In order to be eligible for MMUF, students must first be enrolled at one of the MMUF member institutions. The fellowship is not awarded directly to individual students; instead, the Mellon Foundation awards grants to the program’s member institutions, which then select fellows and administer the program on each campus.
Students must formally apply to their campus MMUF program to be considered for selection as fellows. The application process varies from campus to campus, but generally includes a written statement of purpose, one or more recommendations from faculty members, an academic transcript, an interview with the selection committee, and other requirements according to each institution’s procedures.
Fellows are generally chosen in the spring of their sophomore year after their majors have been declared, though there is some variation from institution for institution. In a few cases, fellows have been selected as juniors or seniors.
The following criteria are weighed in selecting participants for MMUF:
- Academic promise (some schools have a minimum GPA cutoff, others do not);
- Interest in pursuing an academic career in an eligible field (a list of the eligible fields can be viewed here);
- Potential for serving as a mentor and teacher for a wide variety of students;
- Race and ethnicity, in relation to their underrepresentation in designated fields of study;
- Demonstrated commitment to the goals of MMUF: to reduce the serious underrepresentation on faculties of individuals from minority groups, as well as to address the consequences of these racial disparities for the educational system itself and for the larger society that it serves. Examples of such commitment might include serious undergraduate research into racial disparities in higher education; a strong record of tutoring students from underrepresented groups; sustained mentoring of children from such groups; or other forms of community service or leadership activities in campus or off-campus organizations.
- Availability for, and commitment to, full and enthusiastic participation in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences and meetings;
- Status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (except for students at the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa).
All students are welcome to apply for MMUF, though applications are particularly encouraged from African-Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Native Americans, and other underrepresented minorities (URM).