Scholarships, Prizes, and Grants


The English Department will offer the following Scholarships to English majors for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please carefully review the requirements for each scholarship before applying. In order to apply, download the Scholarships Cover Sheet and follow the instructions. The deadline for scholarships is March 1.

Please note that the following scholarships are open to students who plan to enroll in Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021. Students who are scheduled to graduate in May 2020 or August 2020 are not eligible.

English Alumni Scholarship ($1000)

This scholarship, funded by English Department alumni and created by the English Department Leaders Board, is given to an outstanding undergraduate English major.

Among equally-qualified candidates, preference will be given to a student with some financial need. (See cover sheet for requested documentation.)

Past Recipients:

2019-2020: Ethan Anderson and Annalee Roustio
2018-2019: Rebecca Oliver and Emmalee Wilkins
2017-2018: Allyson Chapman and Jamie Berry
2016-2017: Ameerah Sanders and Jamie Berry
2015-2016: Kaitlin Beardmore
2014-2015: Erin Niederberger
2013-2014: Tegan Blackwood
2012-2013: Jaclyn Herr and Arriana Hayes

Mabel Owen Scholarship ($3,000)

In order to apply for the Mabel Owen Scholarship, students must be an English major and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Financial need is not a requirement for this scholarship.

Past Recipients:

2019-2020: Alyssa Ripley and Macy Mundwiller
2018-2019: Lauren Pike and Peter Baugh
2017-2018: Sarah Pribe, Lauren Pike, and Amy Taylor
2016-2017: Taylor Ysteboe, Sherell Barbee, and Autumn McLain
2015-2016: Bradford Barnhardt, Erin Niederberger, and Tonya Eberhard
2014-2015: Katherine Hobbs, Hannah Salings, and Jennifer Para
2013-2014: Enrique Meijia and Kristin Carranza
2012-2013: Edward Hart, Grace McNamee, and Karlyn Skinner

Marian Lindsey Smith Scholarship ($3,000)

In order to apply for the Marian Lindsey Smith Scholarship, students must be an English major and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students must demonstrate financial need by attaching a one-page statement of financial need (FAFSA is not required for this award).

Past Recipients:

2019-2020: Ethan Anderson 
2018-2019: Shelby Hart
2017-2018: Emily Hanneman and Rebecca Jaeckels
2016-2017: Marleigh Anderson and Sarah Judd
2015-2016: Marleigh Anderson and Marek Makowski
2014-2015: Jacqueline Land
2013-2014: Tegan Blackwood
2012-2013: Enrique Meijia and Charnissia Smith

Hardin Craig Scholarship ($500)

In order to apply for the Hardin Craig Scholarship, students must be an English major, must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and must demonstrate financial need by having applied for FAFSA.

Past Recipients:

2019-2020: Annalee Roustio
2018-2019: Emily Hanneman
2017-2018: Shelby Hart
2016-2017: Jamie Berry
2015-2016: Lindsey Marschka
2014-2015: Hannah Salings

College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of scholarships, many of which are of interest to English majors. Students who apply for English Department scholarships are very strongly encouraged to apply for the College scholarships as well. See for more details.


Peggy Ewing Prize (1 prize of $500)

This award honors the best essay of at least 5 pages concerning any topic in British literature pre-1900. The essay must have been originally written for a class during the 2019 calendar year. However, students may revise the essay prior to submission. You do not need to be an English major to apply for this award. To apply for this prize, please download and complete the cover sheet and follow its instructions. The deadline is March 1.

Past Recipients:

2019: Andrew Frein, "Shakespeare's House of Cards: The Social Critique of Family and Politics in King Lear" (written for Prof. Anne Myers' English 4167W Major Authors, 1603-1789)

2018: Elorm Nutakor, for “An Exploration of Pride in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels” (written for Prof. Stephen Karian's English 4996W: Honors Seminar)

2018: Andrew Frein, for “The Subconscious of the New Woman in The Romance of a Shop” (written for Prof. Elizabeth Chang's English 4188: Major Women Writers, 1789-1890)

2017: Andrew Frein, for "The Picture of Dorian Gray as an Immoral Tale" (written for Prof. Julie Melnyk's English 3210: Survey of British Literature, Romanticism-Present)

2017: Bruno Vernaschi, for "Botched Intentions: On Chaucer, Jews, Calumny, and Hypocrisy" (written for Prof. Lee Manion's English 4210: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales)

