Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellows

Application Deadline

April 1, 2019

The initiative in Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) at the University of Pennsylvania is a ten-year project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to foster critical and integrative consideration of the relationship between the humanities and the design professions in the analysis and shaping of the built environment. Under the renewed grant (beginning in 2108), the initiative takes “The Inclusive City” as its theme, focusing on issues of inclusivity and diversity. The program has a number of component parts, including a bi-weekly Faculty Colloquium, the sponsorship of graduate and undergraduate courses, student research funding, an Undergraduate Research Colloquium, special lectures, participation in conferences, a Doctoral Dissertation (ABD) Fellowship program, and a Junior (postdoc) Fellowship program. For more information on the initiative see:


Undergraduate Research

Applications are now invited for the Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellowship program for Fall 2019. The renewed program places increased emphasis on the nurturing and mentoring of undergraduate researchers, ranging from sophomores to seniors. The program supports researchers who are working on topics dealing with the built environment of cities, landscapes, and architecture with attention to inclusivity and diversity and who wish to expand the inter-, trans-, and multidisciplinary character of their projects. 

In addition to the pursuit of independent research on topics of their choosing under the sponsorship of a faculty advisor, awardees will be meet monthly in the fall semester in a new non-credit workshop setting (the Mellon Undergraduate Research Colloquium) under the mentorship of two faculty members of the H+U+D Colloquium. The Colloquium will host speakers, make excursions, and share the work of its members. In the spring, Undergraduate Colloquium members will be invited to continue their research in the established, credit-bearing Undergraduate Urban Research Colloquium(UURC), which is sponsored by the Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR).

For the Academic Year 2019-2020, the H+U+D initiative will award 6-8 fellowships to students in the schools of Arts and Sciences, Design, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nursing and Wharton. H+U+D will select the fellows on the basis of the applicant’s expressed research interests in design, humanities or humanistic social sciences. Each fellowship carries a research grant of up to $2,000.

The Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellowship program is also advertised through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and in cooperation with the recruitment efforts of Penn’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, whose awards are made to “minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities” (


Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in any major in SAS, Design, Nursing, SEAS and Wharton are eligible. The research project must deal with the built environment (cities, landscapes, and architecture), with preference for projects dealing with

  • inclusivity and diversity
  • the inter-, trans-, and multidisciplinary design, humanistic or humanistic social science elements

Application Instructions

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) administers the Mellon Undergraduate Research Colloquium in cooperation with the recruitment efforts of Penn’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, whose awards are made to “minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities” (  All applications are due by 4:00 PM on April lst, 2019, including letters of recommendation (see next section).

The application should include, in one PDF:

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Unofficial Penn transcript
  • Research project proposal, including a description of the project and your research design (maximum: 500 words)

Submit your proposal no later than 4:00 PM on April 1, 2019, to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) via the student application.  Proposals will be reviewed by a special awards sub-committee, and funds will be transferred to successful applicants’ departments for disbursement. Questions? Contact Dr. Eugenie Birch ( or Dr. David Brownlee (

Letter of Recommendation

Please follow all instructions for requesting letters from your faculty advisor:

As early as possible, request a letter from your faculty research advisor via the Recommendation Request Form.  Completing this form automatically generates an email to your recommender with instructions on how to upload their letter to the CURF site.  Please ask your advisor to anticipate the arrival of this email (which is sometimes sorted to junk or spam folders), and inform them whether you have chosen to keep their letter confidential and waive your right of access to it.  It is your responsibility that this letter be submitted to CURF no later than 4:00 PM on April 1, 2019.

The letter should:

  • Discuss the project’s feasibility and the adequacy of the applicant’s preparation to complete it
  • Review and comment on the student’s projected budget
  • Make clear the nature and extent of the student’s contribution in formulating and carrying out the project
  • Advise the student on any applicable Institutional Review Board or related issues
  • Detail what supplies and/or support they are able to provide to ensure project completion
  • Outline the active ways in which the student will be mentored during the research process (both in summer and beyond)

Research Offering Type

Grant Independent Research

Research Offering Location

Research Eligibility: 

Undergraduate School


Research Offering Source