A blue graduation stole with white lettering reading "Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program"

Apply to McNair

Undergraduate students at UW–Madison with underrepresented, first-generation and low-income status who meet the program’s eligibility requirements and want to pursue postdoctoral education may apply to join the McNair Scholars Program. Applications open in late summer and close in October on the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

Applications Open

Applications open Aug. 21 to join the next cohort of McNair Scholars at UW–Madison. Eligible undergraduate students with aspirations and strong academic potential for pursuing Ph.D. studies can apply now through Oct. 1, 2023.

Apply Now

Application Process

McNair staff describe the application process and answer some commonly asked questions in this webinar recorded in May 2021.


  • Aug. 21 – Applications open
  • Oct. 1 – Applications close
  • Oct. 16 – Anticipated date for interviews to begin
  • Nov. 1 – Anticipated decision date
  • Nov.-Dec. – Search for mentors
  • Late Jan. – Spring 2024 Orientation

Application Checklist

You must submit the following materials through the WiSH portal:

  • A completed application
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a professor
  • A personal statement of no more than 1,000 words describing:
    • Why you want to pursue a Ph.D.,
    • What your short- and long-term career goals are,
    • How the McNair Scholars Program can assist you in attaining those goals,
    • What specific research area interests you the most (discuss any current research or a possible research topic and mentor/professor with whom you would like to work),
    • A personal example showing your persistence and commitment to academic endeavors.

You must also submit the following documentation directly to McNair staff:

Do not email completed forms. You must return your completed forms printed and signed by hand. You can hand in or mail verification forms to the McNair Office at 408 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706.

Please note: Use your taxable income from your most recent federal tax return on the form. For McNair, all students under the age of 24 are considered dependents, regardless of their financial aid status. Both dependent and independent forms are available at the link above.