2015: Marleigh Anderson, for “Punctuation and Pulsation: William Blake’s Period” (written for Prof. Lily Gurton-Wachter’s English 4168: William Blake)

2014: Bradford Barnhardt, “King Henry IV’s Machiavellian Call for the Crusades” (written for Prof. Bill Kerwin’s English 4166)

2013: Kristen Carranza, “Abdicating the Seat of Life: Man in the Stomach of Paradise Lost” (written for Prof. Anne Myers's English 4167)

2012: Tegan Blackwood, “Topical Polemics in ‘The Life of Christina of Markyate’” (written for Prof. Johanna Kramer’s English 4210)

Honors Thesis Prize (1 prize of $200)

The Honors Thesis Prize is open to all students registered in English 4996 in Fall 2019 and who are writing an Honors Thesis in Spring 2020. To be considered for this prize, please download and complete the cover sheet and follow its instructions. The deadline is April 20.

Past Recipients

2019: Abagail Guinn, "Woman Unapologetic: 'something worth learning'" (Advisor: Kimberly McCaffrey)

2018: Sherell Barbee, “My Mama Meat: An Exploration of African American Women’s Mental Health” (Advisor: Julija Šukys and Christopher Okonkwo)

2017: Marleigh Anderson, “You've Got Mail: Epistolography, Mapping, and Authenticity in Early Literature of Alexander the Great” (Advisor: Lee Manion)

2016: Katherine Hobbs, "‘Immortal Harps’: Milton and Musical Morality in Handel’s Samson” (Advisor: Anne Myers); 2016 (Honorable Mention): Bradford Barnhardt, "‘My Madness Singing’: The Specter of Syphilis in Prufrock’s Love Song" (Advisor: Frances Dickey)

2015: Emily Holtzman, "Indispensable Lives: Magical Realism and Postcolonial Resistance in Ana Castillo’s So Far from God and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (Advisor: Guadalupe Perez-Anzaldo, Romance Languages)

2015 (Honorable Mention): Delia Rainey, "Summer of the Sabra Cactus: The Body, Landscape, and Numbed Tourism” (Advisor: Lily Gurton-Wachter)

The Mahan Freshman Essay Contest ($175 first prize; $100 second prize)

The Mahan Freshman Essay Award is a competition for first-year students enrolled in English 1000. View submission details.

Creative Writing Contests (various awards)

Every year, the Creative Writing Program gives away over $3,000 in prizes for undergraduate students. Send us your short fiction, poems, and other creative writing for the chance to win one of these awards. Submissions are due March 15 unless otherwise noted:

Mahan Short Story Award ($175, $100)
Margery McKinney Short Fiction Award ($250, $250)
Kerr Award in Fiction ($250, $150, $100)

Mahan Poetry Award ($175, $100)
Academy of American Poets ($100)
Kerr Award in Poetry ($250, $150, $100)
Margaret Leong Children’s Poetry Award ($350, $250, $150) due April 1
Sibyl Pommer Freshman Poetry Award ($200) due April 1

Creative Nonfiction
Creative Writing Program Award ($200, $100)
Kerr Award in Creative Nonfiction ($250, $150, $100)

Kerr Award in Playwriting ($250, $150, $100)

You can submit your work electronically for these contests. It's easy! Download this file: Creative writing awards instructions.

MU Libraries Undergraduate Research Paper Contest (2 prizes of $500 each)

This contest seeks to recognize and reward outstanding student research. It differs from other research paper contests in that it does not judge only the paper itself, but also the research process and the student’s ability to articulate his or her experience conducting research. View details about this contest.

Undergraduate Research Grants

The English Department offers small grants (no more than $200 each) to support the research and professional development activities of our undergraduate majors. Grants can be used to support any of the following activities: archival research; field work; attendance at conferences, writers’ workshops, or publishing institutes; external internships; and poster printing for research presentations. This money can be used to offset the cost of airfare, hotel, gas, and conference fees. This money cannot be used to pay tuition fees for courses. You can apply before or after, although you must apply within six months of the event.

If you receive a grant, you will be asked to write a short reflective piece on what you learned from attending this event. If your application is rejected, you are encouraged to reapply once more for that same project. You cannot receive more than two research grants in a four-year period.

All applications will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. View Undergraduate Research Grant application details.