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McNair Scholars Program

Lynn Curry, Director

Robinson 118


Background. The McNair Scholars Program prepares undergraduate participants for doctoral study through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair scholars are from disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate strong academic potential. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and named after the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the goal of the program is to increase attainment of the Ph.D. by students from underrepresented segments of society.

Eligibility. Students are eligible to become McNair scholars if they are seriously interested in pursuing graduate study (specifically a Ph.D.), U.S. citizens or permanent residents, full-time students at CMU with a minimum GPA of 2.8, at the sophomore or junior level and are low-income and first-generation college students and/or members of a population underrepresented in graduate education (typically African American, Native American or Hispanic).

Activities. New scholars (spring and summer) identify a faculty research mentor, develop a research proposal, investigate graduate programs of interest, prepare to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), conduct supervised research, write a research report, attend a graduate school training camp, and complete the Summer Research Institute (SRI). Continuing scholars (fall and spring) present their research at professional meetings and national conferences accompanied by their mentors or McNair staff, visit their top choice graduate school, apply for admission to graduate programs, and complete their bachelor’s degree.

Benefits. McNair scholars receive a $2400 stipend plus a living allowance during the summer. Scholars receive a travel allowance to attend undergraduate research conferences and/or professional meetings to present their research and are funded to visit potential graduate schools. They also receive GRE waivers and graduate admission fee waivers for most institutions to which they apply. Scholars participate in a research writing course and attend a GRE training class, which are also covered by the program.

To Apply. Applications are accepted throughout the year; however, a formal recruitment period occurs each fall. Feel free to stop by the office to learn more about the program and/or pick up an application.