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Bridge Master's Program

An outstanding opportunity to take coursework with leading Statistics faculty, gain research experience, and prepare for PhD program application.

Why join the Bridge Program?

The program is an enhanced option which offers research training and additional coursework to prepare students for entry into our PhD program or other top-notch PhD programs. Bridge students will:

  • Gain a solid foundation in statistical modeling and data analysis;
  • Complete a research-based project with a faculty mentor;
  • Interact with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty through one-on-one meetings, group meetings, department and student-led seminars, classes, and symposia, as well as others in the field via conference attendance;
  • Develop teaching skills, with extensive training and support;
  • Benefit from faculty and peer mentoring as well as program staff supporting your academic success;
  • Have the opportunity to be admitted into the Statistics PhD program upon completion of the Bridge Program and satisfying program requirements (see curriculum and QR below).

Eligibility Requirements

Students must meet the following criteria. Exceptions will not be made.

The Bridge Program is for students who:

  • Have demonstrated academic excellence
  • Intend to pursue (or are strongly considering) a PhD in Statistics
  • Demonstrate potential to conduct original research under the supervision of a faculty member
  • Are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)

And meet at least one (ordinarily several) of the following criteria:

  • Come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underrepresented in graduate study in their discipline in the United States or at the University of Michigan;
  • Have demonstrated a sustained commitment to diversity in the academic, professional, or civic realm through their work experience, volunteer engagement, or leadership of student or community organizations. By commitment to diversity, we mean efforts in the U.S. to reduce social, educational or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, or to improve race relations in the U.S.;
  • Have experienced financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances;
  • Are first-generation U.S. citizens or are the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college.

Students who do not meet any of these criteria are encouraged to apply to the standard Applied Statistics M.S. program.

Beyond the Bridge Program

Students who complete the Bridge Program and meet certain academic requirements (see curriculum and QR below) can be granted admission into our Statistics PhD program, and will be competitive for admission into other top PhD programs in the country.

Additional Information


The Bridge Program is a fully funded Master’s program. Students in good academic standing receive a stipend, tuition support, and health care for two years (at rates determined by University policies), via a combination of fellowship and graduate student instructor (GSI) teaching appointments. In the summer between Years 1 and 2, students will be eligible for three months of department funding, provided they are working on campus on a research project with faculty. Students are also eligible for up to $500 in travel funding to attend a conference in consultation with the program director. For both summer and conference funding, students will be required to submit a short paper demonstrating the outcome of the project or contribution to their scholarly endeavors. Support is available to a cohort of 2-4 students per year.


  • Students will arrive ahead of their first fall semester in August to participate in Rackham’s RMF Connections program.
  • Students in the Bridge Program must complete the course requirements to meet a Master’s of Science in Applied Statistics for a total of 30 credits.
  • All students will be offered the chance to work on research with a dedicated faculty mentor in the summer between their first and second year.
  • All courses will be selected in consultation with the program director.

PhD Eligibility Requirements

In order to be admitted into the University of Michigan Statistics PhD program upon completion of the Bridge Program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Remain in good academic standing, as defined by Rackham
  • Research project: Each student will work with a faculty mentor on a research project, culminating in a technical report reflecting what the student has learned
  • Course grade expectations: Students will use their grades from Stats 510 and Stats 511. The average grade from the two courses must be at least 3.85. This is based on the conversion of letter grades to GPA points as follows: B- = 2.7, B = 3.0, B+ = 3.3, A- = 3.7, A = 4.0, A+ = 4.0.

Bridge Program Timeline

Year 1

Year 1: Summer
Participate in RMF Connections in August
Take the Theory QR as a pre-assessment tool (optional)

Year 1: Fall
Departmental fellowship
STATS 500, 3 credits
STATS 510, 3 credits
STATS 504, 3 credits
Elective(s) chosen in colsultation with an advisor

Year 1: Winter
Departmental fellowship + GSI
Participate in CRLT’s GSI Teaching Orientation
STATS 993, 1 credit (GSI Training Program)
STATS 503, 3 credits
STATS 511, 3 credits
Elective(s) chosen in consultation with program director
Begin seeking out a mentor for summer research, in consultation with the program director

By the end of Year 1, students will be ready to conduct original research in a lab under the direction of a faculty member.

Year 2

Year 2: Summer
Participate in research with chosen faculty mentor
Each student is expected to attend one professional meeting; funding is available and can be supplemented with other funding opportunities at the University

By the end of the summer in Year 2, students have prepared a technical document describing their research, and will be ready to present it in a poster or talk.

Students will be expected to take the Theory QR at the end of August if they have not received an exemption based on course requirements in Year 1.

Year 2: Fall
Departmental fellowship + GSI
2-3 courses of electives
Stats 504, 3 credits
Apply to PhD programs

Year 2: Winter
GSI/GSRA, to be determined by availability
2-3 courses of electives

By the end of the program, students will have gained research experience under the direction of a faculty member and mastered content in the field of Applied Statistics to prepare them for a PhD program in Statistics or a related field at Michigan or other top university.

Additional Questions?

If you have further questions, please contact the Bridge Program Coordinator at