Scholarships & Opportunities

Several scholarships and awards, many of significant monetary value, are available each year to English majors. While most are based on academic merit, community service, or financial need, the annual departmental writing awards are based solely on writing samples. All students are encouraged to submit to the writing awards, and to apply to any scholarships and awards for which they meet the criteria.

Board of Visitors Award
An annual award is given each year to a VCU student with an outstanding GPA (3.7 or higher) who has displayed a history of community engagement on the VCU campus, the local Richmond community, and beyond.  Students who wish to be considered for this award should send a letter detailing their community engagement, along with a resume, to John Brinegar ( no later than September 30th.

E. Allan Brown English Scholarship
In honor of the long-time chairman of the Department of English , a scholarship is awarded each year to an English major of rising senior status (75–90 credit hours) who has an outstanding GPA (usually 3.7 and above.) Students who meet these criteria are invited to submit applications at early in the spring semester.

The Dinah Grossman-Wolfe Book Award
This award, established by Mrs. Marilyn Ruben and husband Joel Ruben in memory of Mrs. Ruben’s mother and a 1968 graduate of the VCU English Department undergraduate program, Dinah Wolfe, provides recognition, incentive, and limited financial help to a rising junior English major (60-75 credit hours) with a GPA of at least 3.5 or higher who is having difficulty meeting the costs of completing an education at VCU.  This book award is designed to help the student offset his/her educational expenses related to textbook purchases. Candidates should show a strong commitment to creativity, active participation in cultural events, and proven scholarship. Students who meet these criteria are invited to submit applications at early in the spring semester.

The Riely Scholarship for Women
This scholarship, funded by and honoring the family of a two-degree graduate of the VCU English department, Jean Roy Riely, is offered to a rising junior or senior class English major with demonstrated merit who has returned to higher education after a significant absence and who demonstrates experience with or a commitment to the advancement of women in English studies. Students who meet these criteria are invited to submit applications at early in the spring semester.

English Department Writing Awards
Each spring the English Department offers monetary prizes to students in the following categories: Critical Essay, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry.  The call for submissions begins late fall semester and runs through early to mid February, and is open to the entire VCU student community, though English majors who have taken creative writing courses are strongly encouraged to submit. (Note: the category of Critical Essay is restricted to essays on literary topics.)  For submission guidelines contact

Outstanding English Major
Each semester at least one graduating English major is selected for this award. Criteria for selection include outstanding grade point average (3.7 or higher), record of service to the department, school, university, and community, and recommendations of faculty. Eligibility for this award is determined from graduation applications. No separate application is necessary.  

The Black History in the Making Award
This award is given each year to an African American English major of rising junior or senior status (60–90 credit hours) who has a strong GPA (3.5 or higher) and shows potential for graduate level work.  The English faculty chooses a recipient each spring. No application is necessary.

English majors can receive course credit for internships involving writing, editing, research, or teaching.  Although not required for graduation, internships can provide students with professional experience and a sense of how their major can translate to a work setting.  For a list of area organizations and businesses that offer internships to VCU English majors, contact Students interested in Blackbird internships should email the Blackbird managing editor at

Distinguished English Major Program
The Distinguished English Major Program offers high-achieving students the opportunity to write a scholarly, creative, or scholarly/creative hybrid thesis during their senior year. A sustained and in depth engagement with a topic in order to develop one’s own ideas is the hallmark of advanced achievement in the humanities, and this program offers students the chance to complete such a study. In a two-semester (6 credits) sequence, students admitted to the program work with a faculty advisor to create a 30–40 page thesis suitable for application to graduate study in MA, MFA, or PhD programs as well as for publication in an undergraduate journal. Rising seniors with a major GPA of 3.75 or higher and an overall GPA of 3.33 or higher are eligible for the program. Students who complete the program in high standing as determined by their faculty advisors and a select group of other Department of English faculty will be recognized at the Department of English commencement ceremony. For more information about the program, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies: John Brinegar: Download the Distinguished English Major Program Application.

If you have additional questions, here are some relevant contacts:

You can also email for any other general questions. 


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