Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

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About Us


What is the McNair Scholars Program?

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program was begun in 1989 to offer support services to high-achieving students on their quest to attain the doctoral degree. Eastern Michigan University is one in a highly elite group of institutions, selected by the Department of Education, to host a McNair Program. As such, EMU McNair Scholars figure among the students in our nation with the greatest potential to become leaders in their academic disciplines. It is a great honor to become a McNair Scholar.

The ideal McNair Scholar is goal-oriented, disciplined, creative and inquisitive. McNair Scholars enjoy learning and are willing to listen and grow through their interaction with their mentors, advisors and peers. McNair Scholars take personal pride in completing assignments to the best of their ability, meeting deadlines and balancing their work and academic commitments. They have a vision of themselves as successful professionals and are willing the to work to achieve their dreams.

Membership in the McNair Scholars Program is challenging, but the rewards are great. You will develop new skills, gain confidence in yourself, make great friends, build an impressive resume and have the opportunity to travel, present your research and interact with caring faculty and staff who are dedicated to your success. Our graduates are building academic and professional lives around the world, and we pledge to open the world to you, too!          

The purpose of the McNair Program is to assist students in completing their Bachelor's degree, and to gain admission to Master's / Doctoral programs. McNair Scholars receive many forms of assistance as they progress toward these goals. The following pages will provide you with detailed information about the program, the responsibilities of McNair Scholars, and the services and resources available to you.

The path to the Ph.D.

Most undergraduates have questions about what a doctoral actually is and how to earn one. The diagram below shows the progression from a Bachelor's Degree, to the Master's Degree, and then on to the top of the pyramid, or the Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.). Earning a Bachelor's Degree (B.A. or B.S.) usually takes between 4-6 years. Students typically take General Education courses on a wide range of subjects during the first and second years, followed by a number of courses specifically designed to give them advanced knowledge in a Major and Minor subject. The Master's Degree (M.A. or M.S.) is awarded after taking 10 to 14 additional classes in a single subject. Master's degrees are typically earned in 1 to 2 years of study. Many students seek graduate assistantships, in which they work at the university and receive free tuition and a stipend payment in return. Classes are smaller, more reading and research are required, and students work closely with their professors. The Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) is awarded after a student becomes an expert in a field of study. The Ph.D. may require up to 15 courses, after which the student conducts and writes an original research project, called a "dissertation." Upon successful completion of the dissertation, the student is awarded the "Doctorate of Philosophy," or "Ph.D." Doctoral studies typically take 4-6 years, and most students work as university instructors or researchers, and receive free tuition and a salary.

The Four Objectives of the McNair Scholars Program Each year, the EMU McNair Program strives to meet the following four Objectives: I. Scholars will engage in Research or Scholarly activities every year. II. Graduates will enroll in graduate school by the fall semester immediately following completion of the Bachelor's degree. III. Graduates will remain enrolled in graduate school the fall semester of the following year. IV. Graduates will obtain their doctoral degree within 10 years of graduation from the baccalaureate program.