Undergraduate Research

Print this page

Program Information

 

 

Selection & Eligibility

Fellowships are awarded to USC sophomores and juniors during the spring semester. Participation in the program is limited to students considering graduate study towards a Ph.D. in Mellon-supported fields. 

Participation is not limited by a student’s undergraduate field of concentration.

**The program is not intended for students interested in attending business school, law school, or medical school.**

The following factors are considered in the selection of fellows:

  1. Sophomore standing (juniors are welcome to apply), pursuing a major or minor in a Mellon-approved field of study (see a complete list of Mellon-approved majors and minors below). 

  2. Academic promise

  3. Interest in pursuing an academic career in a Mellon-designated field of study 

  4. Potential for serving as a mentor and teacher to a wide variety of students. 

  5. Demonstrated commitment to increasing opportunities for underrepresented populations, breaking down stereotypes, increasing cross-racial and ethnic understanding, and enabling others to better understand persons of different races and ethnicities. 

  6. Commitment to participating fully and enthusiastically in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences and meetings.

  7. Status as US citizen or permanent resident.

 



If you have any questions regarding your field of study and eligibility for the MMUF program, please contact either Dr. Sanchez (georges@usc.edu) or Dr. Zuckerman (bzuckerm@usc.edu). 

Majors:

  • American Studies & Ethnicity

  • African American Studies

  • Anthropology

  • Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies

  • Archaeology

  • Art History

  • American and English Literature

  • Asian American Studies

  • Astronomy

  • Atmospheric Science

  • Chicano/Latino Studies

  • Classics

  • Comparative Literature

  • Computer Science

  • Chinese

  • Demography

  • Earth Sciences

  • East Asian Area Studies

  • East Asian Languages and Cultures

  • Ecology

  • Earth Sciences

  • English

  • Environmental Studies 

  • Film, Cinema, and Media Studies 

    (theoretical focus)

  • Foreign Languages and Literature

  • French

  • Gender Studies

  • Geological Sciences

  • Geography

  • German

  • History

  • Interdisciplinary Studies (need to have one or more Mellon fields at their core)

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Judaic Studies

  • Korean

  • Linguistics

  • Literature

  • Mathematics

  • Marine Science

  • Musicology & Ethnomusicology

  • Music Performance Studies 

    (theoretical focus)

  • Oceanographic Science

  • Performance Studies (theoretical focus)

  • Philosophy

  • Physics

  • Physics/Computer Science

  • Planetary Science

  • Political Theory 

  • Population Studies

  • Religion and Theology

  • Russian

  • Sociology

  • Spanish

  • Theater (non-performance focus)

Minors:

  • Ancient Religion and Classical Languages

  • African American Studies

  • American Studies and Ethnicity

  • Anthropology

  • Arabic and Middle East Studies

  • Area/Cultural/Ethnic Studies

  • Art History

  • Astronomy

  • Chicano/Latino Studies

  • Classics

  • Coastal Ocean and Watershed Science

  • Comparative Literature

  • Computer Science

  • Cultural Anthropology

  • Cultural Studies

  • East Asian Area Studies

  • East Asian Languages and Cultures

  • English

  • Environmental Studies

  • Ethics and Moral Philosophy

  • Film, Cinema, and Media Studies 

    (theoretical focus)

  • Foreign Languages

  • Folklore and Popular Culture

  • Forensics and Criminality

  • French

  • Gender Studies

  • Geography

  • Geographic Information Science and Technology

  • German

  • History

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Jewish American Studies

  • Judaic Studies

  • Korean

  • Latin American Studies

  • Linguistics

  • Mathematics

  • Middle East Studies

  • Philosophy

  • Physics

  • Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

  • Religion

  • Russian

  • Russian Area Studies

  • Sociology

  • Southeast Asia and its People

  • Spanish

  • Theater (non-performance focus)

 



 

  • Financial Assistance

    Research Stipends

    Fellows receive a stipend of $1600 for the fall and spring semesters to support their research efforts. Additionally, during the summer months, each fellow receives a $3,600 stipend.

    Loan Repayment

    The Mellon Mays Fellowship offers a loan forgiveness program to help students overcome disincentives to pursue an academic career caused by undergraduate loan indebtedness. Fellows who enroll in a Mellon approved Ph.D. program within 39 months of receiving their undergraduate degrees are eligible for up to $10,000 in undergraduate loan payments. The program repays guaranteed student loans in installments. The first $5,000 is disbursed in yearly increments of up to $1,250 for four years. The second $5,000 is paid upon receipt of the Ph.D., provided the degree is completed within six years. 

    Information regarding loan repayment is available at MMUF Loan Repayment. 

