McNair Scholars Program
The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare qualified UT Arlington undergraduates for graduate study culminating in the Ph.D. The program thus provides many benefits to assist scholars to become more competitive in the graduate school application process, leading to their admission to top-ranked programs and facilitating a smooth integration into graduate-level work.
In creating the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, the U.S. Congress paid tribute to Dr. Ronald McNair, an astronaut and scientist who perished aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. The goal of the McNair program is to assist promising students from low-income/first-generation or under-represented backgrounds to enter the professoriate. It was founded on the premise that neither socio-economic nor minority status should prevent talented students from pursuing a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.
The McNair Scholars Program strives to provide opportunities to disadvantaged undergraduates that will assist them to overcome the obstacles often associated with low socio-economic and/or minority status and, via graduate study, to reach their full academic and professional potential.
The McNair Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Arlington fosters success among academically talented but disadvantaged undergraduates enabling them to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate. The McNair program provides guidance, mentoring, academic support, and research and other scholarly activities, thereby preparing Scholars for a successful transition to graduate study culminating in the PhD and a career in the professoriate.
McNair Scholars benefits from a considerable array of services ranging from free UTA transcripts for program-related use to a summer research internship with $3,000 stipend. Such benefits allow participants multiple opportunities to develop their academic and professional potential and to realize their dream of attaining a Ph.D. and entering academia. Scholars enjoy the following:
- Participation in the McNair Summer Research Internship (under the supervision of a faculty mentor) during the summer prior to graduation
- Establishing a relationship with a faculty research mentor in the Scholar's intended area of study
- Three credit hours of independent study related to summer research
- Improved research, writing and presentation skills
- Publication of research abstract in the UTA McNair Research Journal
- Possible publication of research paper in a professional journal
- Conference attendance in and out of Texas (often including graduate school fairs)
- Guidance with the graduate school application process (program selection, funding, writing the personal statement, etc.)
- Graduate school visits (top one or two choices after admission to graduate program)
- Scholar's name and intended area of graduate study sent to programs throughout the United States (who then send student relevant information/application materials)
- Free GRE prep courses (for GRE General Test)
- Free UT Arlington transcripts for program-related use
- Free tutoring
- Eligibility to apply for McNair application fee waivers and fellowships at various universities to fund graduate study
- Use of the McNair Computer Lab
- Borrowing privileges for McNair laptops
- Access to McNair Reference Library materials
- McNair cord at graduation
- Friendships with other students who share common goals
Undergraduates enrolled in at least 12 hours* per semester may apply if they meet the following criteria:
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Either a low-income** and first-generation undergraduate student or a member of a group under-represented in graduate education (African American, Hispanic, Native American/Native Alaskan/Native Hawaiian/American Pacific Islander)
- Sophomore (by spring semester), junior or senior (not graduating until at least the following December) classification. Few sophmores are admitted.
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
**Low-income status is determined by annual taxable household income limits set by the U.S. Department of Education. First-generation status refers to an undergraduate neither of whose parents earned a degree from a four-year institution of higher learning.
The McNair Scholars Program at UT Arlington was funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 1990. It is one of approximately 200 McNair programs at public and private colleges and universities throughout the United States.
The program works with a minimum of 32 Scholars each academic year. It recruits new participants from all majors (in which one might earn a Ph.D.) each fall for spring admission. The program particularly encourages science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors to apply. McNair Scholars remain active members of the program until they graduate with a bachelor of arts or science.
Some McNair Scholars remain on campus for their graduate studies, while others attend graduate programs at institutions throughout the nation. Many Scholars receive substantial funding packages either from their graduate programs or from outside granting agencies.