The fully institutionalized Iowa State University McNair Program prepares eligible participants for entry to graduate school and the attainment of the PhD through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Participants must be undergraduate juniors or seniors who are first-generation or from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic). The primary goal of McNair is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by the student population served by the program.
Each McNair student is required to have a graduate student mentor throughout their two or more years of program participation. Graduate students serve as mentors for individual McNair students by providing exposure to the expectations of earning a doctoral degree as well as assisting students in completing components of the program. The mentoring component also helps graduate students in developing peer mentoring skills and experience.