The Dr. Ronald E. McNair Scholars Institute at UNLV is committed to diversifying the ranks of American faculty and research institutions by encouraging and preparing undergraduate students who are members of underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral studies.


Matthew Della Sala, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Undergraduate Research


  • Assistance with graduate school application materials
  • Paid undergraduate research under the guidance of a professor
  • Funded travel to academic research conferences
  • Academic counseling and tutoring
  • Fee waivers for graduate school applications
  • Workshops for Ph.D. program preparation
  • Assistance with financial aid, including scholarships and fellowship applications
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) preparation seminar


Students are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Are a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Have completed at least 59 credits
  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Qualify as a low-income and a first-generation college student or as a member of a group underrepresented in graduate education

What is the Cost?

There is no charge other than your commitment to education. Your future is your responsibility!

How to Apply

Step 1: Determine Eligibility for McNair

Complete the CAEO Participant Application and email the scanned document to caeocampusprograms@unlv.edu. Schedule a meeting with Matthew Della Sala to determine eligibility for the program.

  • Complete the application using a black or blue ink pen
  • Ensure that the application has the appropriate signatures
  • On page 3 (Participant Application Pt. 2), Step 4, make sure to rank "TRIO McNair" high in order to be screened for the program

*The scanned application must include the appropriate signatures in blue or black ink pen. If submitting a hard copy, please bring your application to SSC-A 301.

Step 2: If Eligible for McNair

If you are eligible for McNair, a McNair staff member will reach out to you to schedule a meeting to discuss the program in further detail and explain the application process. To apply for McNair, you must complete the following items:

Submit all completed application materials to Matthew Della Sala (SSC-A 301 for hard copy or email scanned copies to matthew.dellasala@unlv.edu).

*If you are not eligible for McNair, your application will be screened for other CAEO programs that provide similar assistance.

Step 3: Review of Application and Applicant Interviews

  1. After submission of completed applications, documents are reviewed by a committee.
  2. Applicant interviews with McNair staff occur in late-November and early-December.
  3. Applicants are informed of their admissions decision in December, before the beginning of the spring semester.

*If you are not offered admission to McNair, your application will be screened for other CAEO programs that provide similar assistance.