Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

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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.

Each year, the EMU McNair Program strives to meet the following objectives:

Research or Scholarly Activities: One-hundred percent (100%) of McNair Program participants served during the project year will have completed appropriate research or scholarly activities during the McNair Program academic year.

Enrollment in a Graduate Program: Seventy percent (70%) of McNair Program bachelor’s degree recipients (or equivalent) will be accepted and enrolled in a postbaccalaureate program of study by the fall term of the academic year immediately following the completion of the bachelor’s degree (or equivalent).

Continued Enrollment in Graduate Study: Eighty-two percent (82%) of first year graduate students will continue to be enrolled in graduate school at the beginning of the fall term of the next academic year.

Doctoral Degree Attainment: Ten percent (10%) of McNair program participants served will attain a doctoral degree within ten (10 years) of the attainment of the bachelor’s degree.

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, 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.

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