Mexican American and Latina/o Studies | College of Liberal Arts
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Program Details and Eligibility

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship is part of the Higher Learning program of the Mellon Foundation. MMUF reflects the Mellon Foundation’s priority to “elevate the knowledge that informs more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience and lays the foundation for more just and equitable futures.” At the core of MMUF is multivocality - the Higher Learning program's objective to amplify perspectives and contributions that have been marginalized within the traditional scholarly record, and that promote the realization of a more socially just world.

The MMUF doctoral preparatory program offers a concrete mentoring plan and financial support to junior and senior students pursuing academic research in Mellon-approved fields and committed to increasing historically marginalized or underrepresented perspectives in academia. To benefit from the support that MMUF provides, students must be fully invested in the program.

Program Expectations and Benefits:

Fellows are required to remain as full-time students, and maintain a high GPA, during their two years as MMUF fellows. MMUF students are required to discuss their academic plans with the director and their faculty mentor.

Additionally, fellows are encouraged to apply to a doctoral program in an MMUF designated field in the fall semester of their graduation year. To be eligible for Mellon support during graduate study, fellows must apply for a PhD program within 39 months of earning their undergraduate degree.


Fellows will conduct independent research, under the guidance of their faculty mentor, and submit a thesis by the end of their second year. Fellows are also expected to apply to summer research programs at peer institutions. Fellows are required to present their work at the program’s symposiums and the annual MMUF Southeast Regional Conference. Additionally, fellows are encouraged to present at least two academic conferences.

Fellows will have the support of a faculty mentor and the MMUF team. It is imperative that fellows maintain a close working relationship with their faculty mentor throughout the two years of the program, including summers, meeting with them at least twice a month. The mentors will provide guidance on the fellow’s research project and graduate school preparation.

Fellows are expected to attend a weekly seminar focused on topics such as understanding the research and writing process, preparing conference abstracts, applying for graduate school, and writing a strong statement of purpose. Also, fellows are encouraged to attend workshops, seminars, and professional conferences. MMUF funds are available to support professional development opportunities.

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During the two years in the program, fellows receive a stipend each semester, including the summer, to conduct research. Payment is contingent upon the completion of the research plan approved by the student’s Mentor, progress on their research project, and participation in program seminar and events. This funding will allow students to work full time on their research without the distraction of outside employment.

Upon graduation, MMUF fellows will continue to enjoy the support of the MMUF Program. As fellows approach the end of their graduate studies, a series of MMUF programs, such as the Social Science Research Council's PhD Retreat and the Institute for Citizens & Scholar’s Junior Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship Program, will help them to prepare and steer them to post-graduate programs and academic careers.

If fellows enter a PhD program in a Mellon-designated field within 39 months following receipt of the undergraduate degree, they are eligible to receive up to $10,000 in undergraduate student loan relief.

Always a Mellon. After graduation from UT Austin, fellows’ association with the Mellon Mays Fellowship remains intact. As graduate students, fellows will also become part of initiatives that will enrich their graduate training and will be able to participate in many MMUF activities across the nation.

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Applicants will be evaluated based on their coursework, plans for a major, and potential to bring historically marginalized or underrepresented perspectives to the academy including life experiences and scholarly research that reflect and satisfy the objective of the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Learning program - multivocality

Some research themes and rubrics that may satisfy this goal are listed below. While it is not required that student applicants work within these or related rubrics, preference may be given to applicants who do:

  • Themes & Rubrics
    • 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
    • literary and philosophical accounts of agency, subjectivity, and community, among other areas
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Applicants must:
  • Be in sophomore standing at time of application (at least 30 credits)
  • Have a GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident; and students who are undocumented or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients may apply
  • Plan to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the Mellon-approved fields of study:
  • Fields of Study
    • Anthropology and Archaeology 
    • Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies 
    • Art History
    • Classics
    • Geography and Population Studies
    • English
    • Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus) 
    • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
    • Foreign Languages and Literatures
    • History
    • Linguistics
    • Literature
    • Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
    • Philosophy and Political Theory
    • Religion and Theology
    • Sociology
    • Theater (theoretical focus)
    • Interdisciplinary studies: Interdisciplinary areas of study may be eligible if they have one or more eligible fields at their core, but must be approved by the MMUF staff at the Mellon Foundation on a case-by-case basis. Please note that interdisciplinary education graduate programs, even those that incorporate one or more eligible fields, are not eligible for MMUF graduate benefits
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