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Summer Bridge Program

The Rod Hale Memorial Graduate Experience (CST 6935)

The program is best described as a "training program" for new graduate students and those moving from Master’s to Doctoral programs. The program sessions are designed to complement other workshops offered by the Office of Graduate Studies that help students successfully transition to completion of their graduate degrees. Over a three-week period, participants are introduced to topics covering the research process, mentoring, faculty and student perspectives on graduate student success, learning styles, preferences and techniques, campus services, and graduate school policy. This is a USF-Tampa campus effort allowing students to meet and interact with faculty, current graduate students, and staff that represent many USF units. These will include: faculty from academic departments, representatives from the Office of Graduate Studies, successful continuing students, and persons from student affairs support units, such as the Financial Aid Office and the Counseling Center.

Course Format

This an S/U course (Pass/Fail) presented in a blended learning format over the summer semester before beginning graduate level coursework. The course will be presented in two parts, the first part will be completely online and connect students with readings through semi-structured online blog discussions. The second part will take a seminar format and connect students with invited speakers on a range of topics directly related to preparing students for graduate education.


  1. Tuition waiver for course
  2. $2,000 stipend upon completion of all requirements
  3. Direct access to USF staff, faculty, and administration
  4. Free workshopping on writing, publishing, forming a committee, and financial literacy


  1. Must be a new student (just arriving or within their first year at USF)
  2. Must be in a program that has a research focus with either a Thesis or Dissertation
  3. Should have an identified risk factor (i.e., first person to attend college or a graduate program in their family, single parent, new to U.S. system of graduate education, etc.)
  4. Should be recommended by program or department

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Attendance is Mandatory. Full participation in discussions, individual, and group projects is required for an ā€œSā€ grade for the course.

Course Text

Hawley, P. (2010). Being bright is not enough. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD.


  1. BLOG - Each participant is required to keep a journal. These can contain brief, but substantive comments and reflections on the week's session. Typed journals must be submitted through canvas according to the Discussion Calendar . Note that these discussions will take place over the course of Summer Session C and the student's full participation is required.
  2. SUCCESS STRATEGY PAPER - Each participant is required to write a 3-5 page paper. The title is "My Success Strategy for Graduate School." An abstract must be provided with the paper. This must be through Canvas at the last session.
  3. GROUP PROJECT - Each participant is required to participate in a group project. The 15 to 20 minute project is presented at the last session. Groups will be formed and assigned to present on a topic relevant to graduate student success. The presentation should take the form of either a PowerPoint, role-play, etc.


2015 Syllabus