Welcome, Anonymous

Program at a Glance

The MMUF program is coordinated on each of its member campuses by faculty members and academic administrators who select their institution's undergraduate fellows, typically in the sophomore year. Fellows have demonstrated academic ability and an aspiration to pursue a doctoral degree in selected humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. The fellowship provides fellows with many forms of support, including regular, structured programming; faculty mentoring; term-time stipends for research activities; support for summer research; and repayment of undergraduate loans up to $10,000 (provided that fellows pursue doctoral study in eligible fields).

Although program structures vary from institution to institution, they follow a common set of general guidelines. It is required that fellows meet together regularly with scheduled forums, colloquia, and social opportunities for students and mentors to interact. These events incorporate activities that help fellows to understand the culture and environment of academia and provide them with opportunities to develop their intellectual and social skills. Cohort development, in the form of occasions for students to share their aspirations and scholarship with one another and with wider academic communities, is a key factor in MMUF's success. The Foundation strongly encourages participation in MMUF's regional conferences for undergraduate fellows and institutional reunions for MMUF alumni as ways to keep fellows connected, motivated, and on track. The program's success is a synergy of commitment and effort among students, faculty, mentors, and coordinators working together to change and diversify teaching and scholarship in higher education.

MMUF builds its campus programs around the interrelated ideas of scholarly research, faculty mentoring, the cohort effect, and community support networks.

The MMUF program also includes post-collegiate programming that complements and sustains the undergraduate initiative, and supports fellows as they enter and complete graduate school. Through grants to the Social Science Research Council and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, two nonprofit organizations with proven track records in training graduate students and academics, the Mellon Foundation provides PhD-bound MMUF fellows with a targeted array of graduate initiatives, including conferences, writing seminars and grants designed to support fellows at critical junctures in graduate school. MMUF's support continues into fellows' postdoctoral careers with two events designed for MMUF PhDs: the SSRC's PhD Retreat and Woodrow Wilson's Junior Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship program.

In the service of its larger mission to strengthen diversity by addressing the problem of underrepresentation on college and university faculties, MMUF builds its campus programs around the interrelated ideas of scholarly research, faculty mentoring, the cohort effect, and community support networks. To put these values into practice, the MMUF program incorporates a number of strategically chosen program elements. While no one fixed set of practices would be universally appropriate across a program whose member institutions range from Research I universities to small liberal arts colleges to historically black colleges to New York City public institutions to South African universities, the below components are common to all MMUF campus programs.

MMUF's Core Values

The MMUF program is, first and foremost, a research program. Research lies at the heart of a professional academic’s work, and research experience and production are essential at each stage of the career of a professor-in-training, from the graduate school application process to the tenure process and beyond. As future academics, MMUF’s fellows require a thorough understanding of the principles and methods of academic research and a firm confidence in the practice of it; thus the MMUF program is designed to give undergraduate fellows intensive and ongoing research experience, beginning at an earlier point in their careers than is typical for most college undergraduates.

During his or her undergraduate years, each MMUF fellow is expected to conduct an individual research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor, culminating in a final thesis paper or presentation during the senior year.


The MMUF program is built on the proven notion that mentoring is of critical importance in supporting the growth of future scholars of color and others committed to the program’s mission. Each undergraduate Mellon fellow is paired with at least one faculty mentor, with whom s/he is expected to meet on a regular basis. Fellows work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research directions and projects. As mentors, faculty members have the knowledge and responsibility to demystify the formal and informal aspects of conducting research, applying to graduate school, competing effectively once in a graduate program, earning the doctorate and pursuing faculty careers. We also encourage undergraduate fellows to cultivate mentoring relationships with MMUF fellows who are advancing through graduate school and into academic careers – and we hope and expect that fellows will themselves become mentors to younger fellows as their own careers advance.

The Cohort Effect and Building Support Networks

MMUF fellows are typically chosen in cohorts of five students per campus per academic year (with the exception of the Claremont Colleges and UNCF consortia, which select 10 and 25 fellows, respectively, from across their member institutions each year), so that at any given moment there will be between ten and fifteen fellows on each member campus. The intention of this selection process is to build a sense of cohort and community among fellows who enter the program at the same time, so that fellows’ growth as scholars can be enhanced by the feedback and support of like-minded peers – a cohort effect that is mutually beneficial for all. We hope – and the program’s history has demonstrated – that the bonds fellows initially form within their undergraduate cohorts can be the basis of larger MMUF support networks that far outlast their undergraduate years.

MMUF's Core Program Components
Meetings and Workshops

All MMUF campus programs are required to hold meetings at least twice per month. Meetings are directed by campus coordinators and others designated by the coordinators, who in some cases may include fellows’ faculty mentors. Students come together to present their research, exchange ideas, and discuss various topics related to academic life and preparation for graduate school. Workshops are often conducted on topics such as taking the GRE, writing and research, public speaking, working effectively with mentors, presenting at academic conferences, applying to graduate school and obtaining graduate funding.

Fellow Stipends

Fellows receive modest stipends during the academic year so that they may have more time to focus on their academic work and research. Fellows are also awarded summer stipends after the sophomore and junior years to conduct research that may include related travel.

Undergraduate Conferences

The regional MMUF undergraduate conferences, which in most cases take place annually, bring together MMUF fellows and coordinators from member institutions in the same geographic region. The conferences allow fellows to present their own research, critique the research of other fellows, make connections in the program outside their own institutions, and gain an early sense of what the academic conference experience is like.

There are seven regional conferences in all; the member institutions that typically participate in each are listed below. In addition, some of the larger regions conduct mini-conferences which split the list of participating schools according to geographic proximity, and which alternate with the larger all-region events.


Bowdoin College

Brown University

Connecticut College

Dartmouth College

Harvard University

Smith College

Wellesley College

Wesleyan University

Williams College

Yale University


New York City

Barnard College

Brooklyn College

City College of New York

Columbia University

Hunter College

Queens College



Bryn Mawr College

Cornell University

Haverford College

Princeton University

Swarthmore College

University of Pennsylvania



Carleton College

Grinnell College

Macalester College

Northwestern University

Oberlin College

University of Chicago

Washington University in St. Louis



Duke University

Emory University

Rice University

The UNCF Consortium

University of Texas at Austin


West Coast

California Institute of Technology

Claremont Colleges Consortium

Heritage University

Stanford University

University of California at Berkeley

University of California at Los Angeles

University of California at Riverside

University of New Mexico

University of Southern California

Whittier College


South Africa

University of Cape Town

University of the Western Cape

University of the Witwatersrand

The MMUF Undergraduate Journal

Every year since 1995, the Harvard University MMUF program has published the MMUF Undergraduate Journal, a collection of scholarly articles by undergraduate Mellon fellows from all member institutions. The aim of this rigorously edited journal is not only to serve as a showcase for fellows’ research and scholarship, but to provide undergraduates with an early glimpse into the processes and expectations of scholarly publishing.

Graduate School Preparation

In a larger sense, all undergraduate MMUF program activities further the goal of preparing fellows for graduate school. More specifically, however, each campus is tasked with incorporating into its program strategic lectures, courses or activities to assist fellows with the practical aspects of applying to graduate school. These may include GRE prep courses, guidance on writing personal statements, visits to nearby graduate schools or from graduate school recruiters, and connecting fellows with external graduate school preparation programs.