Undergraduate Research

MMUF Application


Application Process

The complete application should be submitted as a single PDF document (excluding reference forms) by 11:59 p.m., March 5th, 2023 by Google Form. Combine each componet of your application in one PDF. Incomplete or late applications will not be reviewed.

Apply Now (pdf)

Submit Applications and Recommendations Here

Application Form

Complete the attached form. You and your proposed faculty mentor must each type your own name in the relevant fields at the bottom of the form as an electronic signature, or, when you have finished filling in the other fields, select the “Developer” tab above, click the “Protect Form” button to turn off fields, and add an electronic signature.

Personal Statement of Purpose

Provide a statement of purpose (up to 500 words or 2 double-spaced pages) articulating your commitment to the aims of MMUF as indicated in the mission statement above. Your statement should be written as a cohesive narrative essay that addresses all of the following:

How have your experiences in college been shaped by the underrepresentation of certain groups in academia?

What are your goals for the future?

In what specific ways do you hope to change higher education by way of those goals?

What is your understanding and interpretation of the life and legacy of Dr. Benjamin Mays, after whom the program is named?

How is the work that you want to do, in your research and in your life, in conversation with the values he espoused?

Research Proposal

A research proposal (up to 500 words) clearly addressing:

The purpose of the project;

Why you are interested in this research;

The academic fields or disciplines into which the project fits and how it will contribute to those fields;

Why this research may have significance even for those outside of those fields;

What research questions are underlying or animating your project;

What methods you plan to use and why those methods are appropriate for your research questions;

What preparation or skills you have that make you well suited for this research;

Whom you have selected to be your faculty mentor, how the mentor’s expertise aligns with your research, and how your mentor will contribute to your development; 

A detailed work plan that includes a schedule of how your research will be divided over two summers and two academic years, and what you may need (supplies, books, travel, etc.) to complete that research successfully (NOT INCLUDED IN WORD LIMIT).

Access a Research Proposal Template here

Writing Sample

A sample of your strongest academic writing (up to 1,500 words or 5 double-spaced pages). The writing may contain creative elements, as long as it also demonstrates analysis and argumentation with a thesis statement and supporting evidence. The writing sample need not be on the same topic as your proposed MMUF research, and there is no need to write anything new. Instead, you can use a clean copy (without instructor’s comments) of something you already submitted for a class.

Unofficial Transcript

Include your current unofficial transcript from PRESTO saved as a PDF.

Proposed Mentor Statement

A key component of MMUF is mentored research, and mentors are required to meet in person with their mentees at least weekly. The proposed MMUF faculty mentor must provide a letter clearly addressing all of the following:

The soundness of the proposed research project;

The contributions the applicant’s research stands to make to the field(s) or discipline(s);

The knowledge and research skills necessary to complete the proposed research project (e.g., reading literature on the use of African American Vernacular English in 20th-century literature, survey design, ethnographic interview methods, etc.);

The applicant’s current knowledge and research-skill base for the project;

The mentor’s plan for providing structure, accountability, and training on the methods needed to complete the project;

Why the chosen mentor is best suited to serve as the research mentor for the proposed project;

The dates and amount of time the mentor will be away from campus during summer 2020 and the mentor’s plan for supporting the student during these absences;

The mentor’s leave plans for academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22 and availability in  summer 2021.

Faculty/Staff Recommendations

Two letters of recommendation. Recommenders should be members of the Oberlin College or Conservatory faculty or staff who know you and your academic work well enough to comment, in an informed way, on your potential for independent research and ultimately for an academic career.

If the proposed faculty mentor of your research project fits that description, she/he/they should be one of your recommenders. In this case, the proposed faculty mentor can combine the mentor statement and letter of recommendation into a single document.

Peer Recommendation (Optional)

One letter of recommendation from a peer—not necessarily at Oberlin—who can comment on your intellectual curiosity and how you work both alone and in groups.

Personal Interview

After receiving your completed application, we will contact you to schedule an interview.