Woodrow Wilson

Department of Politics

Bridge to the Doctorate

As part of our commitment to diversifying the graduate program, the professoriate, and the research workforce, the Politics Department seeks to support students from groups that are underrepresented in political science and who have not yet had sufficient training and research experience to enter a graduate program.  To this end, we seek applicants to UVA’s Bridge to the Doctorate, a two-year program for students who already have their undergraduate degrees and who intend to prepare for graduate school in political science.

Bridge Fellows take graduate or advanced undergraduate classes and gain research experience under faculty supervision. Each Fellow works individually with faculty to develop a customized academic plan that enables them to gain additional disciplinary training, cultivate writing and research skills specific to the academic study of politics, and develop a competitive portfolio for applying to doctoral programs. Fellows can also benefit from UVA’s intensive graduate student professional development program, PhD Plus. During their two years in the Bridge program, Fellows generally complete the requirements to earn an M.A. degree. In addition, Bridge Fellows can be considered for UVA’s own doctoral program after the second year.

The Politics Department admitted its first cohort of Bridge Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year.

Financial Support

Fellows receive $24,000 per year in living support and full payment of their tuition, fees and single-person coverage in the University’s student health insurance plan for a period of two years.


We encourage students from diverse ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged / low-income backgrounds, and first-generation college students to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2021. No application fee or standardized test scores are required. For further information and to apply, please visit the UVA Graduate School’s application page.  If you have questions about the Politics Department Bridge program, please contact Professor Carol Mershon, Director of the Department's program.