Scholarship Details

McNair Scholars Program

Application Deadline:



sophomore, junior or senior


The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (also known as the McNair Scholars Program) is one of 180 such programs nationwide. First established in 1989 and named after Dr. Ronald E. McNair, this program is designed to help prepare talented undergraduates to enter graduate school and to receive their doctoral degree.


To be eligible, you:
must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
must be a low-income student who is also a first-generation college student or must be a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander)1
must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate in a degree program at the Penn State University Park campus2
must have completed 36 credits by the time of initial entry into the program
must have at least one year remaining before graduation (i.e., if you are graduating within the year, you are not eligible for the program)
must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
must have STRONG desire to attain a Ph.D.3

1Low-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 baccalaureate degree or, in the case of a custodial parent, this parent/guardian did not earn a baccalaureate degree.

2Postbaccalaureate students and students who already have one bachelors degree are not eligible for the program.

3Students whose career goals only include a medical (MD) or other professional degree (JD, MBA, PharmD, etc.) are not eligible for the program.

Terms of Award:

Be eligible to receive a $2,800 stipend for the summer research project.
Establish a relationship with a faculty social mentor for ongoing academic advising and assistance developing an academic plan for graduate study.
Establish a relationship with a faculty research adviser for guidance through the research project and an introduction to your academic discipline.
Receive support services including: academic seminars, individual surveys and assessments, tutoring services as needed, GRE preparation.
Opportunities to visit graduate school programs.*
Opportunities to attend local, regional, and national conferences to present research.*
Receive financial education and counseling including: individual financial counseling services, a money management seminar, and a seminar on graduate and doctoral program funding alternatives.
Receive personal support services including: individualized technology/computer/library assistance, career counseling, academic career planning, and a peer support system.
Receive assistance applying to graduate schools.
Receive assistance applying for financial aid.
Application fee waivers from participating graduate schools.
Be eligible for GRE test fee vouchers.

McNair Scholars are presented with opportunities to study and do research in the University's state-of-the-art facilities in order to hone those skills required for success in doctoral education.

*Travel funds are contingent upon program participation and are granted at the discretion of the director.

Please Submit:

We do not provide an online application so you will have to come by the office in the fall to meet with the program director or attend one of the information sessions. Why? The application process requires a time investment, and we want to help. We want to make sure you qualify before you invest the time in applying. We also want to make sure that you are ready to make the commitment to a Ph.D. program.

If you would like more information, please contact us at:

Teresa Tassotti
111 Kern
Phone: 863-8195
Fax: (814) 863-9822

Online Application: