Mellon Mays Graduate Intiatives Frequently Asked Questions


Am I eligible for Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program offerings? To be eligible for support, you must:

  • Have been selected as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. There are no exceptions to this policy.
  • Be enrolled in a PhD Program (see exceptions below).
  • Be in a Mellon approved field of study or petition successfully for approval of your field, see below.

My undergraduate institution is not listed on the drop down menu. What should I do? This likely means you are ineligible for MMGIP offerings. All the institutions that have undergraduate programs are listed, and all fellows are selected as undergraduates.

I was selected as an undergraduate, but my field of study isn’t on the list of approved disciplines. Am I eligible for benefits? You may be eligible for benefits. You must petition for your field to be recognized. Please contact for details on the petition process.

I’ve petitioned successfully for my field of study, but it is not on the drop down menu. How should I proceed? Select the field that is most closely related and note both your actual field and petition status (accepted) in your project narrative.

I’m in an MFA program, am I eligible? You are not eligible for the Pre-doctoral Grants, but you may be eligible for other benefits awarded to a PhD student. Contact for more details.

I am enrolled in a Master’s degree program that is required by my institution before for entrance into a PhD Program. Am I eligible for support? This is handled case-by-case. Contact and provide details regarding your program of study. Are you accepted into a PhD program, and the Master’s enrollment is a formality? Is there a separate application for the PhD program?

I am enrolled in a South African graduate institution as an M.A./M.Sc. students. Am I eligible? Yes, if you intend to continue to a PhD program.

I entered graduate school more than 39 months after my undergraduate graduation date. Am I eligible? You may be eligible for benefits. You must petition to be reinstated. Contact for details on the petition process.


Can I apply for both the PRD and GSE in the same year? No. You may not submit two grant applications in one grant cycle (May 1 – November 1 of any given year).

Can I receive the PRD or DCG twice? No. You may receive each once.

Can I receive the GSE twice? Yes. You may receive the GSE up to four times in the 2nd-5th year or graduate study.

What is the Loan Repayment Program? The Loan Repayment Program is managed by your Undergraduate Coordinator. There is more information here:

How much grant money am I eligible for? Fellows are eligible for $5,000 in GSE/PRD funding in their 2nd-5th year and $2,500 in DCG funding one time beyond their 5th year. If you have received a grant previously, consult your most recent award letter for your balance.

What is an acceptable use of grant funds? Grants are commonly used for equipment, books, software, conference travel, and small scale research. Some things that are not acceptable uses are: tuition, living expenses at your home institution, or any fees paid to an academic institution (i.e. for language study).

After receiving a grant award, do I have to provide receipts? No. We do not require receipts for items purchased with grant funds, but the DCG requires a summary report. Consult your award letter for details.

I didn’t apply last year; can I receive retroactive grant payments? No. That policy is no longer in place.


What expenses are eligible for reimbursement? Transportation to and from your home airport and meals in transit are eligible for reimbursement.

Does the program pay for travel, meals and accommodations at events? Yes, at all events except for the Regional Lecture Series. Fellows are responsible for transportation costs incurred for the Regional Lecture Series. For all events, if you decide to stay at an event location for longer than the duration of that event, you are responsible for additional costs including meals and accommodations.

When/where will next year’s PWDDS/PFPS/PhD Retreat be held? When that information is available, it will be posted on the event web page. Please check back there several months before the event. In the past, the PhD Retreat has been held in January of odd-numbered years, the PWDDS annually in March, and the PFPS annually in September. This should not be interpreted as a guarantee of future event schedule.

When will next year’s PWDDS/PFPS application open? Approximately ten weeks before the event.

I missed the invitation to the last PhD Retreat, how do I make sure that doesn’t happen again? Update your contact information.


Who is eligible to attend the Summer Conference? Graduating seniors entering doctoral programs and first through 3rd year graduate students. This includes rising fourth year graduate students.

I’ve applied and am waiting to hear from PhD programs, am I eligible to attend the summer conference? Once you are accepted and enroll, yes. Go ahead and register for the conference and let us know both when you have heard from programs and when you enroll in an institution.

I’ve been accepted but I haven’t decided on a PhD program, am I eligible for the Summer Conference? Yes, but you must inform us immediately after you have made your decision.

Is submission of an abstract required? No, but it is strongly encouraged.


Can I have an extension on an application deadline? No. We encourage you to apply early to avoid any last minute issues that may prevent you from submitting an application.

My undergraduate institution is not listed application on the drop down list. What should I do? This likely means you are ineligible for MMGIP offerings. All the institutions that have undergraduate programs are listed, and all fellows are selected as undergraduates.

How can I update my contact information? Update your profile.

**What is the status of my application? ** Please allow six to eight weeks for grant application processing. If you have received an award letter more than one month ago, please contact immediately. Seminar applications may take up to three weeks following the deadline for processing and selection.

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