MMUF/ADRF Application

Thank you for your interest in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and the Allison Davis Research Fellowship!

Our 2024 Application Portal opens on December 1, 2023 and the application deadline is February 12, 2024. Interviews will be conducted after the application deadline.

If you have any questions regarding the MMUF or ADRF programs, please contact Bob Blay (Program Coordinator) or Clinton Williams (Director).

Application Components

  • Personal Data Form
  • Research Proposal
  • Personal Essay
  • Williams College  Transcript
  • Other Transcripts (if applicable)
  • Two Letters of Recommendation

To apply, students fill out the MMUF/ADRF Application and faculty submit a letter of recommendation.

Selection Criteria


  • Interest in pursuing a PhD and an academic career in a Mellon-designated field of study.
  • Status as a US citizen and/or permanent resident
  • Race and ethnicity (in relation to underrepresentation in designated fields of study)
  • 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 education system itself and for the larger society that is serves.”

“Elevating the knowledge that informs more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience and lays the foundation for more just and equitable futures, Higher Learning supports knowledge production in the humanities by funding fellowships, seminars, curricular development projects, and regranting programs that center paradigm-shifting work in an array of emerging and established fields. We seek, in particular, to amplify perspectives and contributions that have been marginalized within the conventional scholarly record, and that promote the realization of a more socially just world.”

Our desire is that all MMUF fellows will be able to present academic credentials (e.g. their major, statement of research interest, portfolio of leadership and other campus activities) that are consistent with an “accurate narratives” academic framework. The themes/areas of that MMUF applicants might choose as an academic path could include:

  • 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 and ethnographies;
  • social movements and mass mobilizations;
  • the transatlantic slave trade;
  • settler colonial societies;
  • racial disparities and outcomes;
  • and literary and philosophical accounts of agency, subjectivity, and community, among other areas.


  • Interest in pursuing a PhD and an academic career in any field
  • Underrepresentation in proposed field of study
  • Status as at least one of the following:
    • First generation college student
    • African American, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American
    • Non-US citizen of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent
    • Preference is given to candidates who meet more than one eligibility requirement.