Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

MMUF student and professor

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. The program includes 48 member schools and consortia, including three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and univesities within the membership of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

As of 2017, over 5000 students have been selected as fellows, more than 700 of whom have earned the PhD and over 100 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.

Cal State LA is proud to be one of five CSU campuses—including CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, and CSU San Bernardino—that houses the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

MMUF at Cal State LA

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

Program Description

During the academic year students will attend bi-weekly meetings that would support various aspects of the Fellows’ personal and professional development and would expand upon topics introduced during the CSU MMUF Consortium Summer Experience and Cal State LA Humanities Summer Scholars Program, including “applying to graduate school,” “effective public speaking,” “examining the grad school application process.” Bi-weekly meetings would also address research project process.

During the summer, students will participate in two four weeks programs (for a total of 8 weeks).  The first four weeks will be CSU MMUF Consortium Summer Experience held at one of the CSU consortium campuses. The second four weeks, students will attend the Cal State LA Humanities Summer Scholars Program and develop their research projects with the support of a faculty mentor. 

Eligibility Criteria

Cal State LA MMUF applicants should have a

  1. Minimum 3.2 GPA at the time of application, be on track to complete 48-60 semester units by the end of their second (sophomore) year/fourth semester.
  2. Sophomore or Junior standing

Selection Criteria

Applicants would be selected for Cal State LA’s MMUF Program based on the following criteria:

  • Academic promise (e.g., GPA, recommendation letters, essay);
  • Potential for a faculty career in academia in core Mellon fields of study, particularly in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences;
  • Contribution to diversity in their designated fields of study;
  • Demonstrated commitment to understanding the barriers faced by underrepresented minorities, breaking down stereotypes, and increasing understanding across racial and ethnic groups;
  • Willingness to consider graduate school in MMUF-approved humanities-based disciplines;
  • Commitment to participating fully and enthusiastically in all aspects of the MMUF Program, including attendance at conferences, meetings, and activities; and
  • Status as a US citizen, permanent resident, as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or undocumented status.

Application Process

  1. A 500-word personal essay describing interest in one of the MMUF-approved disciplines, potential
    career goals/interests in the professoriate, how the MMUF Program would be integral to their life
    history and academic goals, and what they hope to achieve in the program;

  2. . A 300-word essay describing their research interests or topics that they would like to develop in the

  3. Unofficial transcripts showing at least two introductory courses in the humanities and social sciences
    and declaration of an approved MMUF discipline as a major;

  4. One letter of recommendation from a college or university faculty member who can document
    academic potential.

All students are welcome to apply to the MMUF Program; applications are particularly encouraged from African Americans, Chicana/os, /Latina/os, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and members of other underrepresented groups in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Completed applications, including personal essay, unofficial transcripts, and 1 letter of recommendation must
be emailed to no later than 6 p.m. on March 17, 2019.

Download Application

Due Date: March 8, 2020 

Program Benefits

  • $3600 term stipends for each year in the program (2 years)
  • $3900 summer stipends to conduct research with a faculty mentor (2 years)
  • $600 travel stipends for travel-related expenses (2 years)
  • $400 research stipend for research-related expenses (1 year)
  • GRE preparation
  • Up to $10,000 repayment in undergraduate/graduate student loans, once entered into a Ph.D. program
  • Guest lectures and social/cultural activities throughout the year
  • Ongoing professional advising and moral support MMUF fellows benefit most from continuing their studies with other students moving toward similar goals, including MMUF fellows at other institutions, creating a local, regional, and national cohort and support system.

MMUF fellows benefit most from continuing their studies with other students moving toward similar goals, including MMUF fellows at other institutions, creating a local, regional, and national cohort and support system.


MMUF at Cal State LA Faculty Coordinator:

Enrique C. Ochoa, Ph.D.
Professor of Latin American Studies and History