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Scholarships for Literature Students

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Have a flair for writing and dreaming of becoming the next Hemingway? Or, would you rather learn several languages and what literary traditions each language has to offer through the study of comparative literature?

Most colleges and universities offer literature programs if not in the literature department, but the English department. Therefore, you may hear literature students majoring in English literature, comparative literature, or other specialties. Regardless, the choice of major, or minor, the fact is you need money to attend college to reach your career goals.

Scholarships are a great option because they are ‘free money’ opportunities that don’t have to be repaid. In fact, most colleges and universities offer literature scholarships for students seeking a career using their literature background. It is just a matter of knowing where to seek out these scholarship opportunities.

Where to Find Free Money for Literature Students

Nothing sounds better than free money to a college student. Literature students can find many scholarship opportunities with a little research and perseverance. In fact, most scholarships can be found on campus, through the financial aid office, and the literature department. Here are some examples:

English Literature Scholarships

Arizona State University offers the Nick Ivins Memorial Literature Scholarship to students majoring in English with a concentration in English Literature. This endowed scholarship awards an estimated $450 to qualifying students. Applicants must be full-time students, residing in Arizona. An essay is required as part of the application process.

The University of Pittsburgh offers several literature essay awards to undergraduate students with a flair for writing.

  • Marlee and James Myers Award—the winner for the best essay in lower-level literature classes earns up to $600.
  • The Carol Kay Award—this award requires applicants to submit an original essay on British literature between the years of 1500 to 1900. The winner is awarded up to $400.
  • The J.K. and Gertrude Miller Prize—awarded to the best essays on topics in English and /or British literature, as well as World literature, and literary theory. Award amount totals up to $500.
  • The James Snead Award—provides up to $1,000 for the best essay dealing with one or more topics including American literature, German literature, African-American literature, or film.

Comparative Literature Scholarships

San Diego State University’s Department of English & Comparative Literature offers a number of undergraduate scholarships for students majoring in comparative literature.

  • Christopher Mortenson Memorial Scholarship—awarded to a variety of majors, including comparative literature to cover the equivalent amount of fees and living expenses.
  • Honorable Scholar Award—awarded to comparative literature majors only. Amounts vary each year.
  • Charles Wei-Hsun Fu Endowed Scholarship in Chinese and Asian Philosophy—awarded to any major within the College of Arts & Letters, including comparative literature. Award amount is $1,000.

The University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee offers one comparative literature scholarship through the Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature. The Roy Arthur Swanson Merit Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who is majoring or has declared a minor in comparative literature. Applicant must have a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average in their major to be considered. Amount awarded is $500 in tuition and educational expenses.

Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee offers the Claiborne-Woodward Scholarship in Languages and Literature. This award is given to a junior or senior level student majoring or declaring a minor in English, foreign language or a writing program offered through the school’s Department of Languages and Literature.

Other Scholarships

Graduating high school students with a love for writing can enter writing competitions for literature scholarships. The Des Moines Women’s Club offers a $1,000 Literature Scholarship for high school seniors attending school in Polk County, or the bordering counties of Warren, Story, Madison, Marion, Boone, Davis, or Jasper. Three genres are required, including short story, poetry, and a narrative essay.

Tips for Getting Literature Scholarships

  • Dig a little. When seeking departmental scholarships, keep in mind literature scholarships may fall under other main departments, schools, or colleges, such as English, comparative literature, or English literature, languages, or something literature-related.
  • Start early. Many scholarships require time and patience, so start online research early so free money opportunities are not missed.
  • Know your deadlines. It is very important to note scholarship requirements AND deadlines to ensure all pertinent materials are submitted on time.

Additional topics

Financial-Aid Articles