Home > Application Procedure

Application Procedure

Students must formally apply to participate in the MMUF program. The application process includes a written statement of purpose and a CV. If short-listed you will be invited to an interview with the selection committee.



The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) is an established and successful US equity development program that the Andrew W Mellon Foundation (see for more details on the USA MMUF program), have agreed to extend to South Africa. The aim is to identify exceptionally promising students at a very early stage in their academic career and, through the provision of financial support, mentoring and stimulating academic activities, to establish them on an academic career track which will lead to their becoming scholars in their field in South Africa. MMUF is open to all previously disadvantaged students regardless of race or ethnicity.

Participating South African Institutions:

University of Cape Town,

University of the Witwatersrand,

University of the Western Cape

Selection Process

Students who are entering the final year of a three-year first degree or the third year of a four-year professional degree will be eligible for selection as MMUF fellows. Up to five fellows are selected annually. Students considered for recruitment to the MMUF program will:

·         have an established academic track record;

·         have expressed enthusiasm for research;

·         have a background that includes community service; and

·         be able to envisage themselves embarking upon an academic career.

Students are expected to perform above the average for the class as a whole, preferably in the top third. Students in a three-year degree program will be expected to apply for admission to an appropriate Honours program as a condition of the award.

Program Structure

The structure of MMUF SA follows closely the approach adopted by established USA MMUF partners.

It has the following aspects:

  • UCT-MMUF fellowships span two years: the final year of the undergraduate degree and a one year Honours program, or the final two years of a professional four-year program. Students who have come through an extended curriculum program will be eligible for selection on merit in the same way as students who have come through the regular curriculum.
  • MMUF SA fellowships provide financial support. This includes
    • a term time stipend paid in two half yearly instalments on condition of satisfactory progress;
    • full travel costs to the USA and the January program – this includes airfare, accommodation and a spending allowance;
    • Orientation program held in Cape Town at the start of the Fellowship;
    • Regional workshop in Johannesburg at the end of the two year Fellowship;
    • Annual research allowance. A budget, co-signed by the MMUF mentor must be submitted in order to apply for the research allowance.
  • SA MMUF fellows will be appointed a faculty mentor. Mentors are experienced faculty who can contribute, through the practical experience of “doing research” (the program includes fellows working on a MMUF research project), to the students’ personal development and sense of academic mission.
  • Students in receipt of other bursaries are not precluded from applying for MMUF.
  • SA MMUF fellows travel to the US for a summer institute as part of the established MMUF program. This will take place during the mid-year vacation (four weeks in June). Students who apply for the Fellowship must be prepared to negotiate writing the June exams either before their departure to the US or on their return: this agreement must be supported by the Faculty.
  • The SA MMUF program hosts a one-week program for SA MMUF fellows and selected MMUF fellows from the US at the beginning of January in the second year of the Fellowship.
  • Continuation of the award to a second year will be subject to satisfactory performance.
  • On completion of their Honours MMUF fellows will be able to apply for subsequent support as offered by the AW Mellon Foundation.

Further information

Further details are available from:

Kathy Erasmus

Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), Huri ǂoaxa (Hoerikwaggo) Building, Upper Campus, UCT

Phone: 021-650 4237