McNair Scholars

If you want to pursue a PhD and would like to get paid to conduct undergraduate research, see if you are eligible for Winthrop’s McNair Scholars Program. We offer a summer research internship with $2800 stipend plus on-campus summer housing, meals, and a free 3-hour course (MCNR 300). Once selected, we work with each McNair participant to prepare them to conduct high quality research with a PhD faculty research mentor in their field of interest, then we support each McNair Scholar throughout their undergraduate career to help them with every step of getting into, funding, and succeeding in doctoral programs. All majors are welcome. Winthrop McNair Scholars present their research at professional conferences and many have earned national awards for their presentations. Learn about our outstanding Scholars’ summer research projects here.

The deadline to ensure consideration is November 1. Applications and recommendations submitted after November 1 may be considered. To apply, complete and submit Parts 1 and 2 of the application and have two professional recommendations submitted on your behalf. All three components must be received for the application to ensure consideration for this year.  Application details and links to the forms are below.

  • Part 2 - Part 2 includes the Applicant Form available for download at the link below. Submit all application materials via e-mail to or in an envelope to the Program office (McNair Scholars Program, 104 Dinkins Hall, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 29733). If you are looking for ideas for the research plan, check out "Summer Research" to see examples of recent McNair research projects and awards.  
  • Two Recommendations: Ask two professional references to complete and submit the recommendation form that can be downloaded at At least one of the two references must be a faculty member who has evaluated your work as a college student. **To download the form, go to File, then click Download, and choose the file form most convenient for the referee. The person completing the recommendation form should submit the form via e-mail to Recommendations can also be delivered to Winthrop McNair, 104 Dinkins Hall, Rock Hill, SC 29733.**

Are you eligible to be a Winthrop McNair Scholar?

If you are interested in Winthrop's McNair Scholars Program, but do not know if you are eligible, complete the online survey ASAP or e-mail to inquire about your eligibility.

Apply if you can say "yes" to all of the following.

  • I am interested in pursuing a PhD, another doctorate, or a master's degree. 
  • I am a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or meet another citizenship requirement.*
  • I am either or both
    • a first generation college student* from a low-income family*   OR
    • a college student from a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in graduate education.*
  • I am available to participate in the Winthrop McNair Summer Research Experience all day every weekday May 13 - July 19, 2024; including possible conference travel to present research in June (the program covers expenses for participants traveling on McNair business).
  • I have a GPA of 3.0 or better and am enrolled at a four-year college or university in SC.
  • I will have completed my sophomore year (at least 54 credit hours) by the beginning of the next summer.
  • I will graduate at least one semester after the next McNair Summer Research Experience.

*Visit the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at this link and this link to see federal eligibility criteria and key definitions. The definitions below are quoted from the CFR and most recent Annual Performance Report (APR) instructions found here.  

First generation college student

The term “first generation college student” means—

  1. an individual both of whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree; or
  2. in the case of any individual who regularly resided with and received support from only one parent, an individual whose only such parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree; or
  3. an individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or adoptive parent (this third definition is added, to those specified in the CFR, from the McNair APR instructions at 

 Low-income individual 

The term “low-income individual” means an individual from a family whose taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of an amount equal to the poverty level determined by using criteria of poverty established by the Bureau of the Census. 

Groups underrepresented in graduate education

The following ethnic and racial groups are considered underrepresented in graduate education: Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native (as defined in section 7306 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA)), Native Hawaiians (as defined in section 7207 of the ESEA), and Native American Pacific Islanders (as defined in section 320 of the HEA).


Eligible sophomores and juniors at Winthrop and other SC colleges and universities are encouraged to apply (see eligibility info below). In addition to Winthrop students, our program has served students at Clemson, College of Charleston, Columbia College, Limestone, and Wofford.  

To learn more about the program or your eligibility after you have reviewed this website, join one of our drop-in sessions or contact the program at Please contact if you are interested in arranging or attending a Winthrop McNair info session. You can also learn about the program by checking out our program flyer.