Unless otherwise noted below, all application materials must be submitted by the applicant to the English Department office (Sierra Tower 706) by 4:00 pm May 4, 2018.  Please submit one paper copy of each required document. 

Application forms for individual awards (where required) are available in the English Department office (ST 706). 

Qualifying Essays

For most awards, essays and scholarly work submitted for consideration must have been completed between April 29, 20117 and May 4, 2018.  Thus papers completed at the very end of the spring 2016 (e.g., final term papers) semester will be eligible for many of these awards. 

To qualify for the Henry Van Slooten Scholarship in English essays must be nominated by the professor. 

Professors in the courses must nominate essays for submission to the Harry Finestone Award and the essays must come from 698D Fall 2017 or Spring 2018. 

Students applying for the Professor Mitchell Marcus award may submit their papers from any one of their courses in the CSUN English graduate program. 

** If you are currently receiving financial aid, please be aware that the bestowal of award money may affect your financial aid status.  We encourage you to consult the financial aid office to discover how receiving award money might impact your personal financial aid status.  

For awards requiring letters of recommendation from English Department faculty, students should request these letters as soon as possible.  At the bare minimum, students should ask if a professor will be willing to recommend them a week before the application deadline.  Many professors will need more time than one week.  Students should also inform their recommenders of pertinent academic information about themselves in a brief résumé (i.e. overall GPA; GPA in English major; membership in university organizations such as clubs, athletic teams, or student government; full or part-time employment status; other awards or achievements associated with CSUN).   

For awards involving an essay or writing sample, the maximum page length (if stated) does not include footnotes or a works cited list.  

If you have any questions about these awards, please contact Dr. Leilani Hall, 2017-18, Chair of the Awards Committee (or Dr. Kent Baxter, Chair of the Department of English ( )


The Henry Van Slooten Scholarship in English

A prize of $500 will be awarded to a student whose essay in ENGL 258, 259, 275, or 355 best demonstrates a passion for the English language.  

Application Requirements: Students cannot directly apply for this award.  Instructors must submit qualifying essays to Chair of the Awards Committee, either by e-mail or department mailbox.  Students: If you wish to have your essay entered into the competition, you may ask the professor you had for one of these courses if she or he would consider nominating your essay.  (And please e-mail or print a copy of your essay for the professor if she or he is willing to consider nominating it)


The Linda Nichols Joseph English Merit Scholarship

In memory of Linda Nichols Joseph, an English major who graduated from CSUN cum laude in 1981, up to four prizes of $2,000 each will be awarded every year to undergraduate English majors who have demonstrated excellence in their studies.  Particular consideration will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial need, who have taken a non-traditional path to college, or who demonstrate engagement in the discipline and/or commitment to further study in English.  However, all applicants who meet the minimum GPA criterion are encouraged to apply. 

Application Requirement:  minimum 3.5 overall GPA

Application Materials: completed application form; letter discussing the applicant’s qualifications for the award, including issues such as financial aid, and/or engagement in the discipline, and/or commitment to further study in English (1-2 pages); résumé or curriculum vitae; two letters of recommendation; Financial Aid release form (attached to application form). 


The Lesley Johnstone Memorial Award 

 A prize of $500 will be given to a student who is the author of the best written work on some aspect of the natural world or environment.  Eligible work, whether scholarly or creative, must have been written in an English class or for a class-related conference or publication.  

Application Requirements: Students will submit an application form and a copy of your essay to the English Department Office (ST 706). 


The Robert apRoberts English Honors Essay Prize 

To commemorate Robert apRoberts, Professor Emeritus and founder of the Honors Program, an annual prize of $250 will be awarded to the English Honors student whose paper completed in the Honors Revision Seminar (497A) is judged to be the best submitted during that academic year.  

Application Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in the English Honors Program.  And the student will submit an application form and a copy of the essay to the English Department Office (ST 706). 


The William L. Wilson Award

A scholarship of $1,600 will be given to an English major who plans to teach at the secondary level.  This scholarship honors the memory of William L. Wilson, a career Army officer who taught high school for many years upon his retirement from the U.S. Army.  The scholarship recognizes and encourages students who work diligently to get their degrees and achieve their career potential in spite of additional obligations such as work or family. 

