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Awards, Scholarships, and Contests

The Department of English recognizes undergraduate student excellence by awarding outstanding majors through our yearly scholarship and writing awards.


With the support of the Hodges Better English fund and generous donations from outside the university the department awards a number of  scholarships each year to the best sophomore, junior, and senior English majors.

Each year the department awards seven Charles and Frances Mangam Merit Scholarships to declared English majors with at least sophomore standing. An eighth Mangam Merit Scholarship is designated for the best declared minority English major.

Applications for the Mangam  and Seilaz scholarships (see below), including recommendation forms, are available the first Monday of March in 311 McClung Tower. They also are available in PDF format through the following links.

The application is typically due the first Friday in April. Winners will be notified by mid-July. For more information, contact the director of undergraduate studies, Dr. Anthony Welch (865-974-5401;]

Two other scholarships are available to undergraduate English majors:

  • The Louise and Aileen Seilaz Scholarship: awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences to a student who has indicated an intent to follow a career in education.
  • The J. Paul Blakely Scholarships awarded by the East Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication to senior technical communication students. Deadlines for the Blakely scholarships are announced in March.


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

These include the following.

  • The Bain-Swiggett Prize: given for achievement in traditional forms of poetry
  • The Knickerbocker Award: recognizes excellence in non-traditional forms of poetry, such as free and experimental verse
  • The Captain Robert Arnold Burke Award for fiction
  • The Eleanora Richards Burke Award for non-fiction

The deadline for the 2017 John C. Hodges Undergraduate Awards is Friday, March 24th by 5pm.  Submission requirements and additional information for our most recent contest is available here.

In addition, the College of Arts and Sciences awards the Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing. Currently enrolled undergraduate arts & sciences majors with at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible.   Submission requirements are available here. For information about this award, contact the College of Arts & Sciences Advising Center, Room 313 Ayres Hall; 865-974-4481.

For additional information about the endowed undergraduate prizes or the graduate prizes, contact Margaret Lazarus Dean

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.

Our English Major Newsletter  also is 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:


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