Bridges, a partnership between Montana State University-Bozeman and Montana’s seven tribal colleges, is a program of MSU's American Indian Research Opportunities program, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health ( The program’s goals are to:

  • Build a seamless educational experience between Montana's seven reservation-based colleges and MSU.
  • Increase the number of Native American students successfully transferring from two-year tribal colleges to MSU and pursuing academic studies in the biomedical, behavioral health, and/or other health related sciences. 

Each summer, Bridges students spend eight weeks at MSU participating in academic enrichment activities and cutting edge research alongside dedicated faculty mentors and their lab teams. In the process, supportive communities of learners are created between students and faculty at Montana's tribal colleges and MSU faculty mentors/students.

Although many Bridges students do transfer to MSU, this is not a program requirement. Bridges helps prepare tribal college students for successful transfer to any four-year institution of their choosing.

Program Benefits Include

  • Bridges students work in world-class research labs and earn a $3,200 stipend.
  • Lab skills training and math “boot camp” help prepare students for success in the biomedical/health science fields.
  • Students present their research at a Bridges/MSU research symposium at the end of the program.
  • Professional development training, academic enrichment, and transfer preparation are provided throughout the summer.
  • Housing and some meals are provided. (Family housing is available for students with spouses and/or children.)
  • Bridges reimburses students' round-trip mileage to/from Bozeman OR covers bus transportation for students who do not bring a vehicle.
  • Students who bring their own vehicles are provided free parking passes for the summer.

Bridges students have the option to complete their research at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo, Montana. (  Please note on your application that you wish to research at SKC and contact Program Coordinator Dr. Christina Rush for program specifics.  Phone: (406) 275-4800 / Email:


2017 BRIDGES Application (Microsoft Word version)

2017 BRIDGES Application (PDF version)

Application deadline is February 17, 2017.

For those only interested in the one-week Lab Skills Course please visit this Lab Skills Course link.