Who is eligible?

An easy way to determine if you're eligible is to take our eligibility survey. 

Students must meet at least ONE of the following two requirements: 

  • low-income and first-generation college student,


  • From an underrepresented ethnic/racial minority group (Native American, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, or Hispanic or Latinx)

Other eligibility requirements include: 

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency;
  • Full-time undergraduate student status at Northern Michigan University;
  • Interest in entering a Ph.D. doctoral program;
  • Successful completion of at least 40 credit hours by the end of the academic year with a 2.75 or better overall grade point average; and
  • Commitment to completing a research internship.

Please reach out to our office with any questions at mcnair@nmu.edu or check out our FAQ below! 

The McNair program accepts applications from students each fall semester. Selected students begin the program the following winter semester.

​​​​​​​Complete Your Application:

STEP 1 in the application process is an informational interview with the McNair Scholars program. Only applicants who have completed an interview with the McNair Scholars program will be sent an application packet. To be interviewed, you must first take our eligibility survey. If you're eligible to participate in the program, you'll be asked to share your contact information with us so we can set up an interview. 

STEP 2 is to complete your application (this is a sample document, use the link from your follow-up email after your informational interview to complete the application).

  • Upload your transcripts. Unofficial transcripts can be accessed on MyNMU. Use Control/P to print or save as a PDF.
  • Upload your personal essay; the prompt is:
    • Personal Essay - A personal essay is your opportunity to tell us about yourself. This essay is crucial for the reviewers who were not present at your informational interview. The statement should range between 600-750 words. We recommend you write this in a separate document first and then transfer the text over.

      The statement should explain your academic and professional goals and include:

      • List the rationale for your interest in the McNair Scholars Program and how it can benefit you
      • Highlight the unique skills and/or experiences that would make you a strong candidate
      • Indicate potential research and scholarly activities of personal interest
      • Explain why graduate school is important in your field of study and your commitment to pursuing a PhD
      • Describe your career aspirations and goals, such as teaching at the university level

Confirm your income eligibility. Email mcnair@nmu.edu, or deliver to the McNair Office (401 Cohodas Hall), your income verification information. 

Request to have a Faculty Recommendation Form completed and sent to the McNair Office by a faculty member. This faculty does not have to be your Research Mentor. We accept digital and hard copies. 

  • Faculty recommendation forms should be submitted by the recommending faculty member. If your recommending faculty member has any questions, have them contact our office at 227-2590 or mcnair@nmu.edu.

STEP 3 in the application process is waiting to hear back from the McNair Scholars program on whether or not you've been accepted into the program. All notifications will be sent out via email no later than the end of the Fall semester. You must also accept or decline the offer by the end of the Fall semester. 

Applications for this cycle have closed. If you apply after the application deadline, your application may be considered for this year if there are openings, and/or your application will be forwarded to the next application cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

The McNair Scholars program at NMU is federally funded through the Department of Education and strives to help prepare students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Through the following activities the McNair Program will help students gain the skills necessary to succeed in graduate school education.

  • Graduate Records Examination (GRE) prep courses

  • learning styles assessment

  • graduate school awareness

  • academic and financial counseling

  • research and faculty mentoring

  • social activities

If you are a low-income, first-generation college student, or a student who is a member of a group identified as underrepresented in graduate schools (Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or Native American Pacific Islander), you maybe be eligible to be a McNair scholar. Additional qualifications include:

  • be a current undergraduate student;

  • be dedicated to entering a Ph.D. program;

  • have completed at least 40 credit hours by the end of the academic year with a 2.75 or better overall grade point average; and

  • be committed to completing the summer research component.

Please take the eligibility survey to help find out if you're eligible. 

Almost any of the four-year degree programs at NMU are eligible to take part in the McNair Scholars Program.

During the academic year, you will have meetings with a McNair staff member once a month that you will need to attend, along with several workshops and seminars every semester. As a McNair scholar, you may also have the opportunity  to visit regional research schools or present your research findings at conferences.

The relationship you create with your faculty mentor will also require a time commitment. In the semester before you begin your summer research component, you and your faculty mentor will need to set up a schedule to meet regularly to review progress on your research proposal and timeline. During your summer research, you should expect to spend 20-30 hours a week over a six-week period of time working on and completing your research.  Some students conduct their research during the academic year. This requires skillful time management but is acceptable and doable. Talk to your potential faculty research advisor about what will work best for you. Additionally, activities such as taking the GRE, applying to at least six graduate schools and preparing a research poster for presentation can also take time and a great deal of preparation. 

While scholars put in a lot of time while they are participating in the program, it allows them to get a jump start on their graduate school education.

The Federal Government has set the guidelines for what is considered low income, based on your family's taxable income. This can be determined by using the chart below and the most recent signed IRS tax return transcript from your family.

View current Federal Low-income levels here. 

A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, your transcript includes all the information a lender or government agency needs. It does not show any changes you or your representative made after you filed. This document allows the McNair program to determine you or your family's taxable income and your eligibility for the program. More information about this document and how to order one can be found here.

We can also use a social security earnings statement if your parent is on SSI. If your parent didn’t file taxes because there was little to no income to report, we can use a signed statement of their earnings and non tax filing.

Even if your family doesn't contribute to the costs of your education, we still must see your family's tax return transcript. Your own tax return transcript may be submitted for consideration if you meet one of the following qualifications:

  • You are 24 years or older.
  • You are married.
  • You are currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training.
  • You are  a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • You have dependents other than a spouse.
  • You have been an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13.
  • You are an emancipated minor.
  • You are in legal guardianship.
  • You were determined at any time since July 1, 2008, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self supporting and at risk of being homeless.