Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute

Application process starts on November 15, 2019.
Deadline is March 1, 2020. 

Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute: June 1 – July 10, 2020

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have created the Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute to encourage minority students and others with an interest in African-American, African and African Diasporan Studies to pursue PhDs in the humanities.

The program, which is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, offers a six-week session for ten rising seniors (juniors in spring 2020, entering their senior year in fall 2020, graduating in 2021.)

Males and students from HBCUs are encouraged to apply. 



  • Students entering their senior year in fall 2020
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents 
  • 3.0 GPA or higher 
  • Demonstrated interest in Africa and the African Diaspora

If you do not meet ALL eligibility requirements your application will not be considered. 

Program Details 

  • Daily sessions, from 9 AM to 5 PM. All sessions are mandatory.
  • Morning seminars by distinguished scholars 
  • Assigned readings 
  • Research 
  • $2,800 stipend. Students who are enrolled in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program are NOT eligible for the stipend. They are eligible for transportation and housing. 
  • Out-of-state transportation costs covered 
  • Free housing—at International House—and free meals 


The program mixes seminars and research. It invites students to explore how the past is influencing the present and how the present can shape the future. 

Institute fellows will explore a variety of disciplines (including history, literature, arts, religion, and cultural studies) and historical periods. The Fellows will have an opportunity to examine, among others, questions about identity, culture, arts, gender, migrations, mental health, and criminal justice, and reflect on how they will affect the future. 

Our distinguished faculty include Herman Bennett (The Graduate Center, CUNY), Angela Castañeda (DePauw University), Ashley Farmer (University of Texas), Joshua Guild (Princeton University), Michael Jeffries (Wellesley College), Jasmine Johnson (University of Pennsylvania), Natasha Lightfoot (Columbia University), Treva Lindsey (Ohio State University), Donna Murch (Rutgers University), Kenton Rambsy (University of Texas), Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut), Elizabeth Todd-Breland (University of Illinois), Vanessa Valdés (City College of New York, CUNY) and more to be announced.

Personal Project

Drawing upon the Schomburg Center’s extensive collections the students will prepare a research prospectus that could be the basis for their senior thesis or a major research paper. Projects that can make use of a particular collection at the Schomburg Center will be given greater consideration. The topic proposed in the application should be what the applicant will work on during the program. 

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form by February 29, 2020. 
  • Official academic transcript to be mailed on February 29, 2020 at the latest to: Schomburg-Mellon Institutee, Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., New York, NY 10037. 
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty 
  • Research statement (450 words) 
  • Personal statement explaining why you want to pursue graduate studies in the Humanities (450 words) 
  • Resume 
  • Release form for food allergies 

If you do not provide ALL required materials your application will not be considered. 

Applications deadline: February 29, 2020. 
Selected students will be informed by email by April 10. Due to the volume of applications, personalized responses to all applicants are not possible. If you do not receive an email, please do not contact the program. 

Posted November 21, 2019