The UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program was established at UCLA in 2003 as a two-year research-based intensive program that prepares undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. to apply to and excel in the best graduate school programs in the country.

Each year, the program maintains a cohort of 28 juniors and seniors from a variety of majors in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and applied or interdisciplinary Sciences. The UCLA McNair program particularly attracts young scholars who are committed to social change and who use scholarship and research as a means to achieve social justice. The program applies Critical Race Theory to prepare participants to become change agents within academia and beyond, thus fulfilling the program’s motto: “Transform the Academy.” Additionally, UCLA McNair Alumni work in a variety of professional positions that advance a social justice agenda.

McNair Brochure

Program Curriculum

UCLA McNair Research Scholars complete a comprehensive and rigorous two-year academic program under the supervision of the Program Director, the Assistant Director, and multiple Graduate Student Mentors.

During their first year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the UCLA Student Research Program (SRP) under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and attend weekly seminars designed specifically for the program. These seminars guide students through navigating the academy and developing research proposals.

In the summer between their first and second year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the six-week UCLA McNair Summer Research Institute. This six-week program includes: workshops and seminars on academic career opportunities; standardized test preparation; writing and research skills; writing a statement of purpose; obtaining letters of recommendation; and completing the graduate school application process. In addition, McNair Scholars begin their independent research projects and present their current findings at the UCLA Summer Symposium.

During their second year in the program, McNair Scholars apply to graduate school and complete, present, and publish their research project and senior thesis. Every Scholar has the opportunity to donate her or his research materials and senior thesis to the Southern California Library.

Eligibility Criteria

Students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a low-income AND first generation college student
  • Be a member of an underrepresented group within graduate education

Students must also:

  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Be a currently enrolled UCLA undergraduate student majoring in the humanities or social sciences
  • Be a third-year or a transfer student who has completed between 90 and 175 units by Fall of the application year
  • Demonstrate academic potential for graduate study
  • Be available during the McNair Summer Research Institute (typically Summer Session A)

How Do I Apply to McNair?

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in applying to the UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program or would like to learn more about the program requirements, please come to the UCLA McNair Office in 1202 Campbell Hall or contact:

Liliana Islas
Assistant Director
(310) 794-4186
1202 Campbell Hall

Contact Us

For more information about the program and/or the application process, please visit our office in 1202 Campbell Hall or email

Like us on Facebook   at UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program. You will receive up-to-date information on application updates, upcoming McNair events, graduate school workshops, and much more!

UCLA McNair Alumni

We are always happy to hear from our UCLA McNair alumni! Would you like to update us on your most current adventures? Are you interested in mentoring or serving on one of our panels? Are you simply looking to update your contact information? Please contact us at any time at