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Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship: More members of historically oppressed racial and ethnic groups, as well as those who have demonstrated a dedication to eradicating racial inequities, are encouraged to pursue a Ph.D. in significant fields through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF).

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a scholar, former president of Morehouse College, educator, cleric, and social activist, is honored by having the course bear his name.

The son of former slaves and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Mays created a unique mentoring strategy that linked academic excellence with a commitment to social justice.

About Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is at the forefront of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s efforts to increase diversity in the teaching ranks of institutions of higher learning

The 48-member schools and consortiums of the program also include three South African institutions and a collection of historically black colleges and universities that are members of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

By 2021, more than 190 of the more than 6,000 fellows who were selected would be tenure-track faculty members, and more than 1000 would have earned doctoral degrees. Most Ph.D. holders had or now have a position in the academy.


Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for MMUF, students must first be enrolled in a university that is a member of the MMUF. No specific students get fellowships from Mellon directly; instead, member institutions receive funding that is utilized to choose fellows and oversee the program on individual campuses

Every school has its unique application process, but generally speaking, it consists of a written statement of purpose, one or more professor recommendations, an academic transcript, an interview with the selection committee, and other requirements.

Although there may be some changes depending on the institution, fellows are normally selected in the spring of their sophomore year after declaring their majors. Juniors or seniors have on occasion been selected as fellows.

Who Gets Selected for Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship?

The following considerations are examined when selecting MMUF fellows: 

1. Academic potential (some universities require a minimum GPA, while others don’t); 

2. A desire to work in academics in a profession that qualifies; the ability to mentor and teach a variety of young people; 

3. Shown commitment to MMUF’s goals, which include addressing the detrimental consequences of racial injustices on the educational system and the larger society it serves as well as lowering the significant underrepresentation of people from minority groups on faculties. 

4. A serious undergraduate investigation into racial disparities in higher education, a track record of tutoring students from underrepresented groups, and ongoing mentoring of children from such groups.

Also, other forms of community service or leadership in on- or off-campus organizations are additional ways to demonstrate this commitment. 

5. A readiness and capacity to actively engage in all MMUF program activities, including conferences and meetings.

6. Status as a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.

7. While all applicants to MMUF are welcome, underrepresented minorities (URM) like African Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Native Americans, and others are strongly encouraged to do so.

How to Apply?

A 500-word essay describing the applicant’s interest in one of the MMUF-approved fields, future professional objectives, and interests in becoming a professor.

How the MMUF Program would support their academic and personal goals, and what they hope to achieve in the program. This essay can be submitted by selecting “Apply Now” from the list of options below.

One recommendation letter from a college or university professor who can attest to your academic prowess. 


Courses Offered

To be eligible for selection as an MMUF fellow, students must intend to pursue one or more of the following academic fields:

  • Anthropology and Archaeology
  • Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies
  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Geography and Population Studies
  • English
  • Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus)
  • Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Music Theory
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
  • Philosophy and Political Theory
  • Religion and Theology
  • Sociology
  • Theater (theoretical focus)

It should be noted that even if they contain one or more qualifying fields, graduate-level multidisciplinary education programs are not covered by the MMUF graduate benefits.

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