Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the McNair program prepares undergraduates from first generation, low-Income and underrepresented backgrounds to pursue and attain an advanced degree to enter careers in research and academia. Students are paired with faculty mentors and are provided with academic advising, research opportunities and workshops tailored to the graduate school experience and application process. Additionally, through the O'Neill Library, students receive special library privileges, including graduate student borrowing status and an assigned librarian. All disciplines are encouraged to apply.

The McNair Program is named in honor of the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, one of seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. 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. We honor and hope to continue to live out his legacy.

If you are a first generation college student and are interested in pursuing a Master's degree or a Doctoral degree post your baccalaureate career at Boston College, please visit us at the Mentoring and Academic Achievement office.

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Application Currently Closed

Program Description 

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Program) is a graduate school preparation program for Boston College undergraduates who are first-generation, low-income college students, or undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in furthering their education and are committed to pursuing an advanced degree.

The McNair program provides students with programming and services that support their research and graduate degree attainment ambitions. Through workshops, seminars, summer research and graduate school preparation, McNair scholars build an abundance of necessary skills to submit graduate applications to the most competitive graduate programs in the nation.

Program Services

Faculty Mentors

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

Research Opportunities

During the first year of program participation, a student meets with their faculty mentor twice per month to explore opportunities for research or assist in the faculty's current research project(s). Additionally, students are enrolled in a seminar to provide them insight on how to perform research. 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 their 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 and are required to apply to a minimum of 5 graduate programs during the fall semester of their senior year. Students are highly encouraged to develop their McNair research into a senior thesis and to pursue publishing opportunities with their faculty advisors.

Graduate School Preparation

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 support students throughout the completion of their undergraduate degrees.

Application Information

Applications for this two- or three-year program may be submitted during Spring semester of the Freshman or Sophomore year. The application form is available at 50 College Road, or can be accessed online.

Deadline: March 1st, 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Boston College undergraduate student
  • Citizen of the United States or Permanent Resident
  • A cumulative 2.8 GPA or above
  • Applicants must fall within one of these two 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

Application Materials

  • Hard Copy of your Application
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript
  • Two forms of recommendation: one from a Boston College professor (preferably in your major), and the other from a Boston College administrator or employer.
  • Proof of income: a copy of last year’s tax forms from you or your parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • An essay of 2 pages or less explaining:

1. Your reasons for choosing to participate in the McNair Program

2. Your plans after graduation in regards to furthering your education and career goals

3. How the McNair Program will help you fulfill your educational and career plans

Important Dates


Application Deadline

3/18 - 4/5



Decisions Released

McNair Scholars Program 2023 Cohort