Scholar Kendra Joy Letch working in lab

McNair Program

Benefits & Eligibility

Why become a McNair Scholar?

The McNair Program helps students excel as undergraduates and succeed in graduate school.

Benefits of becoming a McNair Scholar:

  • A comprehensive graduate school preparation
  • Assistance in securing admission and financial aid for enrollment in graduate programs
  • Connections with goal-oriented students with a similar background
  • Workshops, courses, and seminars on topics related to graduate school preparation
  • A paid summer research experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor
  • Opportunities to present research at national conferences
  • Math and language tutoring
  • Graduate school visits and tours
  • Academic and career counseling
  • Being a part of a diverse, supportive, learning community

What you do in the program:

Junior Year:

During your junior year you will identify your faculty mentor, work with your mentor to find an appropriate graduate program, and begin designing your research project that you will work on during your summer research internship.

Summer Research Institute:

The summer before your senior year you will attend the McNair Program's Summer Research Institute. For 10 weeks you will work about 30 hours each week with your faculty mentor.

You will also receive 60 hours of math and language tutoring, which is designed to help you become more successful in graduate school and assist you in preparing to take the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE. 

You'll also begin developing your Curriculum Vitae, which is a specialized academic resume, and your Personal Statement. You will need both for when you apply to graduate school.

Finally, you will go on at least three site visits to regional graduate-degree-granting institutions so you can see what different graduate programs have to offer.

The McNair Program provides you with a research stipend and a housing and meal allowance so you can focus full-time on your research.

Senior Year:

During the fall semester of your senior year, Scholars begin applying to graduate programs. You'll also have the opportunity to present your research at one of the National McNair Scholars Research Conferences and the UW-River Falls URSCA (Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity) Fall Gala. 

You will also start to apply to graduate schools. The McNair staff works very hard to make sure that McNair Scholar don't have to pay graduate application fees if possible.


To be eligible for the McNair Program, a student must:

  • Be interested in pursuing a research-based graduate degree (e.g. Ph.D., M.A./M.S., M.F.A., J.D./Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D.)
  • Be a member of an eligible student population
    • A First-Generation college student from a Low-Income background, or
    • A member of a historically underrepresented group (self-identify as African-American; Hispanic/Latinx; Native American or Alaska Native; or Native Hawaiian or Native Pacific Islander)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Have completed at least 45 academic credits
  • Plan to be enrolled at UW-River Falls for at least two years


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Contact Us
216 David Rodli Hall
Office Hours:
M-F 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

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