Winthrop McNair Scholars - Application

McNair Scholars

Applying to the Winthrop McNair Scholars Program

Although our fall call for applications was successful, and we currently project serving more than our required number of participants this year, the Winthrop McNair Advisory Board wants to serve more students if we can do so effectively. This spring, the Board is calling for additional applications from first generation college students who come from low-income families and who have demonstrated potential to succeed in graduate school. 

**The deadline for all application materials is 5 pm Friday, February 12, 2021.**  

Applicants, faculty, and staff with questions can join our Info Sessions here 

  • Friday, 1/22/21 -- 11 am - noon

  • Monday 1/25/21 -- 1 - 2 pm

Eligible sophomores and juniors at Winthrop and other SC colleges and universities are encouraged to apply. In addition to Winthrop students, our program has served students at Clemson, College of Charleston, Columbia College, Limestone, and Wofford. Application materials should be submitted using this fillable Application Form and faculty/professional references can submit their solicited recommendations using this fillable Recommendation Form. An alternative (MS Word) version of the form is available to references upon request (email  

To learn more about the program or your eligibility after you have reviewed this website, join one of our droplease contact the program at Soon, we will list dates and times for Zoom drop-in information sessions.  

Year-round, we recruit eligible students at Winthrop and other SC 4-year institutions. 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.


Are you eligible to be a Winthrop McNair Scholar?

If you are interested in participating in the Winthrop McNair Scholars Program, but do not know if you are eligible, complete the online survey or contact program staff to inquire about your eligibility.

Only apply if you can say "yes" to all of the following.
  • I am interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate studies.
  • I am a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or meet another citizenship requirement.*
  • I am either or both
    • a first generation college student* and come from a low-income family*   OR
    • from a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in graduate education.*
  • I am available to participate in the McNair Summer Research Internship all day every weekday. The anticipated dates for the 2021 McNair Summer Research Experience are: May 12-July 9.
  • 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 end of the next spring semester.
  • 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—
(A) an individual both of whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree; or
(B) 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
(C) 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. See

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).
To apply, complete and submit Parts 1 and 2 of the application and have two professional recommendations submitted on your behalf by Friday 2/12/21.

    Links to the three components of the current application are below.

  • Part 1 - Part 1 will be used to establish your eligibility for the program.  You must answer the questions and submit the online survey.  Do this before completing the rest of the application. Print/screenshot this survey page, sign it, and include it with your other application materials.
  • Part 2 - Part 2 includes the Applicant Form and Recommendation Forms which are available for download by clicking on the links below. Follow the directions in the part II Applicant Form. Submit all application materials via email to or in an envelope to the Program office (McNair Scholars Program, 104 Dinkins Hall, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 29733)
  • Two Recommendations: Well in advance of the deadline, ask two or more references to complete and submit the recommendation form below.

Last Updated: 1/15/21