Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program


The Federal TRIO programs began with the Upward Bound Program, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's “War on Poverty”. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960's, the term "TRIO" was coined to describe these three federal programs.  The programs were expanded with the additions of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, and the Upward Bound Math/Science Program in 1990.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement program is named in honor of Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, a renowned laser physicist and astronaut. Dr. McNair graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1971 and received his Ph.D. at the age of 26 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. Dr. McNair's life was cut short due to a tragic accident aboard the USS Challenger space shuttle in January 1986.

After his death, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program to encourage ethnic minorities, women and other underrepresented groups to pursue graduate school opportunities, specifically doctoral studies. The McNair Program provides direct services to low-income and/or first generation college students designed to help students overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education.


Funded in full by the United States Department of Education, the Morehouse College Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is a year round graduate school preparatory internship with an eight week summer research component designed to prepare first generation undergraduates demonstrating strong academic potential for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. The program provides research opportunities, faculty mentors, opportunities to publish and/or present research findings, and assistance with the graduate school application process.

The primary goal of the program is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. The Morehouse College McNair Program encourages participants to enroll in graduate programs and tracks their progress through to the successful completion of advanced degrees. The McNair Program is supported by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Department of Education's Council for Opportunity in Education.


Since 1992, the mission of the Morehouse College McNair Scholars Program has been to help first generation, low-income college students and students underrepresented in graduate education reach their goals of attaining doctoral degrees. The program works with rising juniors and seniors majoring in the STEM and Psychology fields, who have stated interest in furthering their education; and helps them prepare for successful application to and completion of a graduate degree program. This includes GRE preparation, graduate school visits, faculty-mentored independent research, and opportunities to present research findings at numerous national conferences. McNair Scholars learn that their participation in the program is evidence of the investment by the U.S. Department of Education and Morehouse College in the diversification of advanced-degree holders. Our commitment to service, academic excellence and integrity is manifested in the way we select, mentor, support and empower McNair Scholars.  The Program will foster the essential skills and provide the necessary motivation for academic persistence of the McNair Scholars through: opportunities for meaningful undergraduate research, guidance through the graduate school admission process, and academic, professional, and personal development.


Highly motivated, disciplined and hard working individuals, college level rising juniors and seniors, who are:

  • US Citizen or permanent Legal resident of the U.S.
  • First generation college students with demonstrated financial need
  • Historically underrepresented minority at the graduate level
  • Good academic standing (3.0 or higher cum desired)
  • Majoring in Physical, Biological or Psychological Sciences


  • Summer Stipend
  • Research Opportunities with Faculty Mentorship
  • Campus Room & Board during Summer program
  • GRE Preparation
  • GRE Fee Reduction
  • Graduate School Application Waivers from over 200 Graduate Schools
  • Graduate placement assistance
  • Academic, Career & Personal Counseling
  • Involvement in Professional Development Activities

Program Expectations

Students are required to:

  • Contact and confirm the participation of a faculty advisor to support and supervise the research program.
  • Participate in a research experience with faculty mentor. Students are expected to meet and consult with their advisor on a regular basis throughout the term.
  • Attend McNair Summer Courses (Research Methodology, GRE Prep & Professional Development)
  • Submit preliminary assignments and final research paper that should reflect the time spent engaged in research (15-20 pages).

Why Participate in Our Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is committed to providing the support and tailored services that enhance our student’s collegiate experience.  We strive to promote an environment designed to give our participants the support, tools, and worldly experiences to succeed as highly competitive scholars and leaders by addressing their academic and personal needs in an effort to improve their chances for success at the graduate level.

The McNair program is focused on preparing our participants for successful graduate study through exposure to graduate level work and research experiences geared towards improving their critical thinking skills.  The McNair experience fosters an increase of knowledge and familiarity with the ins and outs of graduate study and the graduate school application process as well as the essential elements of research.

We are confident that our support and guidance combined with the participant’s abiding drive and determination will ensure that each student will reach a level of academic, personal and professional success that is without comparison.

McNair Scholars:

  • Conduct Research
  • Prepare extensively for graduate study
  • Work closely with Division of Science & Mathematics Faculty
  • Develop Leadership Skills
  • Are eligible for Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society
  • Attend Professional Conferences
  • Visit Potential Graduate Schools
  • Have opportunities to Publish in Peer-Reviewed Journals


Rubye J. Byrd, Ph.D
Federal TRiO Director
(404) 215-2671

Brock Mayers
Associate Director
(404) 653–7833

Munichia McCalla-Bull
Program Counselor
(404) 653-7837

Duane Jackson, Ph.D
Research Coordinator
(404) 681-2800 x2284

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