     

     



     

  • Undergraduate Program

    Annual Western Regional Conference 

    The USC, Stanford University, Heritage University, Whittier College, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, and Cal Tech Mellon programs collaborate to host an annual regional conference. The conference provides an opportunity for fellows to meet each other, discuss research ideas, and motivate each other to succeed in their academic and personal lives. It is typically held near the end of the fall semester (early to mid November or early December), at one of the seven campuses.

    Workshops, Meetings, and Other Activities may include:

    • Mellon Fellows Mandatory Monthly Meetings 
    • Research Course for fellows
    • Graduate School Workshops on various topics
    • Attendance at national conferences with mentors

    Mentor-Fellow Interaction

    Fellows work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research projects. The interaction that occurs between mentors and fellows typically includes:

    • development of a plan for working together and a timeline for completion of the project
    • regular communication (meetings, emails, phone calls, reviews of report drafts, etc.)
    • exchange of articles or suggested readings about research or topics of interest

    Research

    Fellows are expected to present their research through scholarly articles, oral reports, workshops, conferences, multimedia displays, and at USC 's annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work

    Senior fellows also have the opportunity to publish their research in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal.  

     



     

  • Graduate Program

    Predoctoral Grants

    The Pre-doctoral Research Grant, administered by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), is available to graduate students during the earlier stages of their program.  The grant is dispersed in five progress related installments, totaling $5,000. It may be used to cover research related expenses such as books, data collection, computer usage and hardware, travel associated with research, printing, and reproduction costs.

    For more information, please visit the SSRC Pre-doctoral Research Grant page at http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/?predissertation or the SSRC main page at www.ssrc.org.

    Annual Graduate Student Summer Conference

    The SSRC-Mellon Summer Conference provides:

    • a venue for interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration
    • assistance in the transition from undergraduate to graduate school
    • opportunities for graduate students to come together from disparate campuses to develop ideas and networking
    • a forum for MMUF students to share their scholarship
    • an opportunity for participants to address critical issues in higher education

    For more information, please visit the SSRC Conferences and Workshops at http://www.ssrc.org/programs/mellon/ or the SSRC main page at www.ssrc.org

    Travel, Research, and Dissertation Grants

    Graduate students who have completed all coursework and passed their qualifying exams are eligible to apply for Travel & Research Grants, administered through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF). Travel and Research Grants provide graduate students with financial support to complete research at the dissertation writing stage.  Funding is for one summer or one semester of travel and/or research support.  These competitive grants carry a maximum of $5,000 per student.

    Dissertation grants provide graduate students, ready to complete the PhD, with up to $20,000 for one year to finish the dissertation.  Awards are competitive. 

    For more information, please visit:

    Other Opportunities

    There are many opportunities for graduate student participants outside of USC. Please visit our Support Programs page for more information.

     



     

     

  • Postdoctoral Program

    Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowships

    The Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF).  Its purpose is to support the research and promotion of former MMUF Fellows during their third year of a tenure track position. This competitive award includes a $30,000 stipend, a $1,500 research, travel or publication stipend, and an annual retreat.

    For more information, please see the MMUF site.

    United Negro College Fund (UNCF)/Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Program

    Funds are available to ABD faculty members teaching at UNCF member institutions.  The funds may be used to complete research for the PhD or to participate in summer workshops and/or seminars that will enhance their academic careers.  Applications must be submitted to the UNCF/Mellon Director.

    For more information about this program, please visit the UNCF site.

    Other Opportunities

    There are many opportunities for Postdoctoral program participants outside of USC.  Please visit our Support Programs page for more information.

     

     

Apply Now

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Cohort.

 

The program has given me the generous financial support necessary to conduct a thorough, insightful research project. They have given me the opportunity to work with a renowned Andean archaeologist, Ran Boytner. They flew me out to the MMUF Regional Conference at Stanford where I was able to meet other fellows, discuss my research with archaeological specialists, and learn how to prepare effectively for graduate school. Overall, the benefits have been outstanding and I am very thankful for being a part of this program.

Jacob Bongers
Interdisciplinary Archaeology
2009-2010 MMUF Fellow

This fellowship has instilled in me the importance of conducting research that is both personal and timely, as well as the urgency behind mentoring the next generation of scholars interested in disentangling the lives of working class communities of color. My belief in the power of substantive and enduring mentorship is in large part informed by this fellowship’s tireless efforts at every stage of my undergraduate and graduate education.

Abigail Rosas
Ph.D. Graduate
Department of American Studies and Ethnicity

Participation in MMUF has ultimately been life-altering. Education is the single most galvanizing element in my life and it is in large part because of MMUF that this is true. I found a larger community to attach myself to--one that had similar goals and ambitions but also understood the many challenges that I would face as a woman and person of color.

Shana L. Redmond, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of American Studies & Ethnicity