McNair Scholars Program



Register for the 2024 UTSA McNair Grad School Boot Camp

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Thank you for your interest in the McNair Scholars Program! We are actively recruiting our next cohort of McNair Scholars! The application will be open from now until all spots have been filled. Priority will be given to those who submitted their application by the deadline. However, we will review applications on a case-by-case basis if the application is to be submitted after the deadline. We cannot guarantee a review of the application and strongly encourage late applicants to reach out to the Assistant Director. Please visit the UTSA McNair webpage for more information on eligibility requirements. Be advised that you will need to prepare the following documents for the application: 

  • Personal Statement (500 words) 
  • 2 Confidential Letters of Recommendation submitted to the link in the application (3rd is optional; instructions in application and website)
  • Proof of Income eligibility (form available in the application)

McNair Application:

Letter of Recommendation Upload (must be uploaded by faculty/person writing recommendation):


Personal Statement Instructions

Please submit a statement that is no more than 500 words detailing the following: 

  1. Your interest in the McNair Scholars Program
  2. Your research experience and area of research interest
  3. Your educational goals including your intended post-baccalaureate plans 
  4. Your career objectives
  5. Any information which may aid the UTSA McNair Program selection committee

Please upload as a PDF in the application

Letter of Recommendation Instructions

The application requires Letters of Recommendation that can attest to the student's future success in the program and in graduate school afterward. Recommenders, you will submit your letter on the qualtrics form located on the McNair website. If possible, please have an official letterhead.
Please consider the following in your letter: 
  1. In what capacity have you worked with the student and for how long? 
  2. Please comment on the student's academic strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. If given the opportunity and proper preparation, do you feel the applicant has the potential to conduct research in his/her/their field of study? 
  4. Does the applicant have the potential to succeed in graduate studies? What is your basis for this judgment? 
Please upload as a PDF in the application

Proof of Income Eligibility Instructions

You will be asked to complete a proof of income eligibility form. The document can be found here or you can download the document within the McNair application. Please pay close attention to which page you must fill out. Page one is for dependent students and page two is for independent students. You will fill out only one page, do not fill out both. Once you have completed the form, upload the final document into the McNair application. If you are to be accepted into the McNair scholars program, we will ask for further documentation to verify this form. However, for the purpose of this application you will only have to turn in the proof of income eligibility form. 

McNair Income Eligibility Form

Please upload as a PDF in the application

Program Description

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is a federal program funded by the US Department of Education TRIO grant. 

The core purpose of the McNair Scholars Program is to support first-generation and low-income undergraduates at UTSA to pursue research-based graduate studies, specifically the Ph.D. We pay particular attention to students who come from racial and/or ethnic backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate school. The program provides the knowledge, skills and capacities necessary to successfully navigate the rigors of Ph.D. studies through immersion in research and a variety of scholarly activities. Such activities are academic skill building, a paid and faculty-led summer research internship program (up to $2,800), opportunities to present research at various conferences and symposiums, and assistance with the graduate school application process. Students who join the McNair Program join a community of peers. Each year, highly qualified students are selected from a pool of eligible applicants.

The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.


Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the McNair Scholars Program, the student must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Have a least 60 credit hours on their transcript (equivalent to Junior standing) 
  2. Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.9 
  3. Considered a first generation student (neither parents/guardians received a four-year bachelors degree)
  4. Considered a low-income student as defined by the Department of Education (Pell grant eligibility is usually an indication of low-income status)
  5. Must be able to participate in our 10 week Summer Research Institute in 2024 (June-August). Students who will graduate before summer 2024 will not be considered. 
  6. U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident/Verified Legal Documents showing proof of naturalization in the near future
  7. Desire to conduct research in your respective fields/major
  8. Interest in pursuing a Doctoral degree (Ph.D.)

Although being from a racial/ethnic background that is traditionally underrepresented from graduate school is not a requirement, we strongly encourage those who are underrepresented to apply to the program. In order to be considered for the program you MUST be either first-generation AND/OR low-income. However, preference will be given to those who are both. 




McNair Staff and Contact

Darrell C. Balderrama, Director: 

Dr. Alvin Curette, Assistant Director: 

Rosalinda Luera, Administrative Associate II: 

Our office is located in the Graduate School and Research Building (GSR) in office 2.210A. A McNair staff should be available every day of the week to answer any questions that you may have. 

*If you have any further questions, please email

The McNair Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research are units within UTSA Career-Engaged Learning.