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Scholarships and Awards

In addition to scholarships offered by the university and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, we offer program-specific scholarships in English. 


Distinguished Alumni Board Scholarship

Amount: $1,500


-Incoming transfer student

-Demonstrated interest in the written word

-Dedication to the study of English

G. Burke Johnston Scholarship

Amount: $1000


-Rising junior

-Values learning, appreciation of English, commitment to community, and concerns for high personal and academic goals

Alfred E. Knobler Scholarships

Amount: $1,000 (3-4 scholarships)


-Love of learning, appreciation of English

-Commitment to community, high personal and academic goals

-Preference to applicants from underrepresented groups

Sharon Messer Memorial Scholarshipmail

Amount: $500

Due:  March 1 (No application required by students)


-Nomination by English faculty

-Graduating senior

-Love of literature

-Person who may have had to overcome sex role stereotyping

-Preference to applicants with interest in the 19th Century novel

Jenkins M. Robertson Society Scholarships

Amount: $1,500 (to be divided according to merit among as many as four designees)


Rising senior

-Academic achievement; 3.5 minimum GPA

-Extracurricular leadership or community service

Joyce Gentry Smoot Scholarship

Amount: $1000


-Rising sophomore


Application Open Dates: January 2-March 3, 2021

Submit Online

Contact Person: Patricia Morse


Charles Modlin Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship

Amount: $500 (2 scholarships)


-Declared English major or minor in good academic standing

-Admission to study abroad program(s) (may be after scholarship application deadline)

-Demonstration of financial need for study abroad

-Willingness to participate in the Department of English study abroad panel and to share photographs from study and travel!

Application Due: November 15 for spring programs, March 15 for fall programs, Applications for summer programs can be submitted before either deadline

To apply, submit a Modlin Scholarship Application.

The Steger Prize for Poetry

This annual poetry competition is open to all undergraduates at Virginia Tech. Poems should be about, or speak to, the future. Only one entry is allowed per person.

The first prize is $1000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $300. There are also Honorable Mentions. Winners will be announced and read their poems at a public event in April. The winning poems will be published on the Steger Award website. The submissions remain the property of the authors.

See the submission cover sheet for more details. 

The Martin Award for Literary Analysis

The Charles Martin Award honors the best critical essay on literature by a graduating senior in Literature & Language. Students graduating in December or May are eligible. Submissions must be analytical papers on literature and at least eight pages in length. The winner will be recognized at the English Department's May commencement ceremony and will receive a cash prize of $250. Those who submit must plan to attend.

See the submission cover sheet for more details. 

Robert Dedman Jr. Award for Professional Writing

This award is made possible by a generous gift from Mr. Robert H. Dedman, President of ClubCorp International, Inc. The prize recognizes outstanding work in professional writing. The winner demonstrates the ability to create effective prose that explains, instructs, or persuades for a specific audience and purpose. The award comes with a cash prize of $245. It is available for English majors and minors enrolled in professional and technical writing courses or internships.

The application deadline is April 6; see the award's call for submissions for more details. 

Armstrong Family Foundation Award for Design

The Armstrong Family Foundation Award for Communication Design recognizes outstanding communication design in professional writing. The award is presented for work that demonstrates the ability to design information for a specific purpose and audience. Submissions are evaluated in terms of the effectiveness of their communication design.

The award comes with a cash prize of $245 and the application deadline is April 6. See the award’s call for submissions for more details. 

Application Open Dates: Year Round

Application Form(s)

The Steger Prize for Poetry

The Martin Award for Literary Analysis

Robert Dedman Jr. Award for Professional Writing

Armstrong Family Foundation Award for Design 

Contact Person: Patricia Morse

We offer a limited number of full-time positions which require 20 hours of work per week, usually fulfilled by teaching two sections of undergraduate public speaking each semester. The position requires enrollment in 12 hours of graduate credit each semester. 

Details about Assistantships for PhD Students:

Teaching Assistant in Composition, Instructor of ENGL 1105, 1106, H1204, or 3754

Teaching Assistant in Professional Writing 

Research Assistant in the CSRS 

Assistant Editor of the Minnesota Review 

Writing Center Tutor 

Assistant to the Director of the Writing Center 

Assistant to the Director of Composition • Teaching Assistant in Engineering Communication 

Teaching Assistant in Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Research Assistant in CATH

Details about Assistantships for MFA:

We offer fully funded graduate teaching assistantships for full time enrollment in the program. You do not teach during your first semester but will teach composition in your first two years, and creative writing in your third year. The teaching load is 0-1, 2-2, 2-1. 

Details about Assistantships for MA:

A full-time position requires 20 hours of work per week, usually fulfilled by teaching two sections of an undergraduate writing course each semester.  Appointments as program assistants, to the Writing Center, or in technical support are also available.   

Duration of Funding

We normally offer 4 years of assistantship for funded PhD students, and 2 years for MA and MFA students. Contracts are for one year, with renewal depending on progress in the degree program and satisfactory performance of assistantship duties.  

Benefits of Assistantships

Assistantships provide these benefits:


-Tuition waiver

-Health insurance program (see the Graduate School benefits page for details)

Applying for Funding

A question on the Graduate School application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for a teaching assistantship. If you check yes, you will respond to additional questions and be added to our list of candidates. All new positions begin in the fall semester.

Please note that you do not need to submit separate applications to be considered for Graduate Assistantships.

Application Open Dates: Same as admissions

Deadline: February 1 

Contact Person

For PhD:

Katrina Powell 

For MFA:

Matthew Vollmer

For MA:

Charlene Eska