Our Mission

(original landing page) Welcome to the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The McNair Program prepares qualifying CU-Boulder undergraduates from science, technology, engineering and math majors to study at the doctoral level. This program was created in 1996 to honor Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut and physicist who died in the Challenger explosion.

The U.S. Congress endowed the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program to encourage college students with similar backgrounds to Dr. McNair to enroll in graduate study.

The mission of the CU McNair Scholars Program is to prepare low-income, first-generation college students and students underrepresented in graduate education to reach their goals of attaining doctoral degrees.

It is the intent of the McNair Program to build on the strong foundation of services offered by the University of Colorado in achieving its goals.

Funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of Education, there are 197 programs on campuses across the United States and Puerto Rico. CU is proud to be a long standing McNair institution. The McNair Scholars Program prepares eligible undergraduate students for doctoral study through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. This includes financial aid, tutoring, GRE preparation, graduate school visits, faculty-mentored independent research, opportunities to present research findings at conferences around the country, and academic advising. The CU McNair Scholars Program is an integral component of CU’s mission of “being a comprehensive graduate research university” through fostering of the spirit of discovery through research of our undergraduate students.

McNair Scholars learn that by participating in the program, they are part of an investment by the U.S. Department of Education and The University of Colorado in the diversification of advanced-degree holders. McNair Program participants are part of a supportive community which includes other scholars and staff members are dedicated to seeing Scholars be successful and achieve their goals.

One of the most exciting aspects of the McNair Program is the opportunity for undergraduate students, who are majoring in science, technology, engineering or math at the junior and senior levels, to participate in research experiences. Scholars receive funding to conduct research and engage in other scholarly activities with faculty mentors from the areas in which they hope to pursue graduate study.

McNair Scholars also attend professional conferences, graduate school fairs, prepare for graduate school entrance exams, receive guidance through the graduate school application process and obtain information on securing fellowships, graduate assistantships, and loans. Participants learn about graduate school life, advanced research skills, and effective ways to present their work. Scholars are also offered a seminar in preparing to be a teaching assistant.

At the completion of the research internships at CU, McNair scholars make formal presentations of their research to faculty and peers and submit papers summarizing their work.