McNair Scholars



Eligible students are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have successfully completed at least one year of college with a GPA of 2.75 or above, and who are either low-income and first generation college students or from minority groups underrepresented in graduate schools.

How to Apply for the McNair Program

Interested students must complete the online application form below, which includes an essay describing academic and career objectives as well as tentative plans for research.  The student must also ask two faculty members to submit recommendation forms.

Program Requirements for Students

After being selected for the program, students will sign an agreement detailing the requirements of the program, which include:

- participating in meetings, workshops, seminars, and other scholarly activities
- achieving and maintaining a 3.0 GPA
- completing a summer research internship under the guidance of a faculty mentor
- preparing and presenting a research paper and poster session based on the summer research
- attending the prep sessions and taking the Graduate Record Examination
- releasing grade reports, financial aid notices, and any other required information to the McNair staff
- completing periodic program evaluations
- cooperating with follow-up surveys 

For More Information

Please contact the McNair staff for more information or to obtain an application package. The McNair office is located in the Student Center, Room 225. Or call 501-279-5269.

McNair Eligibility Checklist

Before you begin the application process consider the following carefully to determine your eligibility for the McNair Scholars Program. Please check the boxes that apply to you:


If all of the above seven eligibility requirements apply to you, then you are welcomed to apply to become a McNair scholar.

Required Documents:
  • Completed and signed checklist and application
  • Most recent Student Aid Report (SAR), generated by completing FAFSA
  • “Statement of Purpose” essay
  • Consent for Release of Information form
  • Recommendation forms (available on this webpage) from two faculty members
  • Unofficial transcript (will be obtained on Pipeline once the application is received)

General Information

Name exactly as it appears on your driver’s license or other government ID:

Three Contacts

Eligibility Demographics *


Mark all that apply.
(According to McNair federal guidelines, Hispanic/Latino refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of origin. As such, every Hispanic/Latino person has an associated race or races as noted below.)
(American Indian/Alaskan Native refers to a person having origins in any of the peoples of North, South, or Central America and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.)
(Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander refers to a person having origins in Hawaii or the Federal States of Micronesia or Palau, also known as the “Freely Associated States.”)
(Asian refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.)
(Black or American of African descent refers to a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.)
(White or American of European descent refers to a person having origins in any of the peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.)
First Generation College Student


Federal TRIO Programs Current-Year Low-Income Levels/Taxable Income

(Effective January 15, 2020 until further notice)

Size of Family Unit 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Outlying Jurisdictions Alaska Hawaii
1 $19,320 $24,135 $22,230
2 $26,130 $32,655 $30,060
3 $32,940 $41,175 $37,890
4 $39,750 $49,695 $45,720
5 $46,560 $58,215 $53,550
6 $53,370 $66,735 $61,380
7 $60,180 $75,255 $69,210
8 $66,990 $83,775 $77,040
For family units with more than eight members, add the following amount for each additional family member: $6,720 for the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia and outlying jurisdictions; $8,520 for Alaska; and $7,830 for Hawaii. The term "low-income individual" means an individual whose family's taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level amount. The figures shown under family income represent amounts equal to 150 percent of the family income levels established by the Census Bureau for determining poverty status. The 2021 poverty guidelines are in effect as of January 13, 2021. Federal Register notice was published February 1, 2021.

Student Aid Report (SAR) *

Educational Information

Which of the following best describes your commitment to attend graduate school? *


List the names, departments, and email addresses of the two faculty members you have asked to complete forms recommending you for the McNair Scholars Program.

I hereby certify that the above information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. If accepted, I understand the requirements of a research internship and attendance at meetings, seminars, and other McNair events are the basis for my continuation in the program. I also understand that I may be removed from the program for failure to comply with the required program rules or for falsifying any information provided on this form.

The electronic signature below is treated by Harding University like a physical handwritten signature on a paper form.

Statement of Purpose *

The information provided in this section is very important to the selection process. Please respond to the topics and questions that are presented below in the form of a candid, thoughtful, well-constructed essay.

  1. Describe your family and educational background/history. How have these experiences affected your educational aspirations and career goals? What are your reasons for pursuing the doctoral degree?
  2. Describe extracurricular activities in which you participated as a high school or college student (e.g., campus, civic, community organizations). Describe academic honors, distinctions, and/or scholarships you received while in high school or college.
  3. What are your perspectives on punctuality, self-discipline, and delayed gratification?
  4. Researchers and administrators increasingly say that, in addition to a strong knowledge base, success in graduate school requires an appreciation for a balanced lifestyle, attentive to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the self and others and a multicultural perspective. What is your interpretation of this?
  5. What is your understanding of the McNair Scholars Program philosophy and its primary objective? How is the program a good fit for your needs and goals? What academic/research experiences have you had that support your application for the program?
  6. McNair scholars participate in a stimulating and challenging summer research internship. Describe your research interests within or outside of your major field of undergraduate study. What are your expectations of the internship experience? Identify two Harding faculty members who you believe would be ideal mentors for your McNair research internship.

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Consent For Release Of Information

Dear Student:

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally grant-funded program. Its purpose is to prepare participants for enrollment and success in graduate school. The U.S. Department of Education requires all McNair programs to track the educational progress of each participant served, for ten years following graduation with the baccalaureate degree or until completion of the doctorate degree, to verify the effectiveness of the program’s services in preparing students to successfully enter and complete a graduate program. To accomplish this task, we require your permission to receive information about your academic progress.


If I enroll in the McNair Scholars Program at Harding University, I authorize and direct educational institutions to release and make available my academic information from undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate professional programs to the HU McNair Scholars Program staff. I understand this would include information from Harding, as well as from any other graduate or professional programs in colleges and universities in which I enroll. Such information could include enrollment and retention, academic standing, degrees sought, degrees earned, GPA, and other typical academic transcript information.

I agree that HU McNair staff may access educational data provided through Harding and post-graduation (or transfer) data provided through FERPA compliant sources, such as the National Student Clearinghouse.

I will provide information on funding received for graduate work to the McNair staff, as required for the Annual Performance Report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. I authorize and direct educational institutions that I attend or have attended to release financial aid (funding support) for that sole purpose.

The electronic signature below is treated by Harding University like a physical handwritten signature on a paper form.

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Location: Student Center 219