Funding & Awards

Graduate Funding & Fellowships Resources

Awards, Prizes, & Waivers

Below you will find information related to a number of awards and funding streams at the graduate and undergraduate level. For information on external awards and fellowships, use the “Funding Your Education” link above.

These awards and scholarships are available to English Majors each spring semester.

If you have any questions about eligibility or would like to discuss your submission, please feel free to contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies in English. Students may apply to multiple awards (e.g. both the Critical and Creative Writing awards); however, if interested in applying for both, students must fill out each application separately.)

The Deadline for Spring 2021 is 11:59 pm April 5, 2021


Student Applications

Anne Hopewell Selby Critical Essay Writing Award: $500

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in critical writing by undergraduate English majors. Each student may submit a sample of no more than five pages of critical writing.  Excerpts from longer works are welcome as long as they do not exceed the five-page limit. Neither the student’s name nor any other identifying information should appear on any of the pages of the submission. Winners and finalists for these awards will be selected by the Department of English’s Undergraduate Studies Committee.
Application Form for the Selby Critical Essay Writing Award
Submit application for the Selby Critical Essay Writing Award

Paul Carroll Creative Writing Award: $250

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in creative writing by undergraduate English majors. Each student may submit a sample of no more than five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. Excerpts from longer works are welcome as long as they do not exceed the five-page limit. Neither the student’s name nor any other identifying information should appear on any of the pages of the submission. Winners and finalists for these awards will be selected by the Department of English’s Undergraduate Studies Committee.
Application Form for the Paul Carroll Creative Writing Award
Submit application for the Paul Carroll Creative Writing Award

Robert and Corinne Silver Award: $500

The Robert and Corinne Silver Award is a prize for a continuing undergraduate English major concentrating in the study of literature (Concentrations: British and Anglophone Literature, American Literature or Media, Rhetorical and Cultural Studies.) Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate academic ability. Financial need may also play a role in the award decision.  To be eligible for this award, students must have a declared concentration in literature and achieved sophomore standing or above. Graduating seniors are not eligible.
Application Form for the Robert and Corinne Silver Award
Submit application for Robert and Corinne Silver Award

Anne Hopewell Selby Undergraduate Research Award: $500

In honor of the late professor Anne Hopewell Selby, the English Department offers this award to an outstanding undergraduate student pursuing scholarly activities outside the classroom.  The purpose of this award is to help cover expenses such as trips to conferences or special libraries or the purchase of books not required for classes.
Application Form for Anne Hopewell Selby Undergraduate Research Award
Submit application for Anne Hopewell Selby Undergraduate Research Award

Outstanding Sophomore in English Award: Two winners, each receiving $500

The Outstanding Sophomore in English Award is intended to highlight sophomore students who have demonstrated dedication to their studies in English through the breadth and depth of their coursework and have excelled in their studies within the major. Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate academic ability. Financial need may also play a role in the award decision.  To be eligible for this award, students must have a declared concentration in the English major and achieved sophomore standing during the semester in which they are applying (e.g. over 30 earned credit hours, but no more than 60 credit hours, including in-progress courses).
Application Form for Outstanding Sophomore in English Award
Submit Application Form for Outstanding Sophomore in English Award

Faculty Nominations (No Application)

Raymond and Wilma Campion Award: $1800
John and Jeanne Newton Scholarship: $1800

The Campion Award and the Newton Scholarship are awarded to outstanding English majors who have graduated from Chicago Public High Schools.  Students must have at least 30 but not more than 90 semester hours at the time of application and a minimum GPA of 3.0.  The selections will be made based upon faculty recommendations. All eligible applicants will be considered for both the Campion and the Newton Scholarships.

Ernest C. Van Keuren Award: $200

Each year, the faculty chooses one outstanding graduating senior for the Ernest C. Van Keuren award. The winner is chosen by the faculty from among those students who are graduating with highest distinction.

UIC Awards and Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has many awards and scholarships for which English majors can apply. Click here for LAS Scholarships. Notable writing scholarships include the PNA-Hugh Hill Endowed Scholarship and the Bernard Shaw Prize and Scholarship.

Students should also browse through the thorough list of scholarships and awards on the website of both the Office of Scholarships and the Office of External Fellowships.

