McNair Scholars Program 


The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Program) is a graduate school preparation program for Boston College undergraduates who are both low-income and first-generation college students and/or underrepresented backgrounds. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the McNair program prepares undergraduates from these groups to pursue and attain doctoral degrees and to enter careers in research and academia.

The McNair Program is named in honor of the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, one of seven crew members aboard the Space ShuttleChallenger. Despite social and economic barriers, Dr. McNair earned many outstanding achievements such as completing a Ph.D. in Physics from M.I.T. at the age of 26 and was the second African-American to fly to space. In addition, Dr. McNair received many distinguished awards, including the National Ford Foundation Fellowship and the Presidential Scholarship.

Program Services

Program Description

This program is designed to prepare eligible Boston College undergraduates to pursue and attain graduate degrees, and to enter careers in research and academia. Students are paired with faculty mentors and provided with research opportunities, a needs assessment, and workshops about the graduate school experience and application process. In addition, through the O'Neill Library, students receive special library privileges, including graduate student borrowing status and an assigned librarian.

Major Program Components


Each student is paired with a faculty member in their feild of study. Faculty mentors guide students through their research planning and implementation process. Mentors also provide advise about graduate programs and encourage students to particpate in local and regional conferences and research forums where students become exposed to the world of research and academia.


During the first year of program participation, a student meets with his/her faculty mentor once per month to explore opportunities for research or assist in the faculty's current research project(s). During the second year (and third year, for those who enter the program as sophomores), the student will develop and complete a research project with ongoing support from the faculty–mentor. Stipends are available during the research phase of program participation. Students present their research at the end of the 8-week summer research program. 


The McNair Program assists students in all aspects of preparation for graduate school, including standardized test preparation, visiting and assessing graduate schools, and applying for financial aid and fellowships. In addition, a series of workshops supports students throughout the completion of their undergraduate degrees.


Applications for this two- or three-year program may be submitted during Spring semester of Freshman or Sophomore year. The application form is available at 50 College Road, or can be accessed online. If downloaded online please print the file and complete the application by hand. 


Q: If I become part of the McNair Program at BC, do I have to go to graduate school at BC?

A: No, you don’t have to go to graduate school at BC. You can go anywhere in the country.


Q: Can I work during the McNair Summer Research Program?

A: No, you cannot work during the summer program. The summer is strictly devoted to research. You will be alloted a stipend or your full particpation in the program.


Q: As a sophomore would I have to do research this upcoming summer (after my sophomore year)?

A: For sophomores this is a recruitment year. There is no schedule involvement in research for the majority of sophomores. Occasionally, a sophomore will opt to participate in research that year but that is not the norm. There will be an orientation for all sophomores who have been accepted in the McNair Program at the end of the spring semester. Beginning your junior year, you will begin working on your research topic/project and preparing for graduate school.


Q: If I am a junior can I apply to the McNair Program?

A: Yes, if space is available and must apply to the program before Sept 30th of junior year.

Recruitment for rising Sophomores and Juniors will take place during Spring semester 2019. Applications are due on March 11, 2019.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Boston College undergraduates
  • Citizens of the United States or Permanent Residents
  • Must have a cumulative 2.8 GPA or above
  • Applicants must fall within one of these 2 groups:
  1. Meet income guidelines specified by the Department of Education; and have neither parent graduated from a four-year college
  2. Or be from an underrepresented group in graduate education


Print application or download and complete, carefully review your information, then submit to McNair Program at the Learning to Learn Office, 50 College Road. 

Application Materials Include

  • Hard Copy of your Appplication Printable version
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript
  • Two forms of recommendation: one from a professor in your major (preferable), and the other from an employer or other person who is not a family member
  • Proof of income: a copy of last year’s tax forms from you or your parent(s)/guardian
  • An essay of 2 pages or less:
    1. Your reasons for choosing to participate in the McNair Program
    2. Your plans after graduation in regards to furthering your education and your career goals
    3. How the McNair Program will help you fulfill your plans in regard to your education and career