About the McNair Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program is one of a suite of federal TRiO programs sponsored by the US Department of Education. Its purpose is "to prepare eligible participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities."

The McNair program was established in 1986, and the first McNair grantees were funded in 1989. The program has grown steadily in the number of grantee institutions, level of appropriation, and number of students participating in the program.

By 2000 the program was awarding close to $35 million in grants and serving more than 3,700 students annually. The total appropriation for McNair funding in FY 2017 was $950 million.

Morris's McNair program began in 2017.

The program is dedicated to the memory of NASA astronaut Ronald McNair.

About Ronald E. McNair

Ronald E. McNair

Ronald Ervin McNair was a laser physicist and molecular spectroscopist who was also a 5th degree black belt Karate instructor, jazz saxophonist, husband and father. He graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina A&T State University and earned his PhD in physics from MIT. He had earned numerous additional honors and was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously after his death in 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger, on which he was a mission specialist, exploded after launch. Ronald E. McNair represents the best in academic excellence and serves as an inspiration for those served by the program that bears his name. 

How does it work?

The plan for the project encompasses academic success, scholarly research and professional development. It begins with your acceptance into the program (whereupon you are officially recognized as a "McNair Scholar") and continues until attainment of the PhD/EdD.

This is a long-term commitment by us and by you! The general outline of the plan for academic year 2017-18 is given below; several other activities will be announced as the project gets off the ground.

What are the benefits?

Acceptance into the McNair program means that you will participate in a specially focused and carefully developed plan to help you succeed academically as an undergraduate while preparing you for your path to the PhD/EdD.

Central to the McNair Scholar program is a paid undergraduate research experience (with a $2,800 stipend) in which you will work closely with a faculty mentor to develop a scholarly research proposal, then carry out that work and present your results. Note: there are only 12 funded positions per year.

In addition, McNair Scholars will benefit from:

  • Belonging to a close community of scholars and educators
  • Specialized academic guidance and support coordinated by McNair staff
  • Participation in several "Success Seminars" and workshops that introduce you to financial literacy, academic success tools, graduate school (what it is all about and how to get there), professional communication, research preparation, and preparation for the GRE
  • Ongoing mentoring from peers, faculty, and McNair staff
  • Opportunities to participate in research conferences and visit graduate schools