MMUF Application

Online applications are accepted beginning in October through the deadline in mid-January. Applicants move through the three stages of the process (outlined below) based on their eligibility, academic achievement, faculty endorsements, and interview. Successful finalists are admitted to the program in April and formally join the cohort in May. Transfer students are awarded conditional fellowships, pending acceptance to UCR and completion of the UCR Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). New fellows then attend a summer research program designed to help prepare them to begin research in the fall quarter.

Find more information about each step by clicking on the + links below.

Pay close attention to the instructions and deadlines for each step.

The Mellon Mays fellowship application process is organized into three stages.

Stage 1 is an online application that collects basic information and helps the committee determine your eligibility for the program. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be invited to move to Stage 2.

In Stage 2, you submit supporting documentation and ask faculty for letters of recommendation. After review of the applications, supporting documentation, and letters of reference, the committee compiles a short list of finalists to invite for interviews.

In Stage 3, finalists are invited to meet with the committee to talk about the program, research interests, and future goals. The committee then selects up to five finalists for admission to the program.

APPLY NOW! (Click on this link to access the application)

Notes on completing the application:

  • Please provide an email that you can access easily. Email will be the primary method of communication with our program.
  • You will be prompted to submit your contact information, GPA, major, number of units completed, and other basic information. After you complete the application, click SUBMIT. You will receive an email confirming your submission. (If you do not receive the confirmation email within a few hours, contact us.)

Note: Stage 1 applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and applicants are informed as soon as their eligibility has been confirmed. We strongly encourage early submissions of the Stage 1 application so that you have sufficient time to complete Stage 2.

Students majoring in one of the Mellon-designated fields below may apply to the program. A second major and/or minor in other fields is allowed, but applicants must intend to pursue graduate studies in a Mellon-approved field. If you have questions about your major or your eligibility for the program, contact us.

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

After your eligibility has been confirmed via the Stage 1 application, you will be asked to submit the following documents by 11:59 PM, February 7, 2022:

  • Two Letters of Recommendation: Recommenders should send letters to  It is your responsibility to follow up with your letter writers to ensure that they submit by the deadline. (For advice on soliciting letters, please see the next section below.)
  • Personal Statement:  Up to 1000 words in response to the prompt provided in the invitation email.
  • Research Statement: A short description (up to 500 words) of a research topic that you think you might want to explore in the program
  • Writing Sample: A copy of a paper that you submitted for a class here at UCR (Transfer students may submit a paper from a community college class.)
  • Transcripts: A copy of your unofficial college transcript(s). The transcript should contain your current GPA and course list/grades for all classes so far. UCR students can request a free copy as an e-transcript under “Transcripts and Verifications” in student’s R’Web account.

The best advice on requesting letters of recommendation is: Don’t wait!  Faculty and mentors write stronger letters of recommendation for students they know well and who ask them early (ideally 4 weeks in advance).  This means that you should ask your potential letter writers early, meet with them during their office hours, and provide them with information about our program and your interest in it.  You should also provide them with information about yourself.  This includes, but is not limited to, your academic interests, resume, and extracurricular activities.  Finally, it is a good idea to show your letter writers drafts of your application documents (personal essay, research statement, writing sample).  They will get a better sense of how you are presenting yourself, and they will be able to provide you valuable feedback on your application documents.

Faculty letters are preferred, but advisors, mentors, and graduate student TAs may also write letters on your behalf.

Feel free to contact us for advice on requesting letters.

Over their first summer in MMUF, fellows are required to attend a summer research program. Newly accepted fellows apply to special MMUF programs at UCLA and the University of Chicago. You will receive information on these additional applications if you join the program.

All applicants are encouraged to apply to other, non-MMUF summer programs, regardless of admission to our program. Most summer programs cover expenses and provide stipends for participation. Due dates vary, but most program deadlines are in early February. The applications are very similar to the application you submitted for our program. Most require a personal statement, a short statement of research, and letters of recommendation.

Why summer research?

New Fellows are required to attend a research program during their first summer in Mellon Mays. Once accepted to the program, new fellows apply to UCLA and the University of Chicago’s MMUF summer program, unless they have applied to and been accepted at and alternative summer research program.

We ask students to attend summer research programs for two reasons. First, though programs vary from school to school, all provide students with research training, advice about graduate school and valuable experience with faculty and undergraduates at other colleges and universities. Second, travel broadens the mind! Summer programs are a unique opportunity to visit new places and meet new people.

The MMUF summer stipend helps pay for summer program and travel expenses. All applicants are welcome to apply to the summer research programs below. If you are not offered a spot in our program, you may still be accepted into a summer program that will greatly benefit you as a scholar. Since may of the applications are similar with similar deadlines, you may wish to apply for several to increase your odds of selection.

► Download Summer Research Program List

Though we make every effort to ensure accuracy, the deadlines and descriptions on our list may be out-of-date. Check program websites for the most accurate information.

After careful review of all supporting documentation and letters of recommendation, the committee selects a short list of students to interview in the final stage of the application process. The interview gives finalists the opportunity to ask questions about the program and allows the committee an opportunity to learn more about the applicant’s future plans and interests. Of those interviewed, the committee offers admittance to no more than five students per year.


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