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

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


  • 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 17: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • October 24: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • October 31: 4:00 – 5:00 pm


  • 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
  • October 13: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • October 20: 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • October 27: 10:00 – 11:00 am

Application Materials

  1. A copy of unofficial college transcript
  2. 500-word maximum writing sample demonstrating your academic writing (such as a class paper)
  3. 2 references (one reference must be from a professor)
  4. 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?
  5. Income documentation:
    • Provide a copy of your tax return that contains the taxable income from 2021 (if independent)
    • Provide a copy of your parents’ tax return that contains the taxable income from 2021 (if dependent)
  6. Complete online application

Application Dates & Link

  • Application opens on September 15th, 2022
  • Application closes on October 31st, 2022

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. STEP 3 is the Interview
    • At this point, you should have submitted the information and materials for STEP 1 and STEP 2. 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.