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McNair Scholars Program

The RIT Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program serves a diverse group of talented RIT second- and third-year students who are interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate education. The RIT McNair Scholars Program provides enriching scholastic experience that prepares eligible scholars for graduate education, with an emphasis on doctoral studies.

McNair Program Philosophy

Challenge and support are the fundamental ingredients in the McNair Scholars Program’s educational philosophy. A student is most likely to grow academically and personally when he/she is both highly challenged and highly supported. The program structure attempts to foster these two components, thus facilitate skill development and motivation through academic research and mentoring. Because the research experience and strong relationships with faculty are critical to preparation for doctoral study, participants will have the opportunity to work with highly-respected faculty.

Program Opportunities

Focusing on graduate school preparation, the RIT McNair Scholars Program demystifies the graduate school application process and provides students with a simulated, graduate school experience, including research. The program offers a scholarly environment where students receive academic, financial, and social support. McNair Scholars:

  • Engage in Research. Participants conduct research under the guidance of a Faculty Mentor. Quality research projects provide a realistic picture of graduate school scholarship, while also preparing students for the doctoral school climate.
  • Participate in an Intense Summer Internship. Students participate in a 10-week, summer research program during which time they continue individual research projects, attend a graduate school seminar, and participate in a graduate school visitation program.
  • Develop and Deliver Professional Research Presentations. Each student culminates his/her McNair Program experience by presenting his/her research at the McNair Summer Program Research Symposium. In addition, students have the opportunity to travel to additional McNair conferences nationwide and to network with graduate school representatives, as well as McNair Scholars from across the country.
  • Study Research Theories, Research Methods, and/or Research Ethics. Students either enroll in a research methodology course or attend a research methodology/research ethics workshop. The course/workshop enables students to augment their research experience from a practical, a theoretical, and an ethical perspective.
  • Attend Graduate School Preparation Seminars and Workshops. Students attend weekly graduate school seminars and/or workshops that focus on specific topics designed to demystify the graduate school application process, including how to identify the graduate programs that "fit" their needs and interests, preparation for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and how to excel in graduate school.
  • Visit Graduate Schools and Meet with Graduate Faculty Members. Students travel to various graduate schools throughout the country to examine institutions and departments as possible graduate school destinations.


In order to be eligible for participation, an applicant must:

  • be either a second- or third-year, full-time RIT student;
  • be interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate education, particularly a PhD;
  • have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher;
  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
  • be either:
    • a first-generation college student (from families in which neither parent or guardian has obtained a bachelor's degree) and low-income (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education);
    • OR a member of an underrepresented minority group (African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Natives).

New Application!

We are very excited to provide the NEW McNair application. For your convenience, we have combined the McNair Scholars and LSAMP applications into one simple form. We have streamlined the process for applying to these similar programs in order to better serve our students. This will help us find the program that best fits each student's needs. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kate Torrey at 585.475.2337 or  We look forward to receiving your application!