The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is a federally funded program designed to encourage eligible students to pursue graduate studies leading to the completion of a doctoral degree. Eligible students must be from either low-income AND first generation families OR from groups underrepresented in graduate education.

McNair Scholars participate in research and scholarly activities preparing them for the rigors of graduate school. Scholars receive assistance during the program through faculty mentors, graduate school visits, professional conferences, and presentations of their completed research projects.

Congress created this program in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, one of the first African Americans to fly in the U.S. space program.




To qualify for the McNair Scholars program, students must meet the following criteria from the Department of Education:

  1. Be a low-income and first-generation college student (neither parent can have a baccalaureate degree). 
  2. Be a member of a group under-represented in graduate education (African American, Hispanic American, or Native American/Alaskan Indian).

In addition, if the student meets the eligibility requirements, they must also:

  • Be a full-time student
  • Be at least of sophomore status, having completed 55 hours
  • Have a declared major
  • Have a 3.00 grade point average


Selection Criteria

To be considered for the McNair Program Students must first discuss their eligibility with the Program Director and provide proof of eligibility through the most recent parental income tax forms and a copy of their current FAFSA form.

Students who are deemed eligible:

  • Must complete the McNair Scholar application
  • Write a personal statement
  • Write a letter of interest
  • Provide two graded papers
  • Submit two recommendation forms


Annual Stipend: Scholars receive a yearly stipend that is prorated throughout the academic year (2-3 times a year).

Faculty Mentor: Scholars are matched with an appropriate faculty mentor from either Siena Heights University or Adrian College. Faculty mentors meet with the scholars bi-weekly to develop the research project and discuss graduate school options.

Graduate School Visits: Scholars are given the opportunity to visit the top graduate school of their choice. Visits may be made prior to the application process to assess the campus and specific graduate program. Scholars may also choose to visit the campus after they have been accepted into the program. Graduate school visits help to ensure a good fit for the scholars. Group visits may also be available during the year to campuses in close proximity to Siena Heights.

Research Projects: In preparation for graduate school, scholars are expected to complete an original research project. This project begins during the summer research class with a research proposal and is completed during the senior year. Scholars may present their completed project at a national conference and all scholars present at the annual McNair Scholars Research Symposium, held each winter semester at Siena Heights.

Summer Research Course: All scholars participate in a mandatory two week summer course entitled “Methods of Inquiry”. This class takes place immediately after graduation in May and is the beginning of the McNair research project. Scholars receive three hours of credit and individual instruction and assistance from faculty members during the two weeks. Siena Heights provides room and board during this time. At the end of the course, students will present a research proposal for their McNair Research Project.

Weekly Graduation School Preparation Seminars: Weekly meetings assist the scholars with such topics as: learning about graduate school, finding graduate schools and faculty with similar research interests, development of time management skills and writing personal statements. Seminars are developed independently for junior and senior scholars.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Preparation: Many graduate schools require the GRE for admission purposes. Scholars receive information on the logistics of the general test, effective ways to prepare, how to register, where to take the exam, and fee waivers to help offset the cost of the test.

Academic Assistance: Scholars are expected to maintain a 3.00 grade point average. Anyone needing assistance for individual courses can see the McNair staff for tutoring options.

Cultural Events: During the academic year, the scholars are encouraged to attend McNair sponsored events such as the symphony, theater, dinners and/or lectures. Team building activities may also be provided.



McNair Program Director


McNair Academic Coordinator; Administrative Assistant: Humanities Division