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Awards & Scholarships

The Department of English recognizes undergraduate student excellence by awarding outstanding majors through our yearly scholarship and writing awards. For up-to-date information about deadlines and requirements, sign up for our English Major Newsletter.


The Department of English awarded sixteen undergraduate scholarships for 2023–24, including the Charles and Frances Mangam Merit Scholarships. Awards are made after a committee review of a student’s overall GPA, GPA in English courses, personal statement, and general program of study.

Dr. Urmila Seshagiri at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Mangam Merit Scholarships pay a total of $4,000, in two installments. The department’s other scholarships pay a stipend between $1,000 and $4,000. 

All declared English majors with an overall GPA of a least 3.0 are eligible for the scholarships. Applicants must have completed the two 200-level course prerequisite for the major by the end of Spring 2024, and award holders must be full-time students during Fall 2024 and/or Spring 2025. For students with double majors, the primary major must be English, and applicants must not have completed all their English coursework before the scholarship term begins. Students who received one of these awards in 2023–24 or earlier may reapply, but previous winners are not guaranteed a scholarship in the coming year. 

To apply for an English Department scholarship, students must complete all the steps of the online application by Friday, April 19, 2024. Click this link to go to the University’s Scholarship manager. Then click on “Current Students,” log in, and click on “My Applications.” You should see the English Department Scholarship Application and an icon that says, “Start Application. 

Winners will be notified via email by mid-July.  

For more information, contact Professor Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at

Contests and Awards

The English department recognizes student excellence in writing through the annual John C. Hodges Undergraduate Writing Awards.

The English Department will make Writing Awards in each of the four categories described below:

  • BAIN-SWIGGETT POETRY PRIZE: First Prize: $100, Second Prize: $50. This is an endowed prize for traditional forms of poetry. Students may submit up to five poems.
  • CAPTAIN ROBERT A. BURKE AWARD FOR FICTION: First Prize: $100, Second Prize: $50. Submit up to twenty pages, double-spaced.
  • ELEANORA BURKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION: First Prize $100, Second Prize: $50. Submit up to fifteen pages, double-spaced.
  • MICHAEL DENNIS AWARD FOR POETRY: First Prize: $100, Second Prize: $50. This is an endowed prize for non-traditional forms, such as free verse, experimental verse, etc. Students may submit up to five poems.

Students must be enrolled as undergraduates at UT to submit. Manuscripts must be typed; all prose should be double-spaced. The cover sheet should contain your name, email, and the title of your submission. Poetry submissions should also include a first line for each poem submitted. Please indicate clearly on the title page of each entry or group of entries (one title page will suffice for five poems in the same contest) which contest the entry is for. Please submit a different cover sheet for each award/genre that you enter. Your name should not appear on the actual manuscript. Staple items submitted to the same contest. Manuscripts will not be returned.

A submission link will be available when the contest is open.

For further information, email Professor Michael Knight at

Additional Funding Opportunities

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships is an excellent resource for students considering applying for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, such as those available through the Rhodes or Fulbright programs. Typically, students applying for these programs need to begin the application process more than a year before the scholarship period begins.  The mentors in the NSF office work with students to help determine the most appropriate scholarships and fellowships to apply for, based on their interests and will assist them throughout the application process.

Margaret Lazarus Dean at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Our English Major Newsletter is also a good source of information about funding opportunities as it regularly contains announcements about writing contests, research, and teaching opportunities from a variety of sources.

The following is a list of non-departmental resources providing information about scholarships, awards, and research opportunities that may be of interest to our majors: