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

Apply to McNair

Underrepresented, first-generation and low-income undergraduate students at UW–Madison who meet the program’s eligibility requirements and want to pursue postdoctoral education are encouraged to apply to join the McNair Scholars Program.

Applications open every fall semester around September 1 and close in mid-October and can be found on the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

2021 Applications Now Open

Applications are now open to join the McNair Scholars Program for 2021. Eligible undergraduate students with aspirations and strong academic potential for pursuing Ph.D. studies can apply now through Oct. 17, 2021.

Apply Now

Application Process

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


  • Sep. 1 – Applications open
  • Oct. 17 – Applications close
  • Oct. 18-31 – Applications reviewed
  • Nov. 1-19 – Candidate interviews
  • By Dec. 9 – Acceptance notifications sent

Application Checklist

When applying to McNair, you will be asked to 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.

Following the interview, you will also be asked to submit a completed federal tax return for yourself (or your parent/guardian if you are claimed as a dependent), and a form affirming your status as a first-generation college student.