-20 students a year from the three partner campuses to complete their bachelors degree training. The outcome has been to produce highly competent young scientists; in which students have had a 90% retention rate in their BS degree programs. Continued "bridging" of students can occur after transfer to SDSU, through its NIH and NSF-funded undergraduate research training programs, all targeting underrepresented science majors. The progress of each Bridges student is tracked from program entry at community college through transfer to SDSU and matriculation to graduate school.

What is the NIH Bridges Program?

The NIH Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program provides support to institutions to help students make transitions at a critical stage in their development as scientists, from a two-year community college to full four-year baccalaureate program. 'Bridges' targets students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation and/or populations disproportionately affected by health disparities.

The Program promotes institutional partnerships between community colleges granting the associate degree and colleges or universities that offer the bachelors degree. The partnership must involve at least two but no more than four institutions, including the applicant institution. The bachelor's degree-granting institution(s) in the consortium must have a strong science curricula and a track record of enrolling, retaining and graduating students who pursue advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral research fields.

Community colleges in the consortium must offer associate degree programs with an emphasis on the biomedical and behavioral sciences and must have a high enrollment of students from targeted groups. Bridges to the Baccalaureate provides support for student, faculty and institutional development activities.