Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

Our application can be found here. The application should be read, fully completed, and turned into the McNair Scholars Program office in LIB 4200 by November 10th. Please be advised that our program application is long and will require several pieces of information that may take you time to locate or complete. You should give yourself plenty of time to complete the application.

Do I qualify?


  • Be a current Sophomore, Junior, Senior at CSUDH
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Either:
    • First-generation, low-income college student (by federal low-income guidelines).
      A member of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate study (African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

I am a graduating senior, can I still apply?

Yes, seniors may apply. However, given that the program is designed as a 2-year program, senior applicants tend to have a more impacted experience since they must already be in the process of applying to graduate schools at the time they apply to the McNair Scholars Program. In addition, students must be current CSUDH students during participation in the program. 

I don’t have a 3.0 GPA, can I still apply?

Yes, but we do not recommend it. We look for a minimum GPA of 3.0 because this will be the minimum GPA one can have and still be a competitive applicant to graduate schools. McNair is a research oriented program that is also on par with an honors program, and as such our scholars are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Can all majors apply?

Yes, we have accepted students from a variety of disciplines. Students planning to enter graduate studies in the sciences will receive priority consideration. If you have a desire to pursue graduate studies at the Ph.D. level, then you should consider applying.

Can I apply if I already have a bachelor’s degree and am returning for a second B.A., or if I am a current master’s degree student?

No, our program is focused on working with students who are pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.

What if I am not sure I want a Ph.D.?

This may not be the program for you. Our federal regulations are very strict about the students that we are able to support, and the purpose of our program. We work to prepare students for earning admission to, and completing Ph.D. programs. Our students must have a strong interest in a research oriented field. If you are uncertain as to the direction you are headed, or if you do not want to earn a Ph.D., we may not be a good fit for your interests and goals.

When should I start preparing to apply for graduate school?

At least one year in advance, but two would be ideal. Collecting information about the application process is quite time consuming. In addition, depending on the type program you want to pursue, research experience may be something that you will need to gain as well. It will take time to cultivate your research experience, your relationship with faculty who can write you letters of recommendation, and to conduct the appropriate research for potential graduate programs. The more lead time you have into the graduate school application process, the better.

How will I pay for graduate school?

It depends, but ideally, you won’t!  If you plan on pursuing a Ph.D., then you should not have to pay. Ph.D. programs will typically fully fund their candidates. This will come in the form of fellowships. Fellowships can come in 3 forms: teaching assistantships, research assistantships or simply a fellowship. The institution will usually provide an award package that includes information on the type of fellowship they have awarded. There are also a number of national competitions that award gradate fellowships, such as the Ford Foundation, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. If awarded these national fellowships, they are portable and can be used at the institution of your choice.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of funding at the master’s level. While some schools are beginning to provide support for competitive students who demonstrate need, this is still not common. If you are looking into pursuing a master’s program, then you should also investigate options for outside funding.

I still have more questions about the McNair Scholars Program, what should I do?

You should call our office, email our Counselor/Coordinator, or stop by to see us! You can find our contact information on the tab labeled: Staff/Contact Info

Is there any other place on campus I can go for more information about my graduate school options?

Yes, you should go to the Career Center. They have graduate school workshops, a large library of information available to you, as well, as a staff of career advisers you can set up an appointment with for more individualized attention.