The TRiO McNair Scholars Program prepares undergraduates for graduate study at the doctoral level. Two-thirds of the McNair Scholars at USD must be both first-generation and income eligible students. First generation is defined as an individual who's parent(s) did not complete a bachelors degree. Income eligibility is based on taxable income and the family unit size. The remaining participants may be from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education.

Eligibility requirements for participating in the USD TRiO McNair Scholars Program:

  • Completion of at least 60 units
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative USD GPA
  • US Citizenship or permanent US Residency
  • Meets income eligibility and is first generation to college; or is a member of a group that is underrepresented in graduate education
  • The desire to pursue doctoral study


The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program requires a considerable amount of commitment, not only to applying for graduate school, but in participation in program activities. All Scholars must commit themselves to the time and effort it will take to successfully complete the program.

All Scholars are expected to attend monthly meetings and coordinate with staff to make up any missed material. One-on-one meetings are held periodically in order to develop an individualized plan of action for each Scholar. All USD McNair Scholars are encouraged to participate in the McNair Summer Research Program.