UCF Physics

UCF Physics Masters to PhD Bridge Program

Bridge Fellows 2

Bridge Fellows Fall 2015 (from left to right): Christopher Tiller; Fernand Torres Davila; Brian Zamarripa-Roman; Michael Sagapolutele

Note: Applicants who believe they are qualified to begin PhD-level work right away are encouraged to apply directly to our PhD program by the January 15th deadline (for those seeking graduate assistantship). Information about graduate admissions can be found at http://physics.cos.ucf.edu/graduate/

Questions about the Physics graduate program and application may be directed to Esperanza Soto Arcino, Program Assistant, at Esperanza.SotoArcino@ucf.edu or by calling (407) 823-5146.

Program Overview

UCF’s Physics Department became a Bridge Site in 2015 with a goal to recruit, mentor and prepare under-represented minority (URM) students for admission to a Physics PhD program of their choice.  UCF is the second-largest university in the USA and is located in the 2.3 million-strong metropolitan area of Orlando, Florida.

At UCF, Bridge Program (BP) Fellows not only join the department with their cohort, but are also fully integrated into the graduate program from the time they join the department.  Hence, BP Fellows at UCF are formally full-fledged graduate students, with the same financial support and departmental research opportunities as any graduate student, while also having the BP’s specialized mentoring and advising designed to help them achieve professional success both in the classroom and in a research group.  Depending on their preparation, BP Fellows take either core graduate or a mix of graduate and undergraduate courses. Each BP Fellow is also matched with a faculty mentor for enhanced research experience.

Our BP Fellows participate in professional development workshops offered by the College of Graduate Studies. At the end of their first year, BP Fellows have the option of continuing in the PhD program at UCF or seeking admission elsewhere, both through the normal process.


We offer a veritable cornucopia of research topics in both experimental and theoretical physics to choose from (e.g.  Condensed Matter, Atomic/Molecular/Optical Physics, Biological Physics, Planetary Science, Quantum Information, Physics Education). Further research opportunities are offered by our affiliated faculty from related units, such as the College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL), the Nanoscience Technology Center, the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center, Florida Solar Energy Center and the Florida Space Institute.

Additional information about our Physics faculty and their research areas can be found here. We encourage potential candidates to contact faculty to discuss their research interest as they develop their application.

Coursework and Advising

A Physics MS student has to take a minimum 30 credit hours graduate level courses – a combination of core courses, electives, thesis, directed research and/or independent study. On arrival, the BP Fellow will take a diagnostic test (equivalent to a Physics GRE), following which the graduate coordinator will advise students individually to identify the courses he/she should take. During their first semester, a physics faculty member will hold weekly GRE preparation sessions for BP Fellows to prepare them for this particular exam which is a requirement for admission to most physics PhD programs in the country. At the end of their first year, BP Fellows have the option of continuing in the PhD program at UCF or seeking admission elsewhere, through the normal process. Additional information about the Physics MS program can be found here.

Bridge Fellows and Mentors

From left to right: Dr. L. Tetard (Associate site leader); Christopher Tiller (BP fellow); Fernand Torres Davila (BP fellow); Brian Zamarripa-Roman (BP fellow); Michael Sagapolutele (BP fellow) ; Dr. A. Al-Rawi (Mentor and Outreach coordinator).

How to Apply: Consideration for the UCF Physics Masters to PhD Bridge Program begins with an application to the American Physical Society (APS) Bridge Program, which opens in December and has a deadline in March.

To apply, go to: http://www.apsbridgeprogram.org/about/students.cfm

Refer to the APS Bridge Program website for the most current information about:

  • APS Bridge Program Eligibility
  • Application Process

Bridge Program Team


Photos: 2015 APS National Mentoring Community and Bridge Program Conference in Miami, FL

APS Logo 2