The Federal TRiO Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement program is funded by the US Department of Education. It is a graduate school preparatory program whose objective is to assist college students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter graduate schools. Please explore our website for more information about the McNair program and about the McNair program at UW-Eau Claire.
Who funds the McNair program?
The UWEC McNair program is funded by the traditional McNair grant, as well as the provost, academic, and other benefactors. For a detailed breakdown of our funds, please see our funding page.
Who is eligible to become a McNair scholar?
In order to be eligible for the McNair Scholar Program, a student must be either 150% below the poverty line and a first generation college student, or, a student from a racial group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate studies and among doctoral recipients.
How can I find out if I am eligible?
See our eligibility page and take our optional eligibility quiz. If you pass this quiz, then you are eligible. We still have our internal evaluation and approval process which is mainly based on the strength of mentor nomination, applicant's GPA and our assessment about the applicant's potential for graduate school.
I am eligible but I am not interested in graduate school. Ca
Unfortunately, no. Students who wish to join the McNair Program are required to attend graduate school.
How do I find a mentor if I am interested in the program?
Each McNair scholar must have a dedicated mentor. If you do not have a mentor or were not nominated despite being eligible and interested, then please contact the McNair program. Provided we find you eligible to enter the program, we can work with you to find a suitable mentor.
How many years does the McNair program take?
The full program is two years. We can accommodate seniors for a one-year compact version of the program, although in order to be eligible for the compact program, an applicant must already be doing advanced research and must be gearing up for the graduate school application process. Although not recommended, in rare cases, some McNair scholars also opt for a three-year version of the program, especially if they want to stay an extra year to take more courses, or if their first attempt at graduate school failed to produce desirable results.
Are participants guaranteed admission to grad school?
No, the McNair program prepares you for the graduate school application process, but there is no guarantee that you will get admission
Does my major affect my eligibility for the program?
We welcome all majors from academic disciplines, as long as the intention is to go to graduate school, preferably to complete a doctoral degree. We normally do not admit students from professional schools, as we tend to focus primarily on the College of Arts & Sciences.
Are international students eligible?
Unfortunately no. In order to be eligible for the McNair program, a student must be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S.
Can I still apply if my GPA is not at or above a 3.0?
Low GPA is usually a deterrent to graduate school admission. However, there are ways to overcome this such as high GRE score, strong research, and other qualities that make a student unique and attractive as a graduate student. Please discuss with the McNair program if you have low GPA but think you are otherwise eligible. We cannot guarantee acceptance into the program but will certainly be happy to discuss with you.
Am I able to apply if I already have a bachelor's degree?
Unfortunately no. The McNair Program only works with students who are current undergraduates.
What if I am not sure I want a Ph.D.?
The McNair Scholars Program is designed for students who intend to continue their research at a graduate school whether that is through a Masters or PHD program. However, it is not for students who want to attend a professional school like law school, medical school, business school, etc.
When should I start preparing to apply to graduate school?
At least one year in advance. We encourage all students in our program to begin preparing for the graduate school application process during their junior year. Typically, the graduate school application process is a cumbersome process that needs advanced level time and stress management. The process consists of several components as follows:
- The Application
- Application Fee
- Curriculum Vitae
- Academic Transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement
- GRE Scores
- On-Line Portfolio
- Admissions Interview (if offered/required)
- A Site Visit (if offered/required)
- Audition (if offered/required)
How will I pay for graduate school?
Many graduate students receive comprehensive funding packages. Apart from that assistance, the McNair staff will provide you with the necessary resources to become a competitive candidate for institutional and extramural funding opportunities.
Is this a scholarship?
No. The McNair Scholars Program offers a summer stipend for independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, as well as travel funds for academic conferences and graduate school fairs. In addition, a one-time reimbursement of summer tuition is provided to all participants.
How will the stipend affect my financial aid?
The stipend does not affect your financial aid.
Do I need to take the GRE?
Yes, it is recommended because most graduate programs in the U.S. require current GRE scores. To assist with this, The McNair Program offers a free GRE preparation course to help you practice for the exam.
Must I start a PhD immediately?
No, you can start with Master's degree and continue with a doctoral program. We do require our scholars to begin a graduate program immediately after graduating from UW-Eau Claire. In other words, we discourage the "gap year". In our experience, the gap year results in students not returning for graduate education. Since our objective is to ensure McNair scholars get admission in graduate school, gap year avoidance is one of our primary objectives.
Can combined grad programs be an option?
Yes, you can apply. We do only accept students who want to pursue a PhD degree but you are welcome to simultaneously pursue a professional degree as well. McNair program however will only provide services for the graduate school leading to a PhD, not for any professional degrees.
Can I earn college credits through the McNair program?
McNair scholars who pursue the full two-year program earn a total of ten college credits through the four McNair seminars and the independent study course during the summer research institute.