Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellows

Application Deadline

May 31, 2021

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:

Undrgraduate Research

Applications are now invited for the Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellowship program for Fall 2021. 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 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 2021-22, 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
  • inter-, trans-, and multidisciplinary study in design, the humanities, and humanistic social sciences.


Application Instructions


The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) administers the Mellon Undergraduate Research Colloquium. Applications may be submitted via this webform. All applications are due by 4:00 PM on May 31, 2021, including letters of recommendation (see next section).

The application should include, in one PDF:

  • Research project proposal (maximum 500 words)
  • Short itemized budget
  • Unofficial Penn transcript

Additionally, a Letter of recommendation from sponsoring faculty member, requested by the applicant via the Letter of Recommendation Request Form, is a required part of the application.

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 May 31, 2021.


Research Offering Type

Independent Research

Research Offering Location

Research Eligibility: 

Undergraduate School

College Engineering Nursing Wharton

Research Offering Source


Contact Information

Questions about the program can be directed to Alisa Chiles

Application questions may be directed to Aaron Olson