Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Eligibility Requirements

The objective of the McNair Program is to prepare currently enrolled eligible Penn State undergraduate students for doctoral study in their chosen fields.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for the McNair Program, you must meet the following eligibility criteria, set by the U.S. Department of Education. Because this is a federally funded program, these are strict requirements.

To be eligible, you:

  • must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • must be a low-income student who is also a first-generation college student or must be a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander)1
  • must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate in a degree program at the Penn State University Park campus2
  • must have completed 36 credits by the time of initial entry into the program
  • must have at least one year remaining before graduation (i.e., if you are graduating within the year, you are not eligible for the program)
  • must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • must have STRONG desire to attain a Ph.D.3

1Low-income status is determined by annual taxable household income limits set by the U.S. Department of Education. First-generation status refers to an undergraduate neither of whose parents earned a baccalaureate degree or, in the case of a custodial parent, this parent/guardian did not earn a baccalaureate degree.

2Postbaccalaureate students and students who already have one bachelors degree are not eligible for the program.

3Students whose career goals only include a medical (MD) or other professional degree (JD, MBA, PharmD, etc.) are not eligible for the program.

Please let us know if you have any questions or check out our FAQ page. Email the program director, Teresa Tassotti or call 814-863-8195.

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