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Frequently Asked Questions

What Majors are Eligible to Participate in the Program?

Students from all majors are welcome, with a priority given to STEM majors, including social and behavioral sciences majors. This priority is to help meet a national need in these areas for future scientists and researchers. Also, some majors very seldom get Ph.D.'s.

What is a Terminal Degree?

These are master's degrees that are seen as an end in themselves. In most cases, a master's is seen as a step to a Ph.D., but in other cases, it is considered the end of a student’ educational training in a field.

Some business students do not go beyond an M.B.A. While academic track master's degrees (such as those in sociology, psychology, mathematics, physics, etc.) are just another step towards a Ph.D., practical track (or terminal) master's degrees are seen as the final step towards joining a profession.

If you eventually want to pursue only M.B.A. or an M.F.A. or another terminal program, and are planning to obtain a Ph.D., you are unlikely to qualify for our program.

When Do I Need to Apply?

It is important to start the process as early as possible, as references from faculty are needed. We recommend speaking with us during your freshmen and first semester of your sophomore year and starting the application process no later than second semester of your sophomore year (though we will accept juniors as well). 

Fall Cohort

The application window opens January 1st, and applications are due in mid-March.

Spring Cohort

The application window opens August 1st, and applications are due in mid-October.

Are the Letters of Recommendations Also Due on the Application Deadline?

No. Your recommendation writers will typically have a week after the deadline to submit their letter to

Can I Start, Save and Complete My Application at a Later Time?

Yes. The application forms does include a save feature to finish at a later time. Your application should automatically save at your latest point.

What Should I Include in My Personal Statement?

Please see the checklist for specific prompt information. You are encouraged to have multiple readers provide you with feedback on your statement prior to submission.

Whom Should I Ask to Write My Letters of Recommendation?

Your letter writers should be able to speak to your academic accomplishments, work ethic, and potential for success in graduate school. Faculty, Instructors, professional staff, and others who have served in a supervisory capacity for you may be individuals you ask to write a letter on your behalf. Letters from family members, roommates, or peers will not be considered.

I am an Incoming Transfer Student, Can I Get Letters From My Community College Instructors?

Yes, this is acceptable if you cannot secure strong letters from UNG faculty.

I'm a Sophomore. Is It Too Early 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.

Is Summer Research Mandatory for McNair Scholars?

Yes, for at least one summer before you graduate from UNG. 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.

What If I'm Interested in a Professional Degree (JD, MD, MBA, etc.) and I Still Want to Participate?

The mission of the McNair Scholars Program is to diversify faculty in U.S. institutions of higher education by reducing the barriers to the Ph.D. for underrepresented individuals in graduate education. The McNair program recognizes that first-generation/low-income undergraduates and undergraduates of color have a number of career possibilities to consider outside of academia.

However, the mission of the program is to increase the number of Ph.D.'s, not professional degrees.

So, we don't accept students who only want J.D.s, M.D.s, etc. But, if you’re considering a joint program, see the next question.

I am Considering a Joint Ph.D.-M.D. degree, or Joint Ph.D. + J.D. Degree, Can I Apply?

Yes, however you must be very clear that a Ph.D. is necessary for your academic pursuits.

I am Graduating Soon. Am I Still Eligible to Apply?

To be a part of our next cohort, you must be enrolled at UNG with at least three semesters remaining before your graduation. During these semesters, you must be available to conduct and present research and apply to graduate school.

Unfortunately, Seniors are not eligible for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. A student must be a rising sophomore or junior to be eligible to apply to the program.

Do I Need to Have a Faculty Mentor When I Apply?

No, we can work with you to find a faculty mentor if you are accepted into the program and do not already have a mentor.  If you have already secured a mentor, please mention it in your interview.

Will I Be Allowed to Work and/or Take Classes if Necessary During the Summer?

It is recommended that you focus largely on your research during the summer internship between your sophomore and junior year. However, you may work or take a class during the summer if necessary. Scholars are provided financial support for the research internship during their summer period, junior year, and senior year.

Am I Able to Receive Financial Aid for Courses During the Summer in Addition to My Scholarship?

Yes, if there are any issues with receiving your stipend, please contact us immediately to resolve the issue. 

Do I Get Any Academic Credit for Being a Scholar?

Not directly. Most students can get 1-3 credit hours for their McNair Junior/Senior year research as independent study with their faculty research advisor. Students are also encouraged to do an independent study with their intended faculty research advisor to get prepare for graduate school.

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