USC McNair Scholars Program
The USC McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education that currently operates at nearly 200 colleges and universities across the United States. The USC Office of Undergraduate Programs administers the program, which provides graduate school preparation, research training and funding opportunities to a select group of high-achieving students from first generation, low-income and historically underrepresented backgrounds. The primary objective of the program is to diversify the student body at the graduate level, particularly at the doctoral level, with one of the main goals being to diversify the American professoriate through placement of McNair alumni in faculty positions.
At USC, at least 26 students are selected every year for the McNair Scholars Program. Students are introduced to the world of research and provided an opportunity to work with faculty mentors on student-proposed-and-designed research projects. Participants conduct hands-on research, write research papers and present their scholarly work. Students come from all academic disciplines and have demonstrated significant achievement and potential in their academic and extracurricular pursuits.
The highlights of the USC program include a spring research methods course, summer research institute, research symposium, GRE preparation, year-round academic and career advising, special travel grant awards for conference attendance and university visitations, and ongoing graduate school preparation and professional development activities. Students in the program receive a $2,800 summer research stipend and a scholarship to cover summer housing accommodations. Students also have the opportunity to publish their scholarly work in academic journals, to present their research at national conferences and to visit prospective universities they plan to attend for graduate school.
The McNair Scholars Program is a funded TRIO project, named in honor of the astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle explosion. The USC Office of Undergraduate Programs, Office of the Provost, administers the program.
To meet eligibility requirements, students must be full-time USC students with a minimum 2.7 GPA; however, no lower than a 3.0 GPA is preferred. Students must be first generation college students from a low-income background or members of an ethnic group that is underrepresented in graduate education.