Apply to the MMUF Program

The 2024 application deadline is Friday, February 23rd, 2024

Office Hours for prospective applicants:

Alberto Ledesma, Wednesdays 11am-12pm and by appointment, 2411 Dwinelle Hall

Maria Faini, Tuesdays 1-2pm and by appointment, 2413 Dwinelle Hall

Application Materials:

  • MMUF Application
  • Recommendation Letter Form
  • Statement of purpose (up to 3 pages): Address how you demonstrate the values of the MMUF program and Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. A biography of Dr. Mays can be found here
  • At least two lettersof recommendation, one of which must be a faculty member who has taught you directly. Recommenders will use this form to submit their letters. Instructions can also be found in the application form.
  • As applicants for the MMUF program, you are required to apply for at least one summer research program (in-person or virtual). Possible programs are listed on our Resources page. Students should ideally participate in programs at other institutions. Most deadlines are approximately February 1. For the few programs that require you to be an MMUF scholar, indicate on your application that you have applied for the UC Berkeley MMUF program.
  • For advice on how best to prepare these materials, please attend office hours and/or refer to this guide to Demystifying the MMUF Application Process.

Eligibility and Requirements

Applicants must be a second semester Sophomore standing and have at least a 3.4 GPA. Participation in the program is limited to students considering graduate study towards a Ph.D. in a Mellon-designated field.

MMUF is part of the Higher Learning program of the Mellon Foundation and reflects one of its three grantmaking priorities:

Elevating the knowledge that informs more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience and lays the foundation for more just and equitable futures. 

Student applicants to MMUF will be evaluated on the basis of their prior coursework, their plans for a major, and their potential to bring historically marginalized or underrepresented perspectives to the academy, including by producing scholarly research that reflects and satisfies the above-stated goal of the Higher Learning program. 

Some research themes and rubrics that may satisfy this goal include, but are not limited to, the following: historical and contemporary treatments of race, racialization, and racial formation; intersectional experience and analysis; gender and sexuality; Indigenous history and culture; questions about diaspora; coloniality and decolonization; the carceral state; migration and immigration; urban inequalities; social movements and mass mobilizations; the transatlantic slave trade; settler colonial societies; and literary accounts of agency, subjectivity, and community. 

While it is not required that student applicants work within the above or related rubrics, preference may be given to applicants who do.

Additional criteria are weighed in selection of participants in MMUF:

  • Interest in pursuing graduate education, especially a PhD, in an eligible discipline of the humanities or humanistic social sciences (a list of eligible fields can be viewed below); 
  • Academic promise (minimum 3.4 GPA);
  • Potential for serving as a mentor and teacher for a wide variety of students;
  • Activities and leadership that reflect an interest in social justice issues and the promotion of multivocality;
  • Availability for, and commitment to, full and enthusiastic participation in all aspects of the MMUF program, including attendance at conferences and regular meetings;
  • Response to a short essay prompt about how the applicant’s life experiences and academic goals would contribute to furthering the goal of a diverse academy; and
  • Status as a US citizen or permanent resident. Students who are undocumented or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients may also apply.

Eligible Fields of Study:

Students from all Arts & Humanities majors are encouraged to apply to MMUF if they are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in an eligible Mellon field (click here for a full list), as are students in a variety of social science disciplines. Past recipients have included students in the following departments:

Division of Arts & Humanities

  • Ancient Greek & Roman Studies
  • Art Practice
  • Comparative Literature
  • East Asian Languages & Cultures
  • English
  • Film & Media
  • French
  • German
  • History of Art
  • Italian Studies
  • Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Rhetoric
  • Scandinavian
  • Slavic Languages & Literatures
  • South & Southeast Asian Studies
  • Spanish & Portuguese
  • Theater, Dance & Performance Studies

Division of Social Sciences

  • African American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Gender & Women's Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Sociology