A potential scholar listening to a lecture

Is the McNair Program a scholarship? 

No. The Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program helps prepare undergraduate students to earn Ph.D.s and become scholars in their fields.

What is expected of me as a McNair participant?

  • Be part of the Summer Research Program, and

  • Go to graduate school the fall right after graduation.

Do I get any academic credit for being a Scholar? 

Yes. You will get a total of 3 credit hours (which is equivalent to one of your regular classes at NEIU) .

What majors are eligible to participate in the Program? 

Students from all majors are welcome, though some majors very seldom get Ph.D.s. Some programs here at NEIU that tend to end in terminal master's degrees include Social Work, Business, Accounting, and Criminal Justice. 

What is a terminal degree? 

These are master's degrees that are seen as an end in themselves. In most cases, a master's is seen as a step to a Ph.D., but in other cases, it is considered the end of a student’s educational training in a field. Most social workers, for instance, do not go beyond an M.S.W., and most business students do not go beyond an M.B.A. While “academic track” master's degrees (such as those in sociology, psychology, mathematics, physics, etc.) are just another step towards a Ph.D., “practical track” (or terminal) master's degrees are seen as the final step towards joining a profession. If you are pursuing an M.B.A. or another terminal program, you probably aren't going to get a Ph.D. and therefore are unlikely to qualify for our program.

Are part-time students eligible to become McNair scholars? 

Yes, part-time students are eligible to participate in the McNair Program.

I’m a senior. Is it too late to become a McNair scholar? 

What’s most important is when you’re going to graduate, not your class standing. Call the McNair office (773 442 4254) to talk with Skills Specialist Carlos Ospina to discuss your individual circumstances.

I’m a sophomore. Is it too early to become a McNair scholar? 

Absolutely not! In fact, it is especially important to use the summers between academic years in ways that will help you with your academic and career plans; an internship, study abroad experience, other summer research opportunities, etc., can all be very valuable assets when it comes time to apply to graduate programs. We recommend talking with the McNair office as early in your undergraduate career as possible so that we can set up your McNair schedule and make the best use of your summer after your sophomore year.

What if I’m interested in a professional degree (J.D., M.D., M.B.A., etc.) and I still want to participate? 

The mission of the McNair Scholars Program is to diversify faculty in U.S. institutions of higher education by reducing the barriers to the Ph.D. for underrepresented individuals in graduate education. The McNair program recognizes that first-generation/low-income undergraduates and undergraduates of color have a number of career possibilities to consider outside of academia; however, the mission of the program is to increase the number of Ph.D.s, not professional degrees. 

When do I need to apply? 

The NEIU McNair Program starts the application process the first Monday of June. The deadline is the last Friday of November.

How can I get an application? 

On the Application and Checklist page of this website. 

Are there any financial advantages to the McNair program? 

Students participating in summer research earn a stipend of $ 2,800 to help pay for living costs and have a budget for research expenses.

How can I afford grad school? 

There are a number of financial assistance programs available to graduate students, including fellowships, assistantships, grants and loans. The advising process and preparation opportunities offered by the program will help you research and find funding for graduate school. 

Will the stipend affect my financial aid? 

No. The stipend is not considered income.

Can I be employed and still be a Scholar?

Many of the McNair Scholars are employed during the academic year. During the summer you may find working in addition to the summer program too much. Talk to your University advisor to come up with a schedule and plan to balance work, family, research, and classes.

Is summer research mandatory for McNair Scholars? 

While almost all McNair students take advantage of the opportunity to do research during the Summer Research Program, occasionally students choose to pursue research programs at other universities.

Can I use preexisting research as my McNair research? 

No. Your research must be original work done under the guidance of your research mentor.

Does my senior thesis research count as academic research work for McNair? 


What is expected of me a Summer Research Participant? 

  • Conduct summer research for 12 weeks, 20-30 hours per week,

  • Participate in research writing and GRE preparation courses,

  • Present research findings to your professors and other McNair Scholars, and attend all presentations of fellow McNair Scholars,

  • Travel to a summer research conference and present findings,

  • Meet weekly during summer research program with your mentor to discuss progress, and

  • Meet weekly during summer research program with the McNair staff to discuss your progress.

How will the Summer Research Program relate to my other summer obligations? 

The Summer Research Program in an intensive, time-consuming program; McNair Scholars should not take summer classes other than those required by the program and are encouraged to devote their full attention to research. Scholars are paid a summer stipend to offset the financial costs associated with full-time study. Therefore, we recommend that you don’t work unless necessary. We recognize that individual situations vary and that you may have concerns about financial aid or other issues. You are strongly encourage you to speak with the Director about any concerns that you have.