Program Expectations


In conjunction with parallel programs, such as the Leadership Alliance and other programs supported by the University of Chicago, this office has established a strong ethic and belief in the value of mentoring. Crucial to the intellectual and professional growth of MMUF students is the advising and mentoring that they get from senior scholars.

In fact, central to all MMUF programs is the building of mentoring relationships. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has described its commitment to faculty mentoring in the following way:

"Mentoring embodies the core principles of the MMUF program, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognizes the faculty/student relationship as the driving force beneath the sustainability and success of this program. Only a consistent commitment to this relationship will enable us to achieve the goals of the program and to bring greater diversity to the academy.

As mentors, faculty members have the knowledge and responsibility to demystify the formal and informal aspects of earning a doctorate. Mentors also give fellows insight into the fulfillment and rewards of a career in scholarship and teaching. In the mentoring relationship, the sharing of personal experience and the transmission of knowledge intersect in a trusting learning environment that provides opportunities for both mentor and student to stretch beyond her or his boundaries."

At the University of Chicago, we think of mentoring as taking place at multiple levels. Once students are admitted to the MMUF, new fellows are immediately brought into the fold of our MMUF community. New fellows meet peers and MMUF alumni in UChicago graduate programs. At this time, they also begin working closely with the program directors who guide them to build mentoring relationships. During the summer program, instructors and graduate students also further assist students  in cultivating mentoring relationships with faculty. 

Learn more about the components of the Summer Research Training Program.

Research & Community

After the first summer in the program, MMUF fellows are expected to establish working relationships with faculty and also enrich their research projects through coursework. Faculty mentoring relationships continue during the second summer of research and through the writing of a bachelors’ thesis. During the academic year, fellows are expected to meet twice a quarter with Elise LaRose, director of the program. Additionally, fellows attend workshops and other events sponsored by the program throughout the academic year. 

During the academic year, MMUF students should meet with their faculty mentors at least twice per quarter. Over the course of an undergraduate’s tenure as an MMUF student (two years), we strongly recommend that students take a minimum of 2-3 courses with their faculty mentor(s). Where this is not possible, we encourage MMUF students to arrange for independent reading courses. 

Faculty mentors, graduate students and alumni of the MMUF program are invited to participate in the social programming (lunches & dinners, occasional presentations and speakers) sponsored by the University of Chicago Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Program throughout the year.

Please note that all students in the UChicago MMUF Program must complete a bachelor’s thesis, or the equivalent, in their majors. At the end of their senior years, fellows are expected to give a presentation of their research to their peers and to associated faculty.