The McNair Scholars Program supports first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students to pursue a graduate education. We prepare sophomores to near-graduating seniors for graduate school through immersion into graduate-level research projects and familiarization with the graduate school application process. Students will apply to be part of the program during the fall semester, participate in a seminar over the spring semester, and then engage in the 8-week Summer Research Institute. Throughout the next academic year, students work directly with staff to apply to graduate programs and identify and secure funding.

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Program Benefits


  • A 3-credit undergraduate research seminar in the spring semester
  • Support identifying a faculty mentor & research topic


  • An 8-week Paid Summer Research Institute that consists of:
  • A week-long trip to Washington DC
  • An in-depth research experience on a topic of your choice
  • Working one-on-one with a faculty mentor
  • Learning how to apply to graduate school
  • Networking with other undergraduates from across the nation
  • Graduate school visits

Academic Year and Ongoing Support:

  • Advising and support from McNair Staff in all aspects of the graduate school application process
  • Paid travel to attend and present at conferences
  • Fee waivers for graduate school applications
  • Identifying graduate school funding, scholarships, and fellowships


In order to be eligible to apply, applicants must meet following criteria:

  •  Must be an undergraduate who completed 40 credit hours
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Obtain at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA
  • Be a low-income and first generation college student and/or a member of an underrepresented group in higher education, (i.e. African-American, Latinx/Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander)

Information Sessions

All information sessions will be held in Coughlin Hall Room 357 B


  • September 12: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • September 19: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • September 26: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • October 3: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • October 10: 4:00 – 5:00 pm


  • October 12: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • September 15: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • September 22: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • September 29: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • October 6: 10:00 – 11:00 am

Application Materials

  • A copy of unofficial college transcript
  • 500-word maximum writing sample demonstrating your academic writing (such as a class paper)
  • 2 references (one reference must be from a professor)
  • Statement of purpose addressing the following questions (750-1000 words maximum)
    • Describe a research topic that interests you and your familiarity with the topic
    • Why are you interested in researching this topic? That is, how do your background or personal experiences relate to your topic?
    • How will a PhD in your academic discipline contribute to your future academic, professional, and personal goals?
    • What graduate programs would you be interested in pursuing?
  • Income documentation:
    • Provide a copy of your tax return that contains the taxable income from 2022 (if independent)
    • Provide a copy of your parents’ tax return that contains the taxable income from 2022 (if dependent)
  • Complete online application

Application Dates & Link

  • Application currently closed

In the following, we will provide you with the application link and information about how to complete the 3-Step Application Process. If you have questions about the application process, please don’t hesitate to contact

The 3-Step Application Process:

  • STEP 1 is very simple, and it should only take about 5 minutes to complete. We will ask for your personal information, demographic information, and academic information.
    • The point of STEP 1 is to determine your eligibility for the McNair Scholars Program. Once you submit this information, we will determine whether you are eligible, and we will email you a link for STEP 2.
    • LINK TO STEP 1
  • STEP 2 consists of two forms:
    • Once you submit STEP 1, we will determine your eligibility and we will email you a link to upload your supporting documents (Statement of Purpose, Unofficial Transcripts, Tax Information, etc.). The point of STEP 1 and STEP 2 is that we don’t want you to submit a full application if you are not eligible.
    • STEP 2.5 requests information about your REFERENCES. In addition to a link to submit your supporting documents, you will receive a link for you to provide the contact information for your 2 REFERENCES. We will then contact your references and they will fill out a form which they will then submit to us.
  • STEP 3 the needs Assessment
    • Complete the McNair Scholars Program Initial Needs Assessment Survey. This survey is a tool that program staff utilizes to gain insight into the needs, goals, academic interests, experiences, and growth opportunities of potential McNair participants. The data collected from this survey helps to determine student fitness for the McNair Scholars Program and helps the program staff to plan appropriately for each cohort and individualized care. We ask that each respondent be as transparent as they feel comfortable and complete the survey in its entirety. 
    • Complete this Needs Assesment Form
  • STEP 4 is the Interview
    • At this point, you should have submitted the information and materials for STEP 1, STEP 2, and STEP 3. We will collect this information and we will invite you for short in-person interview. The point of the interview is to get to know you better in terms both of your academic and personal interests.