Graduate School

If you are a current McNair Scholar, the McNair Program Staff are here to assist you with the graduate school exploration and the application process, funding and fee waivers. Please plan to meet with either the Director or the Associate Director regularly to discuss your graduate school plans and read the information below to answer basic questions.

If you are a current McNair Scholar, the McNair Program Staff are here to assist you with the graduate school exploration and the application process, funding and fee waivers. Please plan to meet with either the Director or the Associate Director regularly to discuss your graduate school plans and read the information below to answer basic questions.

The following links and recommended texts offer helpful information for graduate school exploration, selection, and preparation:

Graduate School application deadlines typically range from December – February for Fall admission. The key to preparing your applications is to begin the process early. The Princeton Review details a sample timeline for preparing for graduate school applications for the Fall semester following senior year.

As you prepare to apply for graduate school, please read the below carefully. This information is not a comprehensive source (as some graduate programs differ) of information about the Graduate School and its requirements. Applicants are strongly urged to visit the websites of the universities AND specific departments to which they are applying, as those sites offer detailed information about those departments' graduate programs.

There are typically 5 components to the application. They are:

1) The Application
Most universities, these days, use the online application to apply. The online application offers tools for collecting and submitting some, but often not all, of the documents and information required for the application. Departments may require additional information, so please check their listings. In general, though, applicants are responsible for submitting the following:

2) Personal Statement
All applicants are required to submit a personal statement regarding their interests and/or intended areas of study. Some programs ask applicants to address specific questions in their personal statements. Please review the listings for the Ph.D. or master’s program in which you are interested for details. 

UNH Center for Academic Resources (CFAR), Graduate School Preparation Services (Personal Statement Workshops)

3) Transcripts
Applicants must provide an official transcript(s) with their applications. Applicants who have attended international institutions must submit transcripts or certified attestations of study, with certified English translations. Once translated, the original transcript and the certified translations are to be sent to the Graduate School admission office. College seniors should submit current official transcripts, followed by a final official transcript showing the award of the baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation, as is required and mentioned above. 

4) Letters of Recommendation
Most Graduate School requires three letters of recommendation by persons well qualified to speak from first-hand knowledge about the applicant's potential for graduate study. All letters should comment on an applicant’s ability to do research and perform in the program’s required coursework. At least two of these letters should be from faculty at the institution of current study or, if the applicant is not in school at the time of application, at the institution most recently attended. Letters of recommendation for applicants to master’s programs may be from academic or non-academic sources; please consult individual program listings for details.

*Recommenders should be given the following:

  • Necessary recommendation form
  • Copy of your statement of purpose for each program you are applying
  • Resume
  • Brief summary of courses taken and grades received from that faculty member (don’t expect them to look it up)
  • Respectful, detailed requests to have them address specific skills or topics within their letter of recommendations
  • Stamped and addressed envelopes
  • Application deadlines and the dates by which you need the recommendations
  • It is recommended that you waive your right to view your references as many graduate programs will weight such recommendations more favorably and view them as being more honest

UNH University Advising and Career Center, Letters of Recommendation Guidelines

Applicants must have their results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test sent to the Graduate School. Please check program requirements regarding subject tests or supplementary materials.  A guide for how to look up ETS school codes can be found here.

When taking the GRE, you can request that the scores be sent to specific universities directly. Usually, four can be sent FREE of charge.

The UNH Center for Academic Resources (CFAR), Graduate School Preparation Services offer GRE Workshops during the academic year.

While the GRE is the most common admissions test, there are others.  The following websites include detailed information for various graduate school admissions tests.

Additional Graduate School Admission Tests

Intended only for undergraduate students enrolled in the McNair Scholars Program.

Application-fee waivers are available under certain circumstances. Applicants to graduate programs who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and can demonstrate either financial need or participation in certain specialized programs listed (ex: McNair) on the fee-waiver application may apply for an application-fee waiver.

The list of graduate schools which currently offer fee waivers and/or application incentives to McNair Fellows and low-income applicants is currently accessible by linking to the Council for Opportunity in Education.

Because the list is updated regularly, it is the most current source of information. Remember, if you are applying to any of these schools, or if you are applying to a school that is not included on the list, you should contact their admissions office and/or the department to which you are applying to find out what documents, if any, you will need to submit in order to obtain an application fee waiver.

Do not assume that you can send in an application with no check or explanation. This will result in your application being unprocessed and returned.

As always, if you have any questions regarding fee waivers, do not hesitate to contact the UNH McNair Office.

Graduate School Funding includes graduate assistantships (research and/or teaching), fellowships, grants, scholarships, and loans. First and foremost, plan to complete a FAFSA to be considered for Federal Financial Aid at your prospective school. In addition to completing the FAFSA, it is advisable to research all funding sources available at your prospective school either by visiting the department of your prospective program and/or the financial aid office. Often times, there may be additional deadlines and/or applications for certain types of aid. 

In addition to the internal funding sources at your prospective schools, there are numerous external funding sources. The Office of National Fellowships at UNH provides information, counseling, and editorial support to highly motivated students applying for competitive national and international fellowships.

List of Funding Opportunities

Here is a partial listing of web sites that will also help you target and attain the financial aid as you pursue a graduate education. Finding the right funding for graduate school takes a lot of research - we can help, but it's up to you to follow up on applications and information.

Federal Student Financial Aid




Field Specific





UNH Office of National Fellowships: Established in 2005, the Office of National Fellowships provides information, counsel, and editorial support to high achieving students applying for national and international fellowships and scholarships. The services of the Fellowships Office are available to undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni of the University.  The Office also assists faculty members who serve as mentors/references, and coordinates campus interviews and nominations.  The Office has worked with numerous successful students, including multiple Fulbright Scholarship recipients, Udall Scholars, Truman Scholars, and Barry Goldwater scholarship winners.


Prestigious Awards


  • Graduate Admissions Essays, 4th Ed., Donald Asher
  • The Best Scholarships for the Best Students by Asher, Morris, and Fazio-Veigel
  • The Scholarship Book by Dan Cassidy
  • Grants for Graduate and Post-Doctoral Study by Peterson’s
  • Getting what you came for (paying for graduate school by assistantships and fellowships) by Robert L. Peters