What is the GVSU McNair Scholars Program?

The GVSU McNair Scholars Program provides support to first generation students with significant financial need, or members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in careers that require Ph.Ds. The goal of the program is to provide students support in undergraduate research, graduate school preparation, and the graduate school application process. 

McNair Program Benefits

McNair Scholars receive a wide range of financial resources and professional development training to support the pursuit of a Ph.D in any academic field of study.

The benefits of our program include:

  • a stipend of up to $4,000 while doing summer research
  • Experience working directly with Ph.D. faculty at GVSU
  • Free, on-campus housing while doing summer research
  • Funding for Graduate School visits
  • Funding to attend and present at academic conferences
  • Free tutoring
  • A free writing course for graduate school preparation taught by a Ph.D. faculty member at GVSU (spring/summer only)
  • Advising for career assessment and planning
  • Education or advising services to improve financial and economic literacy
  • Training on how to locate, apply for, and win scholarships, fellowships, and grants
  • Training for public speaking and presenting
  • Summer internships
  • Seminars and other educational activities designed to prepare students for graduate school
  • Assistance with drafting graduate school application materials
  • Academic advising
  • Activities that teach students how to gain admittance into Ph.D. programs
  • Exposure to cultural events and academic enrichment programs
  • Preparation for graduate school entrance exams



McNair is a 15-month program. Scholars progress through each stage of the program based on performance, commitment, and effort. 





September - October

Recruitment and Information Sessions

2023-2024 Cohort Deadline: November 30, 2023

November - December

Application and interview process 

January – April

  • Career seminars
  • Professional development 
  • Programming (conferences, cultural events, etc.)
  • Advising
  • Summer on-boarding
    • Preparation of research proposal
    • Confirmation of faculty mentor
    • Preparation of Individualized Development Plans (IDP)

SUMMER - Summer Research Experience



May - July (12 weeks)

  • 30 hours of summer research (per week)
    • Regular meetings with faculty mentor
  • Bi-weekly meetings with McNair director
  • GS-WRAP Course (Graduate School Writing and Application Preparation)
  • GRE tutoring (math and verbal)
  • GSP seminars (Graduate Success Preparation - topics include: academic presentations, graduate school funding, time management, imposter syndrome, mental health, etc.)




August - December

  • Final manuscript submission
  • Summer Scholars Showcase
  • Graduate school applications
  • Academic conference presentations
  • Bi-weekly cohort meetings 
  • Monthly meetings with McNair Program Director
  • Continued professional development 
  • Undergraduate degree completion support



WINTER (Year 2)



January - February

Graduate school visits and selection

March - April

Preparation for graduate school relocation and graduation

*Please note that this schedule may vary depending on the student’s academic schedule and programming changes


Students who are interested in this program must be:

  • A first-generation college student with a limited income
    First generation means: 
    • Neither the student's natural or adoptive parents received a bachelors degree prior to the applicant turning age 18 ; OR
    • A student who, prior to the age of 18, regularly lived with and received support from only one parent, and that supporting parent did not receive a bachelors degree.
    • An individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly live with or receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent (e.g. a ward of the state of foster child).


  • A member of an underrepresented group in graduate education (African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Native Pacific Islander).

*A Scholar may be both a first-generation college student with limited income AND an underrepresented student of color.

Additionally, students must:

  • Be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
  • Have and maintain a 2.5 GPA 
  • Have an interest in conducting research (research is required one or two summers with the program)
  • Be dedicated to earning a Ph.D. in any major (commitment to pursuing a Ph.D, regardless of your field of study, is a program requirement)

Students pursuing MD (only), JD, PharmD, PT, OT, DNP, and DDS are not eligible for the McNair Scholars Program.

To check whether you are eligible, complete our eligibility survey:

McNair Scholars Program Eligibility Survey

Selection Process

  1. Review the McNair website for information on eligibility and benefits of the program as well as our Frequently Asked Questions.
  2. Submit an Interest Form to attend an information session with someone from our team.
  3. Meet with the McNair Director in-person or via Zoom to discuss your interest in the program and its requirements.
  4. Submit an application (emailed to eligible students after meeting with the director). The application includes a personal statement, tax documents (if applicable), and two letters of recommendation from faculty.
  5. The McNair Scholars Selection Committee will invite select students to be invited in for a 30-minute interview, after which selection determinations are made.

 Applications are accepted throughout the year for the fall, though the priority application deadline is mid- to late November. After November, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and admittances are made as roster spots are available. McNair is limited to 34 students per year.

The Priority Application Deadline for 2023-2024 is November 30, 2023. 

Page last modified June 28, 2023