Skip to main content

The McNair Program

Ronald McNair portrait on black background

 

"I don't think I'd be in graduate school if it wasn't for the resources and guidance provided by McNair. The program gave me the tools, confidence and experience needed to not only get other research opportunities but be more prepared for grad school."

- Brenda Rincon, McNair 2019, current psychology PhD student at UC Riverside

History: About Ronald E. McNair and the McNair Program

  • Ronald Ervin McNair was born on October 12, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina, where he graduated as valedictorian from Carver High School in 1967. He attended North Carolina A&T University where he earned a bachelor's degree in physics, magna cum laude, in 1971. In 1976, he received his PhD in physics from MIT.
  • Dr. McNair was nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 from a pool of ten thousand applicants. In addition, he was a sixth-degree black belt in karate, an accomplished saxophonist, and the recipient of three honorary doctorates and a score of fellowships and commendations. 
  • McNair first flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle which launched from Kennedy Space Center on February 3, 1984. Ronald E. McNair died on January 28, 1986, in a fiery explosion nine miles above the Atlantic along with six other crew members aboard the space shuttle Challenger. He was married and had two small children at the time of his death. After his death, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program was funded by Congress. The goal of the program was “to encourage low-income and first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program and ultimately pursue an academic career. This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.”  (Learn more here)

Program Information

The McNair Program helps low-income, first-generation college students prepare for doctoral study. McNair students participate in research activities in the winter, spring, and summer quarters. Click below to learn more about the programs benefits and requirements.

Learn More

How to Apply

The application period for the 2022-2023 McNair Program cohort is open! Early admission deadline is October 30th, 2022; however, we will continue accepting applications after that date until we have selected our full cohort. Click below for more information!

Find Out More

McNair Community

Read more about our students and alumni.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

Click below to review frequently asked questions about the McNair Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

McNair Program Coordinator


Contact: Tom Brown, PhD

Email: tkbrown@ucsd.edu

To make an appointment: calendly.com/tkbrown/15min