Skip to main content
Deadline: 05/31/2025 (Tentative)

General Information

The Humanities + Urbanism + Design Initiative bridges the humanities and design disciplines to promote the integrated investigation of 21st century urbanism and architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. The project was launched by a generous award from the Andrew Mellon Foundation in 2013, which was renewed in 2018. The renewed grant is specifically devoted to “The Inclusive City” and has twin objectives: to stimulate inter- and multi- disciplinary work on diversity and inclusion in the built environment and to build an increasingly diverse and inclusive community of scholars who do this work.

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.

Applications will open for the Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellowship in the Spring. 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 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).

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.

Eligibility Guidelines

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 Details

All applications are due by 11:59 PM, including letters of recommendation. The application should include

  • Research project proposal (maximum: 500 words)
  • Short itemized budget
  • Unofficial Penn transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from sponsoring faculty member, requested by the applicant via the Letter of Recommendation Request Form

Apply here!

Funding Type


Research Offering Type

Independent Research



Undergraduate School

College, Engineering, Nursing, Wharton



Contact Information