Applying for Merit Scholarships

The Department of English offers numerous merit scholarships totaling more than $100,000 in an annual competition in the spring. These scholarships recognize and reward outstanding achievements by English, Creative Writing, or Teaching of English students.

In order to be eligible for these scholarships, an applicant must:

  • be an English department major planning to be enrolled for at least one semester of the coming academic year
  • at the time of application have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5/4.0 overall
  • at the time of application have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75/4.0 in English and/or Creative Writing courses taken at Illinois
  • by the end of the spring semester in which you are applying, have completed at Illinois a minimum of four English, Creative Writing, and/or Rhetoric courses beyond Composition I
  • remain in good standing with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences throughout the application process

Overview and Instructions 

Stage Two Application

Form for Referees 2024

The award amounts vary widely; for more information, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Catharine Gray.

Award for English, Creative Writing & Teaching of English Majors

  • Delmar G. Cooke Scholarship
  • Charles S. Montooth Scholarship
  • Carolyn Joyce Pape Award
  • Emily J. Friedrich Memorial Scholarship
  • Robert D. Novak Scholarship
  • Miles W. O'Loughlin III Scholarship
  • Raymond Seng Scholarship
  • Paul J. Cooke English Award
  • Tessa M. Oberg Scholarship
  • Wallace Stevens Memorial Prize
  • Phyllis Woodmansee

Awards for Teaching of English Majors

  • Ethel F. Crate Scholarship
  • J. N. Hook Scholarship
  • Alfred & Norma Tanner Snap Scholarship
  • E. Veda Streitmatter & Arlys Streitmatter Conrad Scholarship
  • Leo B. Kneer Scholarship

Awards for Honors Students

Smalley Prize for Outstanding Honors Achievement awarded to the best English Honors Essay

Creative writing awards and competitions

Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship

Awarded for freshman poetry writing; open to students in all majors.  Applications are due at the start of the spring semester (specific deadline TBA). 

J. Kerker Quinn Award for Juniors

The Junior Quinn Award recognizes achievement and potential in Creative Writing majors or minors with junior class standing by awarding one or more recipients with financial support to attend a writing workshop or conference.

Creative Writing Competitions

The competitions listed below for creative writing are held in the spring semester and are open to students in all majors (specific deadlines TBA).


  • John L. Rainey Prize
  • Leah Trelease Prize
  • Josephine M. Breese Memorial Prizes


  • Folger Adam Jr. Prize
  • Dipali V. Apte Poetry Award
  • Department of English Poetry Prize
  • Academy of American Poets Prize

For more information about any of the Creative Writing awards please contact the Associate Director of Creative Writing, John Dudek.