McNair Research Scholars Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Must Either:

A. Qualify as a first-generation college student and meet low-income guidelines established by the United States   Department of Education. See here for a Current-year Low-Income Levels for 2024.


B. Be a member of an ethnic group that is underrepresented in graduate education. The U.S. Government currently    defines “underrepresented groups” specifically as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander.

Applicant Must Also:

  1. Be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. You may also qualify if you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and can provide evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service of your intent to become a permanent resident. Eligibility also is granted to permanent residents of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands or is a resident of one of the Freely Associated States.
  2. Be currently attending Delta State University as an undergraduate student.
  3. Have at least a 2.5 Overall GPA. This is a minimum.
  4. Have a strong intention to pursue a Graduate/Professional Degree, specifically a Doctoral Degree after graduation.
  5. Have a strong desire to learn about how to conduct formal research and to engage in a real-world research project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my GPA is below a 2.50?

Graduate admission committees generally look for doctoral applicants to have minimum GPA of 3.00. Admission to the McNair Research Scholars Program is competitive, but applicants are encouraged to contact the McNair staff to discuss special circumstances. Once accepted, McNair Scholars must have a satisfactory GPA by the end of each term to continue in good standing. Good standing from semester to semester must be a 2.50 or higher. If you have any questions or concerns about your GPA, please contact the McNair staff.

What am I committing to?

  • You will be committing to being an active participant during the Fall/Spring semesters by being involved with all scholarly activities including advising meetings, graduate school preparation workshops, academic enrichment, team building, etc.
  • No event is mandatory, only strongly advised. However, it is important that you are an active participant in events so that you get the full experience of being a McNair Scholar. If you do not participate in events, we will meet with you to discuss your interest in the program.
  • If able to do so, be a part of the Summer Research/Internship Experience before you graduate from Delta State University.
  • Take the Summer Research Methods Course in a summer before you graduate. This class is currently PSY 330.

I am a Senior. Is it too late to become a McNair Scholar?

What’s most important is when you’re going to graduate, not your class standing. If you’ll have a summer remaining before you graduate in which to participate in the summer research program component, it may not be too late. Contact the McNair office to talk with the Director to discuss your individual circumstances.

I am a Sophomore. Is it too late to become a McNair Scholar?

Absolutely not! In fact, it is especially important to use the summers between academic years in ways that will help you with your academic and career plans; an internship, study abroad experience, other summer research opportunities, etc., can all be very valuable assets when it comes time to apply to graduate programs. We recommend talking with the McNair office as early in your undergraduate career as possible so that we can help you set up your McNair schedule and make the best use of your summer after your sophomore year.

Are part-time students eligible to become McNair Scholars?

No. McNair Scholars must be registered as full time undergraduate (at least 12 hours).

How does the McNair Research Scholars Program prepare undergraduate students for graduate school?

McNair Scholars are provided with tremendous help, in order to navigate a difficult and sometimes confusing road to graduate school. Scholars are paired with faculty advisors and mentors to serve as role models, research supervisors, offer personalized advice, recommend scholars to conferences in their majors and graduate programs of interest.

Workshops and seminars on topics such as: research methods, writing a personal statement, choosing a graduate school program, graduate school funding, graduate student success, library and Internet resources, and presentation skills building. These things combined with an ten-week faculty mentored summer research project, have a proven track record of success, in preparing McNair Scholars for the kind of work they will do in graduate school.

Are there any financial advantages to the McNair Research Scholars Program?

During the summer internship, Scholars receive a financial support for their research internship and assistance with transportation and room and board. There are also long-term financial advantages–see the next question.

Will the McNair Research Scholars program help me get into graduate school?

Yes. Many graduate schools provide application fee waivers for McNair Scholars and some actively recruit McNair Scholars and offer them graduate fellowships. Graduate schools know that McNair Scholars are motivated, have an understanding of the rigors and culture of graduate study, and have research and/or scholarship experience. Faculty advisors and mentors and McNair staff offer a wealth of information and advice about graduate programs and aid sources. In addition, McNair Scholars may sign onto the National McNair Scholar listserv from which they can learn about scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, special offers from graduate schools, and insider’s tips from past Scholars who have entered doctoral programs.

Are there trips associated with McNair Research Scholars?

Yes. McNair Research Scholars at Delta State University have the opportunity to travel to visit potential graduate schools, participate and present at conferences, and attend events to supplement their research. There will be many opportunities for group travel visits. Each trip will include social and cultural events (i.e. plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, non-American restaurants, museums, tours, etc) and scholarly activities. We will cover all travel costs and registration fees for various conferences.

Will participating in the Program cost me anything?

No, just a great deal of time and dedication! We will cover the costs of any McNair required materials, you will not pay tuition dollars for McNair seminars or courses, and we will even cover reasonable research costs during your summer project. We will cover travel costs and registration fees for various conferences. We will even pay for your attendance to social and cultural events (i.e. plays, musicals, concerts, guest lectures, non-American restaurants, etc.) with other McNair Scholars. We are here to make academic life more enriching for you, not more expensive. During the summers, while completing your research, you will be able to receive up to $2800 for your work by completing benchmarks.

What is expected of me during the Summer Research/Internship Experience?

All program participants have the opportunity to:

  • Conduct graduate level summer research for 8 weeks, 30 hours per week, at Delta State University or at another university/institution in the United States of America.
  • Participate in research writing and graduate admissions preparation courses.
  • Work with a selected Faculty Mentor at Delta State University.
  • Enroll in a 3 hour course – PSY 330 “Research Methods”
  • Write and submit various benchmarks, including a scholarly paper of your research findings.
  • Receive up to $2800.

Is summer research mandatory for McNair Scholars?

No. The Summer Research Internship is not required of our McNair scholars, but it is highly encouraged. They look impressive on a resume for graduate school, so it is recommended for you to consider completing a summer internship. If you would have a second summer available before you graduate, we’ll encourage you to pursue other research programs or summer opportunities, like internships and study abroad, to help you become more competitive for graduate school. Plus, we work hard to ensure that you do not have to pay out of pocket for these experiences, so why not take advantage of this opportunity offered to you?

Can I be employed and still be a Scholar?

Many of the McNair Scholars are employed during the academic year. However, during the summer research program, you’ll find the challenges of doing full-time research while at the same time undertaking a structured program of graduate preparation to be rather daunting. For that reason, McNair scholars may not take classes or be employed during the duration of the summer program, which typically runs early June through late July.

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