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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be enrolled full time to be considered for the program?

You must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at CSULB to be considered for the program. The program prefers that students are enrolled full time, but makes exceptions for advanced students that do not need additional credits.

Are students from all academic majors eligible to apply?

Yes, we encourage undergraduate students from ALL majors to apply for the program.

Can I be in BUILD and in McNair?

No, you cannot be participating in both programs.

I’m a post-bac student (graduated), am I eligible for the program?

No, students who have already completed a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science are not eligible to participate in the program. This program is for junior or senior-level undergraduate students only.

I am a graduate student, am I eligible for the program?

No, students who have already completed a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science are not eligible to participate in the program. This program is for junior or senior-level undergraduate students only.

I will be a senior this upcoming Fall; can I still apply for the program?

Yes. We ask that every applicant has 2+ semesters (including summer) left before graduation.

What is the time commitment for the program?

The majority of the program content is delivered through academic seminars. The assignments and activities for the seminars are to help you create compelling applications to graduate and Ph.D. programs. The time will be contingent on student schedules. If accepted into the program, you will also be required to participate in a Summer Research Internship Program and present at local and national conferences.

Is this a scholarship?

No. While we are called the McNair Scholars Program, this is an undergraduate research fellowship rather than a traditional scholarship. The program does not provide money to pay for your tuition like a scholarship would. Instead, this is an undergraduate research program that helps prepare undergraduates for graduate school and academic research. There is $2,800 stipend associated with completing a research project.

I want to apply, but I’m new to CSULB and I don’t know who to ask to be my mentor. What should I do?

You are not required to have a faculty mentor at the time of applying. We encourage students to always make appointments with professors during their office hours. This is a great way to get to know your professors and to also get more out of the classes you are taking. Let your professors know that you are interested in conducting undergraduate research and that you are applying to the CSULB McNair Scholars Program. Scholars are expected to have a mentor by the end of spring semester.

Who qualifies as “low-income”, “first-generation”, and “under-represented?”

Low-income is determined based on the federal guidelines (that considers income and household size). We review this information on your application, if you have specific questions, please contact McNair@csulb.edu. First-generation is determined based on your application, and if you indicate that neither of your parents/guardians have earned a 4-year college degree Underrepresented is determined based on the federal definition, which includes the following underrepresented minority groups within graduate education: Black/African American - non-Hispanic; Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

I am an international student, am I eligible for the program?

No. Only US Citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible to apply for this federally-funded US Department of Education program.

Do I need to have an already formulated research question and topic in order to apply?

It is not required that you have a formulated research question and topic prior to applying. However, in your application essay, we do request that you discuss a potential research question and topic that you would be interested in exploring for your McNair research project. This is an undergraduate research program and having an idea of what you might like to explore will help you do well in the program.

I want to go to graduate school but I’m not sure if I want to pursue a Ph.D., is this the right program for me?

Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. It is best to discuss your uncertainties and questions prior to submitting your application materials.

I want to get an MD and become a medical doctor, is this program right for me?

No. Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D.

I want to get a law degree (JD), is this program right for me?

No. Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D.

My GPA is below a 3.0. Should I still apply?

We recommend that you email McNair and talk to a faculty or academic advisor about how to strengthen your application.

When should I start preparing to apply to graduate school?

At least one year in advance. We encourage all students in our program to begin preparing for the graduate school application process during their junior year.

How will I pay for graduate school?

Many graduate students get comprehensive funding packages, and the McNair staff will prepare you to be competitive for institutional and extramural funding opportunities.

Do I have to attend graduate school at CSULB?

No. McNair Scholars apply to and are accepted by graduate schools nationwide.

Do I need to take the GRE?

We encourage our students to take the GRE. Graduate programs in the U.S. often require current GRE scores.

What are some of the benefits McNair Scholars receive?

Graduate school preparation, travel to conferences and graduate school fairs, academic and professional workshops, and a paid research internship, among many other benefits.

Does it matter if I have already done research or been a participant in a research mentorship program?

Research through another program can provide a head start for McNair. It can also provide an opportunity to work with a diverse set of faculty members.

How do I find a research mentor?

Faculty Research Experience and Expertise (FREE) is a searchable electronic database that includes research experience and expertise of faculty at CSULB. The purpose of the FREE is to foster research collaborations and partnerships among faculty at CSULB, colleagues at other educational institutions, industry partners, and government agencies.