McNair Scholars FAQs

Common Questions from Potential McNair Applicants

We have compiled a list of common questions, and the answers to them. If your concern isn't addressed here, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

General Program Questions

We encourage scholars to participate in experience that enhance their understanding of self and others. Several McNair Scholars have participated in study abroad. This will not affect your application or, if admitted, your status as a McNair Scholar.

At least one year in advance. We encourage all students in our program to begin preparing for the graduate school application process during their junior year.

A GRE prep course, travel to conferences and graduate school fairs, academic and professional workshops, a paid research internship, and course credits, among many other benefits.

Research through another program can provide a head start for McNair. It can also provide an opportunity to work with a diverse set of faculty members.


To qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, you must be either a low-income as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and first generation college student or a member of group underrepresented in higher education as defined by the U.S. Department of Education  (African-American, Hispanic-Latino, Native American, and Alaskan, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian).

The program works most effectively with students who are entering their junior year. Under special conditions, seniors may apply and be considered depending on their RIC graduation date. If you are a graduating senior, see the Assistant Director to assess your viability as an applicant.

We recognize that everyone's academic journey is unique. We recommend potential scholars with a GPA lower than 3.0 reach out to our Assistant Director. 

The McNair Scholars Program is open to students in all majors at RIC. It is not for students who want to go to a professional school like law school, medical school, pharmacy school, business school, etc.

No. The program is focused only on working with students who are working on their first bachelor's degree.

Financial Concerns and Questions

Many graduate students get comprehensive funding packages, and the McNair staff will prepare you to be competitive for institutional and extramural funding opportunities.

No, this is a research and graduate school preparation program. The McNair Scholars Program does, however, offer a stipend for independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, as well as travel funds for academic conferences and graduate school fairs.

The stipend does not affect your financial aid.

If you are certain you want to earn a PhD, the program is absolutely worth your time. Among other things, the program provides a stipend of $2800, potential travel to academic conferences, a one-year academic research internship, funding for independent research supplies and materials, comprehensive academic advising, and opportunities to build support network with peers and faculty mentors.

Additional Requirements

Most graduate programs in the U.S. require current GRE scores. The McNair Program offers a Qualitative Analysis and Vocabulary course during the summer to help you practice for the exam as well as wavier that provide 50% off the cost on the GRE.

No. The program expects scholars to apply to both Masters and PhD programs during their senior year as an undergraduate student. Scholars, however, do not have to participate in any graduate program immediately following their completion of their bachelor's degree. The program does, however, expect scholars to obtain a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of attaining their bachelor’s degree.

Yes. The McNair Scholars Program is specifically designed to assist undergraduates on their entrance to a PhD program. Any other professional endeavor is the sole responsibility of each individual.

Rhode Island College entrance

More Questions?

Ms. Margarida R. DaGraca

Project Director