McNair Scholars Program- University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida
Academic Level
Issue Area
Support Services
Program Focus
Undergraduate Research


The UCF McNair Scholars Program is designed to assist first generation and low-income students, and groups underrepresented in graduate education in gaining admission to graduate programs leading to a doctorate. Of the 169 students who have participated in the McNair program since its inception, 53% identify as Latino. Approximately 53% of Latino students who enter UCF intend to attend graduate school, however only 14% have applied or been accepted into graduate programs by the time they graduate. McNair Scholars works to improve those rates by offering students guidance and support in identifying UCF research mentors, applying to external summer research programs, developing presentation skills, articulating their research interests, navigating the graduate school and fellowship application process, and preparing for the graduate school experience. Scholars receive individual advising, participate in McNair Seminars, and are provided with peer, graduate, and faculty mentors. Scholars also travel to various graduate schools and attend research conferences. Armed with an internal/research agenda (through summer research), scholars have a layered research experience and extensive networks. Scholars identify familial connections that serve as support systems throughout their journey to the doctorate, and articulate the impact the doctorate will have on themselves, their family, and their community.

Program Description

The mission of McNair Scholars is to increase the number of first-generation college students from low-income families and members of underrepresented groups in the nation’s professoriate. The program objectives are: 1) To promote completion of research and scholarly activities that will directly impact educational progression during each academic year, 2) To promote bachelor degree attainment rates, 3) To promote graduate enrollment of first-generation and low income, and underrepresented minority students, and 4) To promote doctoral degree retention and completion.


For Entry Cohorts 2008-2009 through 2018-2019:

  • 100% (138/138) of McNair participants have completed their bachelor's degree; 57% of McNair scholars who have completed their bachelor's degree are Latino students.
  • 122 UCF McNair participants have enrolled in graduate school, of which 55% (67 of 122) are Latino students.
  • 99% (66/67) of Latino scholars who enrolled in graduate school have either completed a graduate degree (masters or doctorate) or are currently enrolled in a graduate program.
  • 12 UCF McNair Scholars have completed doctoral degrees, of which 83% (10 of 12) are Latino students. 57 UCF McNair Scholars are currently enrolled in doctoral degrees, 61% who are Latino (35 of 57)




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