Life as a Fellow and Beyond

Weekly Seminar

Fellows take part in a weekly three-credit, writing intensive seminar coordinated by Professor Rafia Zafar. These meetings focus on topics central to the liberal arts, what it means to be an academic, and the research and writing process. Other program activities include writing the annual newsletter, participating in the annual Mellon Research Symposium, and attending the annual MMUF Midwest regional conference. Each Fellow also performs independent summer research tailored to the individual, in consultation with the faculty mentor, and reports monthly to the Faculty Coordinator and mentor.


Mentoring Relationships

To provide greater awareness of what it means to be an academic, each Mellon Fellow works closely with a faculty mentor during the academic year to plan a mutually agreeable research project. During the academic year and the summer, mentors and Fellows communicate regularly to discuss research progress, challenges, and ideas. This is a time for Fellows to learn from their faculty mentors, get advice, and evaluate their own progress.

Here's what your time as a Mellon Fellow might look like: 

  • Spring Sophomore Year - Weekly orientation seminar. Begin meeting regularly with mentor. Identify and articulate summer research goals.
  • Summer after Sophomore Year - Conduct independent research, staying in regular contact with mentor and Mellon program leaders.
  • Fall Junior Year - Attend weekly seminar, learn about graduate school, and expand upon summer research. Workshop other Fellows' research papers and refine your own. Attend the Midwest regional conference. 
  • Spring Junior Year - Host an invited Mellon speaker (to be chosen by the Fellows), workshop a longer research paper, prepare for summer research, and participate in the annual symposium.
  • Summer after Junior Year - Conduct independent research, stay in contact with mentor and Mellon program leaders, possible fieldwork and travel.
  • Fall Senior Year - Continue to attend weekly seminar meetings, begin to craft your own argument about your subject, and workshop papers.
  • Spring Senior Year - Refine and complete your thesis work, write for and publish the Mellon newsletter, present your work at the annual Mellon Symposium, submit an article to the MMUF National Journal. 


Fellowship Terms

The program provides stipends throughout the two years to carry out your project. Funds are available for research expenses; travel to archives or research sites; workshop and conference fees; and the purchase of books, laboratory supplies, or scholarly material.

The fellowships also includes an undergraduate loan forgiveness program. The Mellon Foundation will repay student loans in stages over the course of the student’s graduate studies for those who meet the requirements of the fellowship. Fellows who go on to obtain the PhD in one of the designated Mellon fields may have their undergraduate loans repaid up to a total of $10,000.

Benefits for Alumni and Financial Information

Please note: To be eligible for each of these benefits you must submit your annual MMUF online survey at

Loan Repayment

As an alumnus/alumna of the Washington University Mellon Mays Fellowship Program, you may be eligible to have significant portions of your undergraduate and graduate school debt repaid by the Mellon Foundation.

You are entitled to have up to $10,000 of your undergraduate debt through the federal Perkins, federal Stafford or Washington University loan programs repaid, provided you pursue a doctoral program in any one of the Mellon-designated fields of study.* If you have incurred less than $10,000 of undergraduate debt, the balance of loan repayment funds may be used to repay graduate student loans. Please see the Loan Repayment Form.

*Eligible fields specified by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Predoctoral Grant Program

The Social Science Research Council administers the Predoctoral Grant Program. All graduate students in good standing are eligible to receive a modest annual grant to support the cost of travel, books, computers, and research, particularly at benchmark moments during their graduate education. Please visit their website at or email INFO@SSRC.ORG for more details.

Graduate Student Summer Conference

The Social Science Research Council administers the Graduate Student Summer Conference. All graduate students in doctorate programs, who are in good standing, are eligible to attend up to their 3rd year. Fellows may attend twice during their years of eligibility. The SSRC supports travel, room and board. Please visit their website at or email INFO@SSRC.ORG for more details.

Travel and Research Grant Program

MMUF-WW Travel and Research grants are available to MMUF Fellows enrolled in qualifying PhD programs. The grants provide eligible graduate students with the financial means to complete their research prior to the start of dissertation writing. Grants provide up to $5,000 for a period of one summer or semester. Please contact the Assistant Director at MMUFTR@WOODROW.ORG for details.

Please keep in mind that any stipend or fellowship monies you have received or will receive from the Foundation are taxable.

Dissertation Completion Grant Program

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation also administers the Dissertation Completion grant program. All graduate students who have completed their doctoral requirements, dissertation research and fieldwork, and who are prepared to begin writing are eligible to apply. The dissertation grant offers up to $20,000 for a 12-month period. Please contact the Assistant Director at MMUFTR@WOODROW.ORG for details.

Please keep in mind that any stipend or fellowship monies you have received or will receive from the Foundation are taxable.