For continuing students, UIC SnAP is an invaluable resource for current scholarships and deadlines. Complete your profile to find scholarship opportunities relevant to you. Don’t forget to use your English major writing skills to apply for essay-based scholarships!

Awards for Travel

The Department offers PhD students travel funding up to $500 in conjunction with LAS. This award is processed by the Department twice a year. You should begin by filling out the intent form no later than the third week of the semester in which you plan to travel. Once notified of approval by the DGS Office, you should then fill out the application form (.docx), get your advisor’s signature, and turn it in to the DGS Office to be signed. The DGS will pass the form on to the department’s business manager, Amy Liu, for processing.

LAS funds will only go to those presenting at a conference; departmental funds may go to those attending conferences and symposia or visiting archives. Half of each year’s funds will be allocated to each period. The hierarchy for deciding how to allocate funds is as follows:

  1. students presenting at national conferences
  2. students presenting at regional conferences
  3. students presenting at local conferences
  4. students accepted to seminars (such as those at Cornell’s School of Criticism & Theory or Breadloaf)*
  5. students conducting archival research

To ensure equitable distribution among all grads, students may not receive the LAS PhD Student Travel Award more than two (2) times over the course of their graduate career.

*Travel to seminars and for archival research is not supported by LAS, and such funds will come out of the English coffers. Students may not claim to have received an LAS PhD Student Travel Award on their CV if they are awarded these funds for that purpose.

Awards for Excellence

The Department of English acknowledges graduate students’ excellence in writing and teaching through several different year-end awards. 

Important: use this submission instruction and cover sheet (.docx) in your application. A PDF version of the cover sheet is also available.

Anne Hopewell Selby Award

Relatives, colleagues, and other friends of the late Anne Hopewell Selby, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, have established a fund in her memory for awards for distinction in Graduate Studies in English. Annually the department of English designates one graduate student enrolled in the department who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship in English to receive an award, which is paid from the income derived from the memorial fund. The winner is selected by a committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies on the basis of a submitted PhD Dissertation chapter. Students in all specializations are eligible for the award, presented at the department’s annual spring celebration. The graduate-level award consists of a cash prize of $500 for the recipient.

Kogan Bonus Award

The Scholarship Association of the University of Illinois at Chicago has established the Kogan Bonus Award for students in English. This $250 award is non-renewable. The recipient of the Kogan Award is chosen by a committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The award is designed to enhance a student’s professional development, and selection of the winner is based upon the strength of a student’s work prior to the dissertation, such as an essay written for a course during the academic year, an MA Project, or an approved Dissertation Prospectus.

Department of English Distinguished Teaching Award

This award is presented annually to an advanced doctoral student whose performance as a Teaching Assistant, as judged by department faculty, ranks at the highest level of professional competence. The award consists of a cash prize of $500 for the recipient. Students construct a dossier of teaching materials submitted to a committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The dossier consists of a statement of teaching philosophy (no more than three pages), course syllabi, course evaluations from no more than two classes, and sample student papers from one of the courses.

Gloria Fromm Award:

This award honors the memory of Gloria Fromm, Professor of English and scholar of British modernism. The award is for excellence in work in British studies by a graduate student over the past academic year. Students submit a writing sample of no more than 25 pages of work, including notes, to be considered for the award.  The Director of Graduate Studies appoints a committee of three faculty members in British Studies to review the essays/samples and choose a winner. The award consists of a cash prize of $300 for the recipient.

Graduate Paul Carroll Award:
This award is for an outstanding advanced PhD student (usually ABD) and considers the totality of scholarship, writing, and service to the program.

Betty Stuart Smith Award

Given annually to recruit an entering PhD graduate student in creative writing, this award acknowledges and encourages significant accomplishment in either poetry or prose. The incoming student is awarded $2,750 a year for two years (a total of $5500); selection is based upon the application for graduate admission, and is made by a committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Goodnow Award:
A juried prize for students in the Program for Writers in poetry and prose based on a one-time submission in the spring semester.

