Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program


MMUF At Cal State Fullerton

Each year, four new MMUF fellows are selected from among applicants in the rising junior class. These newly selected fellows join the previously selected cohorts of rising and graduating senior fellows, and they are provided with mentoring and financial support as they prepare for entry into PhD programs and eventual careers as scholars and faculty members.


Application and EligibilityOpens in new window


Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022, 5:00 p.m.



Toward a More Inclusive Academy: MMUF at 30


About the program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’sOpens in new window initiatives to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. Established in 1988 by William G. Bowen, then the president of the Foundation, and Mellon program associate Henry Drewry, the MMUF program began with an initial cohort of eight member institutions.

Since then, the program has grown to include 48 member schools and three consortia, including three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities within the membership of the UNCF. As of 2019, over 5000 students have been selected as fellows, more than 800 of whom have earned the PhD and over 120 of whom are now tenured faculty members. The great majority of those who have completed the PhD hold or have held an appointment in the academy.

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What the Program Provides


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.

Support Networks

MMUF fellows are chosen in cohorts of four students per academic year. 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.

Meetings and Workshops

The MMUF campus program will hold weekly meetings lead by campus 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

To help facilitate their research efforts, fellows receive stipends of $3,600 during each of their two academic years in the program. In addition, fellows receive stipends of $3,900 during their rising junior and rising senior summers so that they may have more time to focus on their academic work and research. Fellows receive no-cost GRE preparation, and some financial support is available for expenses related to graduate applications.

PhD Program Loan Repayment

Fellows who pursue fulltime graduate study for 4 years and complete their doctorate would qualify for a maximum of $10,000 in loan repayment.

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; Cal State Fullerton is part of the West Coast conference which also includes:

  • 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

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.