Ronald E. McNair Program

Website: Ronald E. McNair Program



The Ronald E. McNair Program is a Ph.D. preparatory program, preparing eligible first-generation, low-income, and/or minority undergraduate students for doctoral study through involvement in research and scholarly activities. The purpose of the McNair Program is to assist in the academic and professional development of undergraduates whose goals are to teach and research at the college level. In order to help students achieve these goals, the program sponsors and supports undergraduate experiences that lay the foundation for a successful graduate school experience. By fostering mentoring relationships, promoting undergraduate research, assisting with GRE preparation, and encouraging students to attend and present at conferences, we aim to produce highly competitive graduate school applicants who have the skills and experiences necessary to succeed in their programs.

Benefits for McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars Program offers a challenging and supporting environment that is conducive to learning and personal / professional development. Click here to see the timeline for a typical McNair Scholar experience.

As a McNair Scholar, you will have access to the following benefits:

  • Advising:
    • The academic and personal support of the UW McNair Staff
    • Assistance in finding, applying, and gaining admission to graduate school programs
    • Assistance in locating and applying to funding for graduate study through fellowships and grants
    • Faculty, graduate student, and peer mentoring
    • Access to tutoring and the OMAD Instructional Center
  • Seminars and Workshops:
    • Seminar courses are offered every quarter to provide structured support in graduate school exploration and preparation
    • Structured preparatory program to support students who need to take the GRE General Exam
    • Workshops on financial aid and financial planning, scholarships and fellowships and the culture of graduate school
  • Research Support:
    • A research stipend to complete an original research project
    • Assistance finding a faculty research mentor
    • Training in research proposal writing
    • Opportunities to participate in research conferences, such as the UW McNair Scholars Research Conference
    • Publication of original research in the UW McNair Scholars Journal
    • Travel funding to present / attend research and professional conferences and visit graduate schools

Eligibility requirements:

  • be a low-income student who is also a first-generation college student (for detailed descriptions, click on the links)


  • be a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/ Native Pacific Islander)

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or in the process of obtaining permanent residency
  • be currently enrolled as an undergraduate in a degree program at the UW1
  • have completed 36 credits by the time of initial entry into the program
  • have at least one year remaining before graduation (i.e., if you are graduating within the year, you are not eligible for the program)
  • have a minimum cumulative GPA of: 2.8 (sophomores), 3.0 (juniors & seniors)2
  • have STRONG desire to attain a Ph.D.3

1Post-baccalaureate students and students who already have a bachelor’s degree are not eligible for the program.

2Students with a lower GPA may reach out to program staff to discuss eligibility.

3Students whose career goals include a medical (MD) or other professional degree (JD, MBA, PharmD, etc.) are not eligible for the program. Please refer to the Additional Resources page.

Student Type
  • freshman
  • sophomore
  • junior
  • senior
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident

Application Part 1:

  1. Online Form to Submit Demographic Information & Written Material
  2. Writing Instructions & Prompts

Application Part 2:

  1. Due in February for applicants selected for interviews. Income Verification

Link To: 2023 Application Form

To learn more about the UW McNair Scholars Program and the Application process:

  1. Visit our video webpage for overviews of our program and the application process. Video Overviews
  2. Sign up for an Information Session: UW McNair Bookings

Information sessions will be held:

  1. December 1st, 3:30-4:30 pm In Person: 171 Mary Gates Hall in the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity
  2. December 6th, 3:30-4:30 pm ONLINE
  3. January 6th, In Person: 171 Mary Gates Hall in the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity
Service Agreement

As a McNair Scholar, you will be expected to:

  • Attend all scheduled workshops and events
  • Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Meet regularly with your McNair Graduate Student Advisor
  • Participate in all required activities
  • Meet regularly with your faculty mentor
  • Complete at least one research project
  • Present your research, either at our Annual Spring Research Conference, at another McNair conference in the country, or at a professional conference in your discipline
  • Publish your research paper, either in our annual UW McNair Scholars Journal or in a peer-reviewed journal in your discipline
  • Notify McNair staff of all graduate school acceptances, rejections, and financial packages
  • Maintain contact with McNair staff after you graduate from the UW
Contact Information

Please let us know if you have any questions.

E-mail or call 206-543-6460.