Past Winners

Award 2020 2019 2018
Distinguished Teaching Award Cecilia Villarruel Mark Schoenknecht Russell Mayo
Gloria Fromm Award Corbin Hiday Hanna Khan Ann-Marie McManaman
Kogan Award Laura Jok Jenna Hart & Thomas Moore Corbin Hiday
Goodnow Award (CW) Dan Magers & Jay Yencich Alex Luft & Adam Edelman Patrick Reichard & Carrie McGath
Paul Carroll Award (CW) Adam Edelman Dan Magers Jay Yencich
Betty Stuart Smith Award Mary Kate Coleman (Varnau) Nestor Gomez Dez Brown

Board of Trustees (BOT) Waivers

The Department of English receives a very limited number of tuition-and-fee waivers from the Graduate College each semester, known as the Board of Trustees (or BOT) waivers. The waivers are issued on a semester-by-semester basis. BOT waivers are effective for only one semester, and recipients must reapply each term. There is no guarantee that a BOT will be renewed; renewal depends on a number of factors including performance and the availability of the award in the coming years.

Students should notify their primary advisor that they intend to apply for a BOT waiver.

Eligibility: Preference will be given to eligible students experiencing certain extenuating circumstances (for example: those in the English Education program who are student teaching full-time and therefore ineligible for working/lectureship at UIC, or PhD students in their final year who need to complete credits to submit their thesis and graduate.) Eligible students:

  • are doctoral candidates living locally who have not yet accumulated the required 32 hours of dissertation research OR outstanding MA students;
  • do not already carry an assistantship or any other type of funding; and
  • will enroll in a a minimum of 12 semester hours in the fall and spring semesters/6 credit hours in summer session for full-time waivers OR a between 8 and 11 credit hours in fall and spring semesters or 3-5 hours in summer for a part-time waiver.

Full-time employees, including lecturers, are not eligible for this waiver.

Process to request a waiver: Students should contact the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator as soon as possible if they intend to request a BOT. Afterwards, they will need to fill out the request form, which asks for the following basic information:

  • Term/Year requesting a BOT waiver
  • Name
  • Program (English studies, Creative Writing, English Education)
  • Status (PhD or MA, full time or part time)
  • Primary faculty advisor
  • Courses you intend to take during the BOT waiver semester (with credit hours)
  • Circumstances that necessitate a BOT waiver

Deadline: After speaking with the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator, you must submit the request form by noon (12 pm) on the Friday before the last day of instruction in the term preceding the one for which you are applying, e.g.:

  • Spring 2019: November 30 deadline
  • Summer 2019: April 26 deadline
  • Fall 2019: August 2 deadline

Covered fees & charges: BOT waivers cover the following charges:

  • full tuition, including differential, if any
  • service fee
  • health service fee
  • Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment (AFMFA)
  • Library and Information Technology Assessment (LITA)
  • $100 toward the cost of university health insurance (CampusCare) if the student is enrolled. The entire $100 is paid in the first semester that the student is enrolled in CampusCare, usually the Fall.

BOT waivers do not cover the following charges: general fee; CTA transportation fee; student-to-student fee; or the remainder of the cost of health insurance after the $100 payment.

Questions? Direct questions about the BOT waiver to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator.

Continuing students wishing to compete for annual fellowships and awards may obtain the necessary forms on the Graduate College’s website. The Application for Graduate Appointment is required (except where otherwise noted). Spring deadlines for submission to the English Department’s Office of Graduate Studies are distributed annually to students. Students must also complete the department’s awards coversheet to indicate for which award they would like to be considered.

NOTE: All accepted incoming students are automatically considered for fellowships and awards and are nominated at the discretion of the admissions review committee.

University Fellowships
University Fellowships are awards aimed at recruiting outstanding students newly admitted to graduate programs at UIC. Nominations are made by the Department of English shortly after admissions have been completed. Announcements of awards are customarily made in April. Students with fellowships must carry 12 hours per semester.

Dean’s Scholar Award
The Dean’s Scholar Award is a one-year, non-renewable award presented by the Dean of the Graduate College in recognition of a student’s scholarly achievement. It is intended to provide the most distinguished, advanced-level graduate students with a period of time dedicated solely to the completion of their programs. The Dean’s Scholar competition is open to doctoral students who have passed the Graduate-College-required Preliminary Examination at the University of Illinois at Chicago and are well into their dissertation work. Applications are ordinarily due by the second week in March.

