About the Program

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is a TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and designed to prepare and support underrepresented undergraduate students in their pursuit of doctoral studies.

About CSULB McNair

McNair staff is dedicated to create a culture that values diversity of both students and staff. As staff, we recognize our privileges and our various backgrounds and identities as we are in these academic spaces. The McNair team uses an intrusive advising model as well as a community cultural wealth framework to guide students to articulate goals, strengths, challenges, and cultural assets. McNair strives to center racial and ethnic identity development in research and graduate school preparation. To meet the needs of our students, McNair has increased accessibility to our services including evening office hours, writing support, graduate school support, social justice curriculum, virtual and in person advising formats, and embraced various methodologies in disseminating information. In addition, advising and activities are designed to ensure students develop action steps towards their personal and professional goals.


  • Complete research and scholarly activities within 1st year of program
  • Enroll into a post-bacc program/Ph.D./research doctorate by the fall term of academic year immediately after earning a bachelors degree
  • Persist in graduate school
  • Obtain a Ph.D./research doctorate within 10 years of attainment of bachelors degree


  • Tutoring/Learning Skills
  • Academic counseling
  • Research or scholarly activities
  • Seminars and educational activities
  • Summer research internship
  • Assistance in securing admission to grad school
  • Assistance in securing financial assistance in grad school
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Financial literacy and planning
  • Exposure to cultural events and programs
  • Computer Lab and Printing

Workshops and Graduate School Visits


  • University of California, Irvine (UCI)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (UMD)
  • California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM)
  • University of Washington (UW)
  • University of Florida (UF)
  • University of Michigan (UM)

  • Social justice documentary dialogues
  • Social justice book clubs
  • Underrepresented in higher education
  • Self as a researcher
  • Writing tips and writing anxiety
  • Research roadblocks
  • Self-efficacy and community building
  • Research ethics
  • Graduate school choice
  • Campus and external research opportunities
  • Research pitch
  • Grad school 101
  • Introduction to Research
  • How to identify a mentor
  • Developing a Statement of Purpose
  • Research Design Quantitative methods and software
  • Research Design-Qualitative methods, software
  • Research Proposal
  • How to talk about your research experience
  • Mapping and publishing research
  • I am a researcher!
  • How to create a Curriculum Vitae
  • Creating a research poster
  • Funding for graduate school
  • Writing groups
  • Research time management

About Dr. Ronald E. McNair

  • Ronald Erwin McNair was born October 21, 1950 in Lake City, South Carolina. While in junior high school, Dr. McNair was inspired to work hard and persevere in his studies by his family and by a teacher who recognized his scientific potential and believed in him. Dr. McNair graduated as valedictorian from Carver High School in 1967. In 1971, he graduated magna cum laude and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro). Dr. McNair then enrolled in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his Ph.D. in laser physics. His dissertation was titled, “Energy Absorption and Vibrational Heating in Molecules Following Intense Laser Excitation.” Dr. McNair was presented an honorary doctorate of Laws from North Carolina A&T State University in 1978, an honorary doctorate of Science from Morris College in 1980, and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of South Carolina in 1984.
  • While working as a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratory, Dr. McNair soon became a recognized expert in laser physics. His many distinctions include being a Presidential Scholar (1971-74), a Ford Foundation Fellow (1971-74), a National Fellowship Fund Fellow (1974-75), and a NATO Fellow (1975). He was also a sixth degree black belt in karate and an accomplished saxophonist. Because of his many accomplishments, he was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978. His first space shuttle mission launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center on February 3, 1984. Dr. Ronald E. McNair was the second African American to fly in space. Two years later he was selected to serve as mission specialist aboard the ill-fated U.S. Challenger space shuttle. He was killed instantly when the Challenger exploded one minute, thirteen seconds after it was launched. Dr. McNair was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. After his death in the Challenger Space Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. Their goal was to encourage low-income and first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program and ultimately pursue an academic career. This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.