Building a Diverse Pipeline

Columbia is home to many programs that serve as a bridge for candidates from historically underrepresented groups to advance from undergraduate to graduate studies, graduate studies to faculty positions, and junior faculty positions to research independence.  

The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement is proud to support three such programs:

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Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in STEM

The Bridge to the Ph.D. Program is designed to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in STEM fields. 

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Provost Diversity Fellowship Program

The Provost Diversity Fellowship Program is designed to support underrepresented Columbia Ph.D. students through a supplementary stipend and professional development programming. 

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Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program

This program supports the recruitment of outstanding postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented groups to more closely reflect the composition of the national pool of qualified candidates. 

Undergraduate Programs

This program enhances the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in STEM.  With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bridge Program provides an intensive research, coursework, and mentoring experience to post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into Ph.D. programs.

The goal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Program (SRP) for undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups is to prepare students for doctoral study in their area of academic and intellectual interest. The program's purpose is to expose underrepresented students to graduate-level academic research so that they may begin to view the academy as a viable and realistic career path, thereby addressing the shortage of underrepresented minorities in doctoral study and college and university faculties.

With funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, BEST was established by the Mailman School’s Department of Biostatistics in 2008 to expand and diversify the behavioral and biomedical sciences’ workforce by introducing undergraduates from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with disabilities to biostatistics and quantitative applications in cardiovascular, blood, sleep, and pulmonary disease research.  

The Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP) is designed for undergraduate students and its goal is to increase interest in and knowledge of public health and biomedical science careers. SPHSP is a partnership of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Dental MedicineSchool of Nursing, and the Mailman School of Public Health. Together, they represent the broad spectrum of public health practice. SPHSP grant funding was awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of Minority Health, and Health Equity (OMHHE).

The Summer Program for Underrepresented Students (SPURS) provides an intense undergraduate biomedical research experience for talented students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the biology and chemistry fields. SPURS main goal is to help minority science undergraduate students, primarily from New York City, achieve a career in science by pursuing an advanced degree (Ph.D., M.D./ Ph.D. or M.D.).  SPURS participants are accepted primarily from the City University of New York (CUNY) senior colleges, including Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens, and City Colleges.  The program has been supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Fund and other private donors.  Now in its ninth year, over 100 students from underrepresented groups have been trained in the biological sciences.  With funding from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the program will be expanded into the neurosciences to leverage the training opportunities with the outstanding faculty at Columbia University.

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. These students include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino, and who are from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage. SHPEP, formerly known as the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), expanded in 2016 to include a broader array of health professions.

The State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) is a rigorous academic program for underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged middle and high school students, grades 7-12, interested in science, medicine or related health professions. The program aims to be a pipeline that will assist with increasing the number of underrepresented minority physicians, scientists and other health professionals. The program exposes students to basic and medical sciences, provides career awareness in science and medical professions, and college preparation.  

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the NERA MedPrep Scholars Program builds on the collective expertise of four institutions—Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New Jersey Medical School, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, and the Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center – to expand health careers preparation for minority and disadvantaged students from junior high school through medical school with the goal of increasing competitiveness for medical school. 

This REU site at Columbia University's Earth Institute is a new internship program opportunity for both undergraduate students and K-12 educators. These research experiences will introduce participants to transdisciplinary science being done at the Earth Institute. Participants will work through the scientific process to better understand the latest climate change research and how it is gathered, analyzed, and communicated for relevant stakeholders and policymakers.

The Lamont-Doherty Summer Intern Program offers the chance to experience scientific research as an undergraduate. The program is open to US citizens or permanent residents who have completed their junior or sophomore year in college or community college with majors in earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, or engineering. Neither graduating seniors nor international students are eligible for this internship. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

The Earth Intern Program offers the chance to experience scientific research as an undergraduate. The program is open to all Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, and Barnard College students who have completed their junior or sophomore year in college with majors (or anticipated majors) in earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, engineering, sustainable development or political science. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Participate in a unique academic-industry collaboration to foster career exploration at the frontiers of engineering research. This eight-week program in New York City will allow you an opportunity to engage in cutting edge research on campus at Columbia University and be mentored by faculty and STEM professionals representing multiple career paths from academia and industry.

The Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics offers a 10-week research opportunity for talented undergraduate students from the NYC area to perform cutting-edge research at Columbia University. The program is designed to provide the participants with a unique interdisciplinary research experience, mentoring, and professional development. Students will work full-time on a research project under the mentoring of an IICD researcher. In addition to research, participants will attend weekly events, such as scientific seminars, workshops, career and professional development events, lab tours, etc. Undergraduate students from mathematics, computer science, statistics, computational biology, data science, biology, engineering, etc. are welcome to apply. Students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Columbia Access Neuroscience (CAN) is an informative two-day event for students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience. This fully funded event is an opportunity for students to visit our campus and learn how to compose a competitive Ph.D. application, learn about life as a Ph.D. student, and network with current faculty and students. 

The Program to Inspire Minority Underserved Undergraduates in Environmental Health Science Research (PrIMER) is a research program for full-time, undergraduate underrepresented minority, and underserved students who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields. PrIMER is funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and provides research trainees the opportunity to gain valuable research experience in environmental health sciences. Students from Colleges and Universities in the New York City area are eligible to participate. 

Columbia GSAPP is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the IDC Foundation to establish the Hilyard Robinson Scholars Program offering full tuition scholarships for Intro to Architecture/Intro to Urban Planning summer program students. Named in honor of the School’s first African American graduate and former chair of the architecture department at Howard University, Hilyard Robinson scholarships are specifically aimed at undergraduate students currently enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and are intended to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the field of architecture and related fields and to introduce the possibility of career paths to underrepresented individuals.

Recognizing the essential need to increase the diversity of the health professions, the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program at Columbia GS partnered with the School of Professional Studies to support students who identify as being from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine make the transition to Columbia and establish a strong foundation for success. Learn more.

The mission of the Columbia Undergraduate Business Scholarship (CUBS) Program is to increase participation of students from underrepresented groups in business research. The program is designed to prepare current Columbia and Barnard undergraduates for a career in business research. CUBS are paired with faculty for whom they work as paid research assistants. This apprenticeship model exposes CUBS to the research challenges tackled in business school settings, teaches them basic research and data-analytics skills, and provides insight into careers in academia.

This highly selective program provides twenty interns the opportunity to work with Columbia Business School's faculty for 9-10 weeks during the summer on a research project in finance, economics, marketing, management, decision sciences, operations, accounting, or data analytics.  This is a multi-disciplinary program and candidates from all backgrounds, including business, statistics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, the physical sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences are encouraged to apply. Those alumni that choose to pursue careers in research are placed in top PhD programs across the nation. We are especially interested in applicants who are underrepresented minorities. 

The Predoctoral Fellowship (PDF) Program at Columbia Business School provides an opportunity to gain experience in academic research, with a special focus on fields such as Accounting; Decision, Risk & Operations; Economics; Finance; Management; and Marketing. The two-year post-baccalaureate program provides the PDF with intensive research, course work, and mentoring to build up their application portfolios to earn admittance to and succeed in top PhD programs in business, economics, and other disciplines.  We are especially interested in applicants who are underrepresented minorities. 

Masters Programs

The goal of the NSF S-STEM project at Columbia Engineering is to prepare a cohort of engineers to meet some of the societal and environmental challenges with a particular emphasis on the areas of water, energy and infrastructure. This program focuses on a research based master’s degree that affords program participants with a well-supported segue between an undergraduate degree in engineering and a doctoral program.

The Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program prepares talented, high-performing HBCU graduates to lead, innovate, drive community impact, and advance their professional industries through program engagement, mentorship, and career development opportunities. The program welcomes HBCU faculty and administrators to nominate HBCU undergraduate seniors from their institutions to apply to a master’s degree offered by Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, and admitted students are granted full tuition, on-campus housing, and a stipend.

GSAPP committed $1 million to establish the Norma Merrick Sklarek ’50 B.Arch Scholars Fund, intended to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity by breaking down barriers to access for graduate study. Columbia alumna Norma Merrick Sklarek, born on April 15, 1928, in Harlem, New York, was a trailblazer. When she passed the New York state exam in 1954, she was among the first Black women to become a registered architect in the State of New York. Author Anna M. Lewis calls Sklarek the ‘Rosa Parks of Architecture' in her book Women of Steel and Stone (Chicago Review Press, 2014).

The Norma Merrick Sklarek ’50 B.Arch Scholars Fund will be used over the next three academic years to support a cohort of full tuition financial aid awards and will be aimed at positively addressing inequity and barriers for students who have historically been underrepresented at GSAPP. Intended to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity by breaking down barriers to access for graduate study, the first Sklarek scholarships will be funded with $1 million from GSAPP.

Doctoral and Junior Faculty Programs

The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), an education project funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, is aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students who enter research careers in public health. The program supports eight doctoral students with one to two years of research mentoring, tuition benefits, and funding to attend scientific conferences.