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Undergraduate Advising and Research
Parker House, HB 6201
Hanover, NH
Phone:  603.646.3690
Fax:  603.646.8190

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships

Application Deadline: February 15

The fundamental objective of MMUF is to address, over time, the problem of underrepresentation in the academy at the level of college and university faculties. This goal can be achieved both by increasing the number of students from underrepresented minority groups (URM) who pursue PhDs and by supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students who may not come from traditional minority groups but have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF. The MMUF program is designed to encourage fellows to enter PhD programs that prepare students for professorial careers; it is not intended to support students who intend to go on to medical school, law school or other professional schools.. Dartmouth extends its commitment to the MMUF objectives by sponsoring an Associate Fellows program, governed by the same goals and criteria.


  • Sophomore standing (exceptions by request)
  • Major in one of the Mellon-Designated Fields of Study
  • Commitment to the goals of the fellowship
  • U.S. student (citizen, permanent resident, or undocumented)

Learn More:

Application FAQs:

Still have questions?  Contact Professor Michelle Warren


Why is it called "Mellon Mays"?

MMUF seeks to extend the legacy of Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays (1895-1984), a distinguished scholar, educator, and social activist who overcame poverty and racism to earn a BA from Bates College and a Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Chicago.  Dr. Mays published several incisive sociological studies of African-American religion and an inspiring autobiography, Born to Rebel. As President of Morehouse College, he mentored many young people who devoted their lives to social justice, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. Mays pursued knowledge relentlessly while dedicating himself to the eradication of racial disparities in all walks of life.

Dr. May's career exemplifies the Mellon Foundation's goals for this fellowship program:  innovative research, committed mentoring, leadership in higher education, and engagement with community.

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Who should apply?

Sophomores, who are:

  1. U.S. student (citizen, permanent resident, or undocumented)
  2. majoring in a Mellon designated field,
  3. committed to the goals of MMUF

Transfer students and Juniors with eligibility questions should contact the Faculty Coordinator

You should be genuinely interested in research, and genuinely open to the idea of an academic career (even if you are not entirely certain of your long term goals). You should also have a demonstrated commitment to increasing educational opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

The selection committee is looking for students with academic ability, intellectual motivation, and a potential interest in pursuing an academic career.  Faculty will be looking for proposals with clarity, focus, and - most difficult to define - an exciting topic.  Ideally the project will lead to a senior thesis.

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Can I apply with any major?

MMUF encompasses a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, but does have some field restrictions. The following Dartmouth majors are eligible:

Humanities: Art History, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French, Film and Media Studies (theoretical focus only), German Studies, Italian, Music, Philosophy, Portuguese, Religion, Russian, Spanish, Theater (theoretical focus only)

Social Sciences: Anthropology, Geography, Government (political theory only), History, Sociology

Interdisciplinary: African and African-American Studies; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Jewish Studies; Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies; Linguistics; Native American Studies; Quantitative Social Science; Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

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How much time is involved?

It varies. Five hours / week is a good target. Selected students should plan to adjust their other extra-curricular commitments in order to meet the expectations of the fellowship.

Programming begins with weekly meetings during Sophomore Summer. Throughout the year, fellows meet weekly or biweekly in various formats. The most substantial time commitment takes place between these meetings: getting to know faculty; following up on suggestions from your professors; preparing for research; writing proposals for grants and fellowships; familiarizing yourself with academic resources and opportunities. Fellows are also expected to devote their off-terms to research or to other projects directly relevant to their academic goals 

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What questions are on the application?

You will be asked to write 3-5 paragraphs in response to each of the following questions:

1) Why do you want to participate in this program? Reflect on the experiences of Dr. Benjamin Mays  and the goals of the fellowship named after him: how do your own life choices, values, or goals relate to the life of Dr. Mays? Tell us about personal and academic achievements, along with extracurricular involvements, that demonstrate your commitment to the MMUF mission.

2) Describe your academic interests, the Dartmouth courses that have been most influential in shaping them, and your motivation to teach at the college/university level. What steps have you already taken to develop your skills as a teacher and researcher?

3) If you were to work on a research project of your own choosing over the next two years, what topic would you choose and why? Describe the project in concrete terms, explain why it’s import to you, and suggest how you might get started on your research. What do you already know and what do you hope to find out? Ideally, this project will lead to a senior thesis

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What are the selection criteria?

The following criteria are weighed in selecting fellows: (1) academic promise; (2) interest in pursuing an academ­ic career (3) major in Mellon-designated area of study (4) potential for serving as a mentor and teacher for a wide variety of students; (5) race and ethnicity (in relation to underrepresentation in designated fields of study); (6) demonstrated commitment to the goals of MMUF: to reduce the serious underrepresentation on faculties of individuals from minority groups, as well as to address the consequences of these racial disparities for the educational system itself and for the larger society that it serves. Examples of such commitment might include serious undergraduate research into racial disparities in higher education; a strong record of tutoring students from underrepresented groups; sustained mentoring of children from such groups; or other forms of community service or leadership activities in campus or off-campus organizations (7) availability for, and commitment to, full and enthusiastic participation in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences and meetings; (8) citizenship status.

All students are welcome to apply for MMUF, though applications are particularly encouraged from African-Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Native Americans, and other under­represented minorities (URM).

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How are fellows selected?

By a faculty committee. The committee looks for students with academic ability, intellectual motivation, potential interest in pursuing an academic career, and an understanding of racial disparities in higher education. On the basis of the written application, the committee chooses semi-finalists for in-person interviews. Interviews take place in late Winter or early Spring. Notifications are sent in mid to late Spring. Typically 6-8 applicants are selected, as either Fellows or Associate Fellows.

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What happens once I’m in graduate school?

Alumni enrolled in doctoral programs have access to a variety of sources for research and mentoring support, including grants, conferences, writing workshops, dissertation fellowships, and professional development seminars.  Fellows are encouraged throughout their trajectory to serve as mentors to their peers, students, and future colleagues.

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How do I start my application?

Explore Mellon Mays on Canvas especially the Apply Page and follow the instructions that you find there!

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Last Updated: 9/7/16