The ceric ion-initiated graft copolymerization of methyl methacrylate onto wood cellulose was found to depend on the concentrations of initiator, monomer, and cellulose. The structure of cellulose—methyl methacrylate graft copolymers was studied by hydrolyzing away the cellulose backbone to isolate the grafted poly(methyl methacrylate) branches. The molecular weights and molecular weight distributions of the grafted poly(methyl methacrylate) were determined by using gel-permeation chromatography. The number-average (M̄n) molecular weights ranged from 36 000 to 160 000 and the polydispersity ratios (M̄w/M̄n) varied from 4.0 to 7.0. The grafting frequency or the number of poly(methyl methacrylate) branches per cellulose chain calculated from the per cent grafting and molecular weight data varied from 0.38 to 3.2. The structure of cellulose—methyl methacrylate graft copolymers and the effect of stepwise addition of initiator on the structure are discussed.