What is the McNair Scholars Program?
The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. Through a grant competition, funds are awarded to institutions of higher education to prepare eligible participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Participants are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have demonstrated strong academic potential. Institutions encourage participants to enroll in graduate programs and then track their progress through successful completion of advanced degrees with an overall goal to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented backgrounds.
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To be eligible to participate, students should meet the following criteria:
- Will have completed at least 60 credit hours by summer 2022,
- Has not already completed a bachelor's degree,
- Has a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA (or higher),
- Is a U.S. citizen or has permanent U.S. residency,
- Is pursuing a major in a STEM field, social sciences, or humanities,
- Comes from an income-eligible situation and is the first generation to complete a baccalaureate degree OR be a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (African-America, Hispanic-Latino, Native American and Alaskan, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian),
- Intends to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation.
- The McNair Scholars Program provides year round services to prepare participants for acceptance into quality graduate programs of their choice.
- Workshops and seminars provide information on such topics as selecting a graduate school, the graduate school application process, graduate financial aid, library research skills, technical writing, polishing computer skills, strengthening academic skills, Graduate Record Examination preparation and more.
- Faculty research mentors help students formulate their research interests and develop their research skills.
- We provide individualized assistance to help students with their undergraduate academic needs (planning, counseling, tutoring, GRE preparation, and application process.) and to help identify graduate schools and special programs of interest. In addition, we assist in admission to graduate programs of choice.
- Networking and making new friends with the same interests. Moreover, access to information and opportunities that one normally would not hear about.
- A summer research internship. Benefits include working with a faculty mentor, a stipend (up to $2,800) and a summer housing allowance.
The program has high expectations for our McNair Scholars. We offer full academic support throughout the year for our students so that they can maximize their potential and obtain their educational goals.
- Enrollment in a spring research course.
- Participation in the Summer Research Program.
- Attendance at all workshops and/or seminars.
- Maintain a 3.0 (or higher) cumulative GPA.
- Completion of an academic research project under the direction of a faculty mentor.
- Presentation of research at a national conference or at a McNair Symposium.
- Preparation for the GRE Exam.
- Students must develop a diverse portfolio including curriculum vitae, statement of purpose, electronic research presentation, and evidence of research and scholarly activity to facilitate their graduate school application.
- Completion of a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of attaining a bachelor's degree from USM.
To apply to the program, you will need to obtain and submit the following:
- One letter of recommendation from an instructor or faculty member who can attest to your academic success.
- A writing sample of no more than four pages. A class assignment is an acceptable submission.
- A 500-1000 word brief essay (commonly known as a statement of purpose) about your educational and career goals.
- A PDF copy of your 2020 Tax Return. Be sure to include the portion that shows all members of the household, including yourself, and the AGI.
- A PDF copy of your most recent FAFSA (Student Aid Report).
- The McNair Application