Nursing has a shortage of doctorally-prepared underrepresented minority (URM) scientists/faculty. We describe a five-year University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Bridges program for URM master's students' transition to doctoral study and factors in retention/graduation from the PhD program. Four master' students from two partner schools were recruited/appointed per year and assigned UIC faculty advisors. They completed 10 UIC credits during master's study and were mentored by Bridges faculty. Administrative and financial support was provided during transition and doctoral study. Partner schools' faculty formed research dyads with UIC faculty. Seventeen Bridges students were appointed to the Bridges program: 12 were admitted to the UIC PhD program since 2004 and one graduated in 2007. Eight Bridges faculty research dyads published 5 articles and submitted 1 NIH R03 application. Mentored transition from master's through doctoral program completion and administrative/financial support for students were key factors in program success. Faculty research dyads enhanced the research climate in partner schools.