Prospective Students - Frequently Asked Questions

Application

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
Our application can be found on this website. It should be read, fully completed, and turned into the McNair Program Office in Building 477, Room 124. Please be advised that our program application is long and will require a variety of data and information that will require time to locate and complete. You should give yourself plenty of time to complete the forms, get the letters of recommendation, and supply the supplementary information.

Do I qualify?
To qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, you must be either a low-income and first generation college student or a member of group underrepresented in higher education.

I am a graduating senior. Can I still apply?
The program works most effectively with students who are entering their junior year. Under special conditions, seniors may apply and be considered depending on their UCSB graduation date. If you are a graduating senior, see the Assistant Director to assess your viability as an applicant.

I don’t have a 3.0. Can I still apply?
We do not recommend applying if your GPA is less than 3.0, which is the minimum to be a competitive applicant to graduate schools.

Can all majors apply?
The McNair Scholars Program is open to students in all majors at UCSB.

Can I apply if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
No. The program is focused only on working with students who are current undergraduates.

What if I am not sure I want a Ph.D.?
The McNair Scholars Program is designed for students who intend to earn a PhD only. It is not for students who want to go to a professional school like law school, medical school, pharmacy school, business school, etc.

When should I start preparing to apply to graduate school?
At least one year in advance. We encourage all students in our program to begin preparing for the graduate school application process during their junior year.

How will I pay for graduate school?
Many graduate students get comprehensive funding packages, and the McNair staff will prepare you to be competitive for institutional and extramural funding opportunities.

Is this a scholarship?
No. The McNair Scholars Program offers a summer stipend for independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, as well as travel funds for academic conferences and graduate school fairs. In addition a one-time reimbursement of summer tuition is provided to all participants.

How will the stipend affect my financial aid?
The stipend does not affect your financial aid.

Do I have to attend graduate school at UCSB?
No. McNair Scholars apply to and are accepted by graduate schools nationwide.

Do I need to take the GRE?
Most graduate programs in the U.S. require current GRE scores. The McNair Program offers a free GRE preparation course to help you practice for the exam.

What are some of the things McNair Scholars get for free?
A GRE prep course, travel to conferences and graduate school fairs, academic and professional workshops, a paid research internship, and course credits, among many other benefits.

Is it worth my time?
If you are certain you want to earn a PhD, the program is absolutely worth your time. Among other things, the program provides a stipend of $2800 and summer tuition during the summer, all expense paid travel to academic conferences, a one-year academic research internship, funding for independent research supplies and materials, comprehensive academic advising, and opportunities to have research published in the UCSB McNair journal.

Does it matter if I have already done research or been a participant in a research mentorship program?
Research through another program can provide a head start for McNair. It can also provide an opportunity to work with a diverse set of faculty members.

Does McNair Scholars Program require its students to pursue a PhD immediately after obtaining the B.S. or B.A. (and skip the M.S. or M.A. program)?
No. The program expects scholars to apply to both Masters and PhD programs during their senior year as an undergraduate student. Scholars, however, do not have to participate in any graduate program immediately following their completion of their bachelor's degree. The program does, however, expect scholars to attain a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of attaining their bachelor’s degree.

Are students who are interested in a combined PhD with another professional degree program allowed to apply to the McNair Scholars Program?
Yes. The McNair Scholars Program is specifically designed to assist undergraduates on their entrance to a PhD program. Any other professional endeavor is the sole responsibility of each individual.

I have even more questions. Who should I contact?
Call our office to schedule an appointment with Monique Limón, Assistant Director, who can provide you with further information about the McNair Scholars Program.