Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF)


Mellon Application

Mellon Faculty Reference

Eligibility and Selection

The MMUF does not exclude applicants on the basis of race or ethnicity. The criteria for selection include:

• intellectual curiosity, creativity, and academic promise, including a strong interest in research;
• race and ethnicity, in relation to their underrepresentation in designated fields of study;
• an excellent work ethic and willingness to make a serious and sustained commitment to the MMUF program;
• the ability, preparation, and motivation to carry out the MMUF mission;
• the qualities of mind and character that make for success in a diverse environment and in graduate school;
• the potential to become an intellectual, scholarly, and societal leader and mentor;
• U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status.

Decisions on admission are made on a case-by-case basis, with reference to these criteria and others that may be pertinent. The Program does not expect applicants to be fully developed scholars; nor is it essential that they rank at the very top of their class. What counts is that they have the qualities that will enable them to withstand the rigors of the long journey toward the PhD and to become effective, dedicated teachers at the university level and productive scholars. 

Fellows are normally admitted in the spring of the sophomore year, with the maximum size of any cohort set at five. If vacancies occur, applicants may be accepted as rising seniors.

Mellon Fields

After careful research, the Mellon Foundation initially decided to focus its efforts on fields in which it judged the underrepresentation of faculty of color to be most acute. Applicants should be majoring in those disciplines. The current list of Mellon-designated fields is as follows (in alphabetical order):

Anthropology and Archaeology

Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies

Art History


Geography and Population Studies


Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus)

Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Music Theory

Foreign Languages and Literatures




Performance Studies (theoretical focus)

Philosophy and Political Theory

Religion and Theology


Theater (theoretical focus)

Interdisciplinary Studies: Interdisciplinary areas of study may be eligible if they have one or more eligible fields at their core, but must be approved by the MMUF staff at the Mellon Foundation on a case-by-case basis. Please note that interdisciplinary education graduate programs, even those that incorporate one or more eligible fields, are not eligible for MMUF graduate benefits.

Undergraduate Program Activities

• Intensive summer program

• Mentoring by at least one faculty member

• Independent research

• Regular cohort meetings

• Programming to demystify the professoriate and provide intellectual stimulation

• Attendance at scholarly conferences

• Support for graduate-school applications


Completed application must be received by March 1, 2021. 

Please e-mail the application to