The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning. To reduce underrepresentation in the academy, the MMUF program's goal is to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who pursue PhDs, and to support 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.

Learn more about how the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship supports student researchers in the words of Faculty Director Dr. Candis Smith and Director Emerita Dr. Tsitsi Jaji.

The MMUF program is designed to encourage Fellows to enter PhD programs that prepare students for professorial careers in the arts, humanities, and social sciences; it is not intended to support students who plan to go on to medical school, law school, or other professional schools.


The Mellon Mays grant provides students with four forms of support: faculty mentoring, modest term-time compensation for research activities, stipend support for summer research activities, and repayment of undergraduate and/or graduate loans of up to $10,000 if fellows pursue doctoral study in one of the specified fields.

What makes a Mellon Mays Fellow?

The Application Process

The application process is designed to ensure that the Fellow's goals are aligned with the Mellon Mays' program goals. Applications for the next cohort of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows are now available. 

Apply to be a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow!

Mellon Mays Fellows at Duke

Mellon Mays fellows support and challenge one another at Duke and beyond. Our fellows often study together, share leadership in on-campus organizations, and mentor one another. 


Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays is remembered for his outstanding leadership and service as a teacher, preacher, mentor, scholar, author and activist in the civil rights movement.

Get to know more about Dr. Benjamin E. Mays