Each nominee should prepare the following:

  1. A statement of research plans of no more than three pages describing the student’s dissertation or MFA project, the current status of the student’s project and the expected date of completion
  2. Three letters of recommendation written within the last twelve months, one of which must be from the nominee’s principle advisor
  3. A copy of the UIC transcript
  4. A List of professional accomplishments including awards, honors, publications, and presentations (CV)

Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship
The goal of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago is to increase the excellence and diversity of the graduate student body by attracting applicants who have overcome obstacles to achieve academic success, like President Lincoln himself, who by his words and actions forged the framework for America’s pursuit of freedom, equality and justice. The fellowship is open to both returning students (nominations due by the first week in April) and incoming graduate students. Incoming students who are interested in being considered should notify the Office of Graduate Studies at the time of application.

Each (1-year retention) nominee should prepare the following:

  1. Completed Statement of Research Plan (max. 300 words)
  2. Student Statement on How Goals of the Lincoln Fellowship Program are Aligned With Their Own (max. 300 words)
  3. Three Letters of Recommendation (written within the last 12 months)
  4. UIC Transcripts (current – check with your program to determine if already on file)
  5. List of Awards, Presentations, and Publications (if any)

Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award

In an effort to maximize impact for our graduate students, the Graduate College revised the Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award in Fall 2016.

Since its inception in 2009, the Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award has supported multidisciplinary scholarship in an attempt to expose graduate students to varied research and creative fields. The award mechanism has naturally evolved into a way for students early in their studies to develop new research directions for their PhD dissertations or terminal degree thesis/capstone project and has been used by graduate programs as a way for students to practice writing research proposals. Starting with the Fall 2016 competition, funding in the sum of $5,000 will now be available for one-year pilot grants to support preliminary research of students seeking future funding from external sources. (They are processed as awards–not grants. There is no tuition and fee waiver attached.)

Provost’s & Deiss Awards for Graduate Research
The Graduate College provides two programs of support for research by graduate students at UIC: the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research and the W.C. and May Preble Deiss Fund for Biomedical Research. The Provost’s Award is open to all graduate students currently enrolled at UIC and the Deiss Fund is for graduate students engaged in research in clinical or basic medical sciences. Students may apply on a competitive basis for awards of $1000 to $3000 to support their research. Awards will be made in two competitions annually, once in Spring semester and once in Fall semester. The Graduate College has prepared this page for information and materials required relevant to the award.

DFI Fellowship
The Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program (DFI)—formerly known as the IMGIP/ICEOP—was established by the Illinois General Assembly and signed as Public Act 093-0862 on August 4, 2004. This act combines the Illinois Consortium for Educational Opportunity Program (ICEOP) and the Illinois Minority Graduate Incentive Program (IMGIP) into a single fellowship program. The purpose of DFI is to increase the number of underrepresented faculty and staff in Illinois institutions of higher education and higher education governing boards. Incoming students who are interested in being considered should notify the Office of Graduate Studies at the time of application.

Outstanding Thesis Award
This annual award is given by the Graduate College for the most outstanding dissertation to the student whose degree was awarded by UIC in Spring, Summer or Fall semesters of the previous calendar year. Each graduate program can nominate only one student, therefore the English Department’s awards committee will choose one thesis among the nominees. NOTE: This award is issued annually in the FALL SEMESTER, therefore has a later deadline than other year-end awards (usually the first week of October).

Each nominee should prepare the following:

  1. A completed Annual Graduate College Outstanding Thesis Award Application.
  2. A letter of nomination from the Director or Graduate Studies or Department Head describing the impact of this research on the field.
  3. A letter of support from the primary advisor (i.e., the advisor responsible for the research for the thesis).
  4. A copy of the thesis abstract (refer to the Graduate College Thesis Manual for format). Supplied by student.
  5. A concise (300 word maximum) description of the significance of the research presented in the dissertation or thesis. This may be based on the abstract but written in language suitable for faculty from neighboring disciplines. Supplied by student.
  6. A current curriculum vita that includes a list of awards, honors, publications, and presentations. Supplied by student.