UC McNair Programs FAQs

Please read the answers below to some of our Frequently Asked Questions. Click on each question header to see the FAQs. 

  • What is the difference between McNair Prep and McNair Traditional? McNair Prep is open to students with 30 credit hours or more (beginning the Fall of their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year in undergraduate) while McNair Traditional is open to students with 60 credits or more (beginning the Fall of their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year in undergraduate) . Both programs require a 3.0 GPA. However, McNair Traditional students must meet additional federal eligibility requirements. McNair Prep scholars do not have to meet these additional eligibility requirements. Please see reach out to with specific questions about your application. 
  • Are students from all academic majors eligible to apply? Yes! Both McNair Traditional and McNair Prep are open to all majors at the university. 
  • I’m a post-bac or graduate student, am I eligible for the program? Unfortunately, no. You must be enrolled in your first bachelorette degree program to be eligible. 
  • I will be a senior this upcoming Fall; can I still apply for the program?  Yes! This will require some extra work on your part because of the condensed timeline. 
  • I am an international student, am I eligible for the program? Unfortunately, no. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to be eligible for the programs.
  • I do not have a faculty mentor. Should I still apply? Yes! If need be, our program helps you find a faculty mentor actively doing research at the university. However, it is great if you already have a faculty member with whom you are doing research. 
  • Do I need to have an already formulated research question and topic in order to apply? No, students formulate their research questions with the assistance of the faculty mentor over the course of the program. 
  • Do I have to have research experience to be accepted into McNair? No, for many scholars, there McNair experience is one of their first experiences with collegiate level research.
  • What are some of the benefits McNair Scholars receive? 
    • Paid Research Experience
    • One-on-one Faculty Mentoring
    • Graduate School Application Assistance
    • Assistance with Identification of Potential Funding Sources for Graduate study
    • Excellent Networking Opportunities
    • Opportunity to Write for Publication
    • Waiver of Application Fees for many Graduate Schools-including University of Cincinnati
    • Access to GRE Waivers 
    • Opportunities for Conference Travel and Graduate School Tours 
    • Graduate Student Mentoring
  • What is the time commitment for the program? McNair Scholars (Prep and Traditional) enroll in a 1-3 credit hour research and graduate school preparation course both the fall and spring semester of their first year in the program. In addition, students are expected to work on their research 5-10 hours a week during Fall and Spring semesters. McNair Traditional students who are involved in the 8-week, paid internship program are expected to work 30-40 hours weekly on their research. 
  • I want to go to graduate school but I’m not sure if I want to pursue a Ph.D., is this the right program for me? This program is designed for students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. This includes students whose career goals require a Ph.D. 
  • I want to get a medical degree (MD) or a law degree (JD). Is this program right for me? Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. However, we are open to accepting students who are interested in dual degrees including the MD/Ph.D. and JD/Ph.D.
  • In order to be in the program, do I have to go to UC for graduate school? No, McNair Scholars apply and get accepted to many different universities and colleges for graduate school. 
  • What information do I need in order to apply? 
  1. Access to your student information via Catalyst 
  2. Names and emails of your recommenders (1 required for Prep; 2 required for Traditional) 
  3. A written personal statement prompt below. 
  4. Income document A or B (see below). 
  • Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation? Two faculty or staff recommendations (faculty preferred) are required for the Traditional McNair Program, and one recommendation is required for the McNair Prep Program. Please feel free to add up to 3 recommenders on the application to ensure a quick recommender response time. If you add 3 recommenders, 1 recommender may be a personal recommendation from an outside university source (job, community service, place of faith, etc.).  Links will be sent to your recommenders AFTER you submit your application.  Recommendation links must be submitted by recommenders by March 8, 2024 at 11:59PM. 
  • What should I write about in my personal statement? Your 500-word statement (approximately two and one-half typewritten pages, double-spaced) should include the answers to the following questions: 
  1. Why do you want to pursue a Ph.D.? If you are also interested in a professional degree (MD, DDS, JD, etc.), how could a professional degree/ Ph.D. dual degree improve your career outlook? Please see the Dual Degree resources below to support your answer of this question. 
  2. What are your short- and long-term academic goals and career objectives?
  3. How can the McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program or the McNair Prep program assist you in attaining those goals?
  4. What specific research area would interest you the most? Discuss a possible research topic and the name of a mentor (professor or researcher with whom you would like to work).
  5. Describe a personal example that shows your persistence and commitment to academic endeavors.

        Dual Degree Resources 

        MD/ PhD    Master's/ JD     JD/ PhD    DDS/ PhD    PharmD/ Ph.D

  • What is your AI policy? Assistive technology such as AI-generators are great tools to support one's writing such as templates and grammar supportive technologies (ie. Grammarly). However, these technologies are only permitted to be used as assistive tools for this personal statement. Personal statements, that are notably influenced by Artificial Intelligence, are prohibited due to them not being your personal original work. Based on the committee's discretion, the McNair Scholars Program holds the right to disqualify your application for this reason.
  • What income document do I need to submit? As a federally funded program, the McNair Scholars Program has specific eligibility requirements. In order to determine eligibility, we need verification of income. Please submit either Document A or Document B below depending on your personal criteria. For tax returns (not FAFSA/ SAR reports), we only require the first page showing the names and taxable income (line 11) and the last page showing a signature (digital or physical). Please blackout or redact any sensitive information outside of names and the taxable income. 

        Document A - If you meet any one of these criteria below, please submit a copy         of your most recent tax return signed OR most recent digitally or physically signed FASFA          application (SAR). 

        Document A Criteria 

    • are 24 years of age or older by December 31st of this current year. 
    • are an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court, or was an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court at any time when you were 13 years of age or older 
    • are /or have been an emancipated minor, or in legal guardianship immediately prior to turning 18
    • are a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces 
    • are a graduate or professional student (ineligible for McNair)
    • are married 
    • have legal dependents other than a spouse 
    • are verified to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless OR at risk of homelessness and self-supporting

        Document B - If you meet none of the criteria above for Document A, please submit a copy of your parents' or legal guardians' most recent signed tax return OR your most  recent digitally or physically signed FASFA application (SAR). 

If you have more questions, please email us at