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What is the McNair Scholars Program? 


The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded TRIO Program that provides encouragement, guidance, and mentorship to underrepresented students in preparation for graduate school. Additionally, we work closely to help students prepare for doctoral study through research and scholarly activities. The purpose of the McNair program is to assist in the academic and professional development of undergraduates whose goals are to attain a Ph.D. and complete research at the college level.


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What do the students do?

Students participating in the McNair program will have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, conduct a research project (led by an OSU faculty member), apply to graduate programs, and other scholarly activities such as visiting their desired graduate school and attending conferences. Students will also participate in workshops geared towards graduate success and preparing them to be highly competitive graduate school applicants. 


Program Services

The McNair Scholars program will provide students with:


  • Participation in academic conferences
  • Networking opportunities
  • Program sponsored graduate school visits
  • Graduate support workshops
  • Mentoring with professors on campus
  • Individualized advising and career planning
  • Program sponsored scholarships
  • Financial aid assistance
  • Portfolio development
  • Assistance with applying for Competitive Research Awards
  • Graduate school preparation
  • Tutoring

Eligibility Requirements & Criteria:

OSU students, including incoming transfer students, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and meet the criteria below, are encouraged to apply to the McNair Scholar Program.


Applicants must meet either one of the following criteria:

  • First-generation* college student of any race/ethnicity that also has a low family income level**, as established by the U.S. Department of Education; and/or
  • A member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, i.e., Alaska Native, American Indian, Black/African American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, or Native American Pacific Islanders

In addition to the criteria above, students must:

  • Have completed at least 60 credits before Summer 2021  (junior or senior standing)
  • Have a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA or greater.
  • Plan to continue immediately to graduate school and persist to earn a PhD

The McNair Scholars Program is not open to students who only plan to pursue a Master's or professional degree (e.g., MD, JD, DVM, PharmD, PsyD, DNP, etc.)


* A first-generation college student means: (1) a student neither of whose natural or adoptive parents received a baccalaureate degree; or (2) a student who, before the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent, and whose supporting parent did not receive a baccalaureate degree.; or (3) an individual who, before the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent.


** The term low-income refers to an individual whose family's taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level amount. Click here for current Federal TRIO Program low-income levels.


For more information on the laws, regulations, and federal guidelines governing the McNair Scholars Program, visit: 



McNair Scholars Online Application 

If you are an eligible undergraduate interested in pursuing a Ph.D., we encourage you to explore our program. McNair Scholars have access to workshops, research internships, faculty mentorship, leadership opportunities, funding, and more that make all the difference as you advance through your education.


McNair Scholars Program Application 2020-2021

McNair Recommendation Form


A Completed Application Consists Of:

  • Completed application form with the following documents uploaded into the application:
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Resume or CV
    • Documentation of eligibility, as applicable:
      • Copy of your permanent resident card or other documentation of permanent resident status
      • Copy of your 2019-2020 FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR)
      • Copy of your or your parent(s)'/guardians(s)' 2018 Federal Income tax return
  • Two recommendations (submitted directly by your references)

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

All applicants must upload a 1-page statement of purpose (1-inch margins, 12pt font, single-spaced) addressing the following:

  • Please explain why you believe you desire to become a McNair Scholar to transition into graduate school successfully. We are particularly interested in your family background, your educational experiences to date, your passion for your field of study, and your career objectives. We advise you carefully draft this statement. Writing a strong, clear, concise statement of purpose demands thoughtful planning and much revision.

Recommendation Guidelines

  • Each applicant must have TWO recommendations.
  • ONE letter should come from a faculty member (professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers) who can best assess your academic work, research potential, and motivation to attend graduate school. The second letter can come from a personal mentor, adviser, employer, or supporter.
  • If you are a first-year transfer student, you may obtain recommendations from your previous institution's faculty members.

Additional Application Materials

***Completed and uploaded into the online McNair Application within the appropriate section.***

Current OSU Unofficial Transcript

McNair Authorization for Release of Records FormMcNair Program Participation Agreement Form

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