The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) is a two-year program at UC Riverside that provides financial support, research mentorship and assistance with graduate school applications.
Fellows design and complete an independent research project to explore a topic or question of interest. Fellows meet each week during the quarter in a credit-bearing course that helps support their research projects.
Faculty mentors meet 1:1 with fellows to answer questions and help guide their research.
Small cohorts of 10 students each year allow fellows to build a strong and supportive network.
Graduate School Preparation
Fellows learn how to research graduate programs, draft applications and prepare for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Fellowship support includes academic year and summer stipends, as well as funding for research and travel. Students who complete the program and attend an approved graduate program can receive up to $10,000 in student loan repayment.
Each fall, Mellon Mays fellows from across the western region gather to share research presentations. Fellows also present at the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium each spring.
Applications (Year 0)
Students apply in their second (sophomore) year. Third year students (juniors) are also invited to apply if they intend to be enrolled at UCR for a fourth and fifth year to complete the program sequence below.
MMUF program application opens
Incoming fellows apply for summer research programs
Fellows meet mentors and the MMUF cohort and prepare summer research plans.
Developing the Research Plan (Year 1)
The first four quarters in the program help lay the groundwork for the fellows’ independent research project. During the year, MMUF fellows pursue their research projects and meet with their faculty mentors twice a month at a minimum as a means of monitoring and facilitating their progress. Each week during the year, the fellows meet for seminar. Students develop writing skills, begin thinking about graduate school and meet UCR faculty members, graduate students and visitors who will talk about their trajectories and lives as academics, their reasons for pursuing the research in which they are engaged, their teaching experiences and the goals they have for their research, teaching, service, and outreach. Fellows have two opportunities to present their research in public forums. By the end of the first year, fellows will be ready to draft their research paper.
During their first summer in the program, fellows participate in a summer research program that introduces them to the basics of research inquiry. Students read books and articles in their research subject area to gain an understanding of the ways other scholars think and write about the topic. The fellows begin to refine their research questions and how they might go about answering them.
Summer Goals: Read deeply in the subject area. Develop a research question. Begin thinking about research methods.
At the beginning of fall quarter, fellows attend an orientation workshop to jumpstart their project for the year and get to know each other better. In addition to defining methods and drafting a literature review, students draft and submit IRB proposals (if needed) and present a posted of their research topic at the annual MMUF conference. In cohort, fellows discuss what graduate school is like and how think through the steps of a graduate school education.
Fall Goals: Determine research methods and draft literature review. Present at the MMUF conference. Become more familiar with graduate studies.
During winter quarter, fellows continue reading and begin conducting interviews and other elements of their research. They begin to conceptualize the scope of their final paper by drafting a detailed project outline, a quarter-by-quarter workplan, and a bibliography. Students apply to present at the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium in spring quarter. Fellows begin looking into graduate studies programs to identify where they might want to apply.
Winter goals: Draft a detailed outline, workplan and bibliography for the research project. Conduct research. Apply to the UCR research symposium. Start looking into graduate schools.
In spring quarter, fellows present at the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium. They also complete the research portion of their project and begin to refine an outline of their final paper, to be written over the summer break. In preparation for the work to be conducted over summer, they update their summer plan to include benchmark dates for completing sections of their papers and plan how they will study for the GRE. In seminar, fellows review examples of graduate school application documents and begin writing a personal statement. In May, all fellows meet to welcome the new cohort and celebrate the graduating seniors.
Spring goals: Present at the UCR research symposium. Complete research and outline final paper. Set up detailed summer writing and GRE study plans. Draft a personal statement for graduate school.
Completing the Project and Applying to Graduate School (Year 2)
In their second year of the MMUF program, fellows complete their independent research project. During the year, MMUF fellows continue to meet with their faculty mentors twice a month and to meet weekly for seminar. Students study for and take the GRE and apply to at least four graduate programs by December of their second year. Fellows have two opportunities to present their research in public forums over the course of the year. By the time they complete the program, fellows have revised and submitted their paper for publication.
Over an eight week period of the second summer, fellows complete a rough draft of their final paper. In addition, they conduct an intensive course of study for the GRE test, alone and together with other fellows. The GRE tests are scheduled for mid-September through early October.
Summer Goals: Complete a full rough draft of paper. Schedule a GRE test and study for the exam.
At the beginning of fall quarter, fellows attend an orientation workshop to think through graduate school applications and get to know each other better. Students identify at least four graduate programs and compile applications to submit at the end of the quarter. They present their research at the MMUF annual conference and begin revisions of their project papers.
Fall Goals: Prepare and submit applications to four graduate programs. Present at the MMUF conference. Start final revisions of the research paper.
In the winter quarter, fellows finish their paper and complete the bibliography. They also apply to present at the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Winter goal: Complete paper. Present at the UCR research symposium.
In their final quarter in the program, fellows revise their paper and submit it for publication in the MMUF Journal. In May, all fellows meet to welcome the new cohort and celebrate the graduating seniors.
Spring goal: Submit paper for publication in the MMUF Journal. Graduate!