Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the McNair Scholars Program right for me?

The McNair Scholars program seeks to admit students who are passionate about their field of study and their desire to earn a terminal doctoral degree. Scholars who have been successful in the program are typically those who are interested in developing the critical skills they will need as they enter graduate school and begin working towards a terminal doctoral degree. McNair Scholars are interested in giving back to the community and to serve as an example to others by making successful and informed decisions. Their priorities are success and perseverance with the ability to overcome obstacles and challenges and they meet their goals and exceed expectation. McNair Scholars are part of a vibrant community that is committed to academic excellence and long-term professional success.

2. Is the McNair Scholars Program a scholarship program?

No. The McNair Scholars Program is not a scholarship program, nor does it offer scholarships. The Program does, however, prepare Scholars to search out graduate school funding and helps position them to be competitive for traditional graduate school funding.

3. Who is eligible for the UST McNair Scholars program?

The program is open to sophomore and first-semester junior students who have a cumulative GPA of 2.85 or higher; are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; are defined as "first-generation" (neither parent/guardian obtained a Bachelor'sdegree), low-income (see table under 'Eligibility') students OR are students from groups traditionally underrepresented in doctoral study (i.e. Native American, Latino, Black (non-Hispanic), and, in some fields, women); and are academically motivated and committed to pursuing a terminal doctoral degree.

4. What if I do not meet the income guidelines?

The UST McNair Scholars Program serves 25 Scholars each year.  Among the 25 Scholars served, 2/3 of the Scholars must be first-generation college students   meeting the income guidelines. The other 1/3 must be from underrepresented groups in their respective field of study.  Please see the McNair Scholars website for the federal income guidelines.

5. How does the McNair Scholars program prepare students for graduate study?

Participants will focus on topics that build research and teaching skills, explain the graduate school process, and introduce professional academic culture (such as presenting and publishing research/scholarship). The McNair Scholars may also work directly with faculty mentors in their field who serve as role models, offer personalized advice, accompany the Scholars to conferences, and help them with networking opportunities. Scholars engage and complete a summer research internship in which they do original research or creative activity in their field, under faculty supervision, which in turn prepares them for the level of work they will engage in graduate school.

6. Should I apply to the program if I am not interested in pursuing a Ph.D.?

No. The McNair Scholars Program's primary goal is to increase the number of students from underrepresented segments of society who go on to earn a terminal doctoral degree. Students accepted into this program are preparing for immediate admission into graduate school following completion of their undergraduate degree.  Scholars are expected to go into masters degree programs and then a doctoral program, or they may go directly into a doctoral program if admissible.  In any case, students considering the McNair Scholars Program must have definite goals for attaining a terminal doctoral degree.

7. Are there any financial advantages to the McNair Scholars Program?

During the summer Scholars receive a stipend, tuition for the academic credits earned from the Summer Research Program (SRP), and assistance with room and board. There are also long-term financial advantages--see the next question.

Scholars receive a stipend of $4,000, which is paid in increments during the Summer Research Institute and during the following academic school year.  Stipends are tied to program benchmarks or due dates for program assignments. The majority of the stipend will be paid during the summer months.

8. Will the McNair Scholars Program help me get into graduate school?

Yes. Many graduate schools provide application fee waivers for McNair Scholars and some actively recruit McNair Scholars and offer them graduate fellowships. Graduate schools know that McNair Scholars are motivated, have an understanding of the rigors and culture of graduate study, and have research and/or scholarship experience. Faculty mentors and McNair staff offer a wealth of information and advice about graduate programs and aid sources. In addition, McNair Scholars may sign onto the National McNair Scholar listserv from which they can learn about scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, special offers from graduate schools, and insider's tips from past Scholars who have entered doctoral programs.

9. Are all Scholars required to live in the residence hall?

Yes, unless special circumstances make it impossible for a Scholar to do so. All scholars are required to live on campus during the summer. Students currently living in apartments must live in the Residence Hall. The cost of your room and board during the summer is covered by the Program.  Living on campus is meant to facilitate your research and help you draw more effectively on the broad resources of the University while participating in the varied activities of the McNair community.

10. What if my field of study requires a different exam than the GRE?

The McNair Scholars Program recognizes that there are other graduate school admissions tests; however, the program only supports the GRE. All Scholars, regardless of their field of study, will participate in GRE training.  The Program will not provide a discounted fee for any other graduate school admissions test and provides only one discount of 50% off the test fee per Scholar for the GRE test exam.

11. Can I work and/or take courses while participating in the Summer Research Institute?

Scholars are required to make a full-time commitment to the Summer Research Institute and to complete all McNair Scholars Program activities.  During the summer, Scholars will have some evening events and be expected to engage in library study for their research. The Summer Research Institute is meant to give Scholars the time and space for in-depth reflection and concentrated work on their research projects.

12. What if I want to work for a while before going to graduate school?

McNair Scholars are training to proceed immediately into graduate school while they still have motivation for studying and before they acquire other responsibilities (family, career track, etc.) that may limit their options.