Application requirements: Applicants must currently be either a junior or senior English major going on for a secondary single-subject teaching credential in English; possess people skills associated with the successful classroom teacher, such as maturity, purpose, and compassion; and be a strong student (CSUN GPA of 3.0 or higher). Applicants must submit the application form and a personal essay of no more than 350 words introducing herself or himself – including why she or he has chosen this field of study, and her or his personal circumstances and eventual career objective to the English Department Office (ST 706). A CSUN faculty member must complete the William L. Wilson Faculty evaluation form and submit it directly to the Chair of the Awards Committee.


The Philip E. Love English 205 Scholarship

A prize of $500 will be given each year to the student whose achievements in the study of Business Communication are considered by the faculty as the most distinguished.  This award honors the work and business contributions of Philip E. Love, a local entrepreneur whose success in the professional world occurred before he could finish his bachelor’s degree, and kept him from returning to complete it.  This award, thus, was conceived both to encourage and recognize continuing academic achievement for students who are also committed to the professional business world.  The Philip E. Love award is funded by his family. 

Application Requirements:  applicant must be a CSUN student enrolled in at least 6 units in the semester in which the award is bestowed, minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Application Materials:  completed Philip E. Love Scholarship application form (available in ST 706), faculty recommendation form completed by the applicant’s English 205 professor, business writing sample completed during the 2017-2018 academic year (2-page maximum), personal statement describing applicant’s understanding and commitment to strong business communication skills (1-page maximum). 



The Professor Mitchell Marcus Prize in English 

In memory of Mitchell Marcus, a former Professor in the Department (1958-1983), a prize of $3,500 will be awarded each spring semester to the graduate student whose achievements in the study of English are considered by the faculty as the most distinguished.  

Application Requirements: the candidate must have classified status as a graduate student, hold a minimum 3.75 GPA, submit the completed application form, two current letters of recommendation from English Department faculty, a personal statement (max. 2 single-spaced pages), and a writing sample (max. 20 double-spaced pages), résumé (max. 2 pages).  


The Mahlon Gaumer Award 

In honor of Mahlon Gaumer, a professor of English at CSUN from 1969-1997, who specialized in linguistics and Medieval literature, an award of $500 will be given to a graduate student who is the author of the best critical essay on English literature—with emphasis on the use of language.  

Application Requirements: application form, essay (max. 20 double-spaced pages), the essay will not have been considered in previous English department competitions, the applicant must be enrolled as a graduate student, papers must analyze English or American literature with an emphasis on the use of language.  


The Harry Finestone Award in English 

In honor of Harry Finestone, a gifted teacher and innovative administrator at CSUN from 1962-1983, an award of $750 will be presented each year to the graduate student with the most distinguished essay in the study of literature completed in the department’s capstone graduate seminar, ENGL 698D.  The essay must be nominated by the instructor of the course in which the student was enrolled. The Awards Committee will evaluate the nominated essays on the following criteria: originality of concept; potential scholarly impact; logical, effective organization; and clarity, coherence, and elegance of prose style.  

Application Requirements:  application form, minimum 3.5 GPA (verified by unofficial transcript), hard copy of the essay, letter from course instructor (submitted directly to the Awards Committee Chair) nominating the essay for this award. 


The Irene Clark Scholarship for Rhetoric and Composition

The Irene Clark Scholarship for Rhetoric and Composition awards $500 for a paper written by a Department of English graduate student on a topic in rhetoric and composition during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Application Requirements: application form, essay (max. 20 double-spaced pages), the applicant must be enrolled as a graduate student, essays must focus on a topic in rhetoric and composition.


The Angeline Olliff Memorial Scholarship

In memory of Angeline Olliff, a former graduate student and teaching associate in the Department of English, this scholarship will be awarded in spring 2018 to a Rhetoric and Composition graduate student or a Teaching Associate in any specialization (creative writing, literature, rhetoric and composition).

Application Requirements: application form, a writing sample or detailed lesson plan, and a cover letter of no more than 500 words that explains how their own research or teaching practices showcase how the power of language can affirm agency and subsequently elevate one's voice, as asserted in Angie Olliff’s words: “Somehow I had learned early on that there is power in having a voice, and my writing shows my often inelegant struggle to find this power, to assert (and often defend) my place.  I am encouraged, though, because my increasing awareness of both my evolving literary voice and my sensitivity to my environment will enable me to write more consciously. As I write more consciously, I will wield the words most meaningful to me, and I will use my voice with agency.”  The writing sample should show the student's proficiency in research that exemplifies the power of language. Essays can be assignments previously written for a class. Lesson plans and/or essay prompts must detail the expected student outcomes and be clear on how the lesson reinforces the power of language and finding one's own voice.