Program Structure

A central purpose of the UNL McNair Scholars Program is to enhance the research skills and academic accomplishments of McNair participants. To adequately prepare each scholar for life as a graduate student, the McNair Program incorporates four major components: McNair Seminars and Scholarly Activities; Research and Faculty Mentoring; Graduate School Preparation; and Social, Cultural and Community Outreach Activities.

McNair Seminars and Scholarly Activities

During the academic year, seminars are directed at developing important research skills and preparing you to apply for graduate school.

  • For first-year Scholars, fall and spring seminars introduce you to the fundamentals of research and prepare you for the McNair Summer Research Experience. The summer seminars focus on writing an academic research paper, preparing for conference presentations, preparing for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and developing your graduate application portfolio.
  • Non-graduating Senior Scholar seminars focus on applying for fellowships, applying for summer research programs, networking at conferences, and developing effective leadership skills.
  • Graduating Scholar seminars focus on organizing your graduate application packets, applying for fellowships, graduate school visits, selecting a graduate school, and making the transition to graduate school.

By the end of the McNair Program, you’ll have had extensive training and access to the resources that will prepare you to apply and enter a masters or Ph.D. program.

Graduate School Preparation

The McNair Scholars Program assists scholars with GRE preparation, finding the right graduate school, and researching funding opportunities. You’ll learn how to navigate the application process, write a statement of purpose, and construct a curriculum vita. In graduate school preparation seminars, scholars receive an overview of higher education, discuss strategies for surviving and thriving in graduate school, and focus on developing important research and writing skills that will help you prepare for success in graduate school.

Research and Faculty Mentoring

Faculty mentors assist scholars in selecting and designing a research project and supervise all research-related activities. You’ll prepare and submit a research proposal and follow IRB guidelines for certification and protocol development (if applicable). Your mentor will direct you to the appropriate background literature and provide training in required techniques or procedures. In addition, your research mentor will be asked to review and critique a rough draft of the proposal, presentation abstract, and final paper. Your research mentor should be available to offer support and advice for graduate school opportunities.

During the summer after your first year in the Program, you'll participate in the eight-week McNair Summer Research Experience (MSRE), completing a research project under the guidance of your faculty mentor. You’ll conduct research in collaboration with your faculty mentor; provide periodic progress updates to your peers and McNair staff; write a research report; and prepare a conference and poster presentation. You’ll receive a research stipend to support your summer work.

During your second year in the McNair Scholars Program, you'll participate in UNL's Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program or may continue your research funded by other research programs or your department.

Social, Cultural, and Community Outreach

As part of the program, the McNair staff coordinates occasional social, cultural events, and community outreach activities. Social events may include a reception honoring McNair graduates. Cultural events will be announced as they arise. McNair Scholars are encouraged to share their research through community outreach opportunities to demonstrate the broader impacts of their research.