Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program & Application

Would you like to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty mentor and receive a research stipend? Do you want to learn more about graduate school? If so, we encourage you to apply to the McNair Scholars Program. Some of the opportunities that the Program offers are:

  • participation in a paid research project ($2800) with a faculty/mentor in your field of study,
  • attend professional conferences and present your research at a national conference,
  • learn about graduate opportunities and careers in your field,
  • and visit graduate schools.

McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society. It is open to students of all majors, but only for those who wish to attain doctoral degrees (excluding Doctor of Medicine and Juris Doctor degrees).

The deadline for consideration is Friday, September 18, 2020. This program includes coursework (tuition waived). The first course GRD 451 (2 credits) begins Spring 2021.

For this application, you will need to submit:

  • two letters of recommendation/references from an instructor or faculty member,
  • a copy of the 2019 income tax return that you are claimed on,
  • and a pdf copy of your most 2020-21 Student Aid Report (FASFA).

Additionally, in the application we ask that you upload Word docs or PDFs that include:

  • a 500-1000 word Statement of Purpose describing your research interests,
  • a resume/CV,
  • and a 4-page (or less) writing sample that demonstrates you have used and cited sources.

Supplemental Questions
  1. 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, grant 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 work closely with participants as they complete their undergraduate requirements. Institutions encourage participants to enroll in graduate programs and then track their progress through to the successful completion of advanced degrees with an overall goal to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

    The McNair Scholars Program at USM strives to create a bridge between undergraduate and graduate education. The program supports eligible undergraduates in acquiring the knowledge, skills and capacities necessary to successfully navigate the rigors of Ph.D. studies through immersion in research and a variety of scholarly activities. Scholars are provided opportunities to work along side graduate students from various disciplines in order to gain first-hand knowledge of the various types of research being conducted at USM.

  2. Please provide no more than four (4) pages of a sample of your writing. Use what you feel is the best demonstration of your academic writing ability (i.e., paper from a composition course, research paper, etc.).
  3. Please upload a document which describes (1) your academic and research interests, (2) your educational and career goals, (3) how participation in the McNair Scholars Program will impact your educational and career goals, (4) your motivation for pursuing a doctoral degree, and (5) the contributions you wish to make in your field of study with a doctoral degree.

    Note: Your Statement of purpose and Research Experience should be a minimum of 500 words with a maximum of 1000 words (be sure to include your word count total at the end of your Statement of Purpose by clicking Insert > Quick Parts > Field. In the Field names list, click NumWords, and then click OK.)
  4. List any research experience you may have had below as well as describe any research experience you have gained in a university setting. Please include what you accomplished with your research. Note: Not having research experience does not disqualify you from the program. We are simply interested in what you might have done already.
    • Please use the following format to describe your research experiences. Add as many entries as needed.

      Area/Type of Research:

      Mentor/Supervisor Name:

      Location of Research:


      Brief description of experience and what you accomplished with your research:

  5. Upon the completion of your undergraduate degree, do you plan to apply to graduate school?
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