Prizes and Studentships

Prizes

A number of different prizes are available for students and graduate students. If you have any queries about the Faculty's prizes, please contact the Faculty Office.

When submitting your entry for a prize the term 'motto' denotes a short phrase (20 words maximum) by which a candidate can be identified to the judges while remaining anonymous. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry to the English Faculty Office.

Essays and Compositions

The winner for the Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize in 2019-20 was Michaela Coplen, for her entry 'Mass in the plastic cathedral.' The judges would like to thank all those who entered. The award ceremony was held at Wolfson College on Saturday 18 January 2020.

 

The English Faculty and Wolfson College are delighted to announce this year's poetry competition for Oxford postgraduate students.

This competition has been set up in memory of the late Professor Jon Stallworthy (1935-2014), poet and Fellow of Wolfson College, and is open to any student currently enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. The funding for the prize has been provided by generous donations to the English Faculty and to Wolfson College, Oxford from Old Possum's Practical Trust and from the Derek Hill Foundation (with thanks to Lord Gowrie).

The prize will be awarded, provided there is an entry of sufficient merit, for the best poem in English verse not exceeding 40 lines in length on the subject of 'Scrolls'. The value of the prize is £1,000, and entrants may submit up to three poems. The judges will include the Oxford Professor of Poetry, Alice Oswald.

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Friday of 8th week, Michaelmas Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto, multiple entries should be numbered. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

The award ceremony will be held (virus permitting...) at Wolfson College on Monday 18 January 2021.

In 2019-20, the Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize was awarded was not awarded. The judges would like to thank all those who submitted an entry, and wish them luck in the future.

The Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize, the value of which is £750, providing there is an entry of sufficient merit, is open to members of the University, who, on the closing date for receipt of essays, have qualified by examination for the Degree of BA and have not exceeded seven years from matriculation or have qualified by examination for any other degree of the University and have not exceeded four years from matriculation or, not being graduates of the University, are pursuing a course of study leading to a postgraduate degree of the University and have not exceeded three years from their matriculation. An additional prize, of £350, may be awarded. The subject of the prize is ‘The great safeguard is never to let oneself become abstract’. Essays are not expected to exceed 5,000 words, though no maximum length has been prescribed. The prize will not be awarded twice to the same person.

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 7th Week, Hilary Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

The winner for the Sir Roger Newdigate Prize in 2019-20 was Leung Rachel Ka Yin, for her entry 'the summer critter speaks not of frost.' The judges would like to thank all those who entered.

The prize will be awarded, provided there is an entry of sufficient merit, for best composition in English verse not exceeding 300 lines in length on the subject "Water-Forms".

The prize is open to current undergraduate students of the University. The value of the prize is approximately £450 (exact value to be determined by the Fund balance).

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Sir Roger Newdigate Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 8th Week, Hilary Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Multiple entries should also be numbered. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

In 2019-20, the Chancellor's English Essay Prize was awarded to Helena Telezynska for her entry ‘On Ambiguity’. The judges would like to thank all those who entered.

The Chancellor's English Essay Prize, the value of which is £250, providing there is an entry of sufficient merit, is open to members of the University who on the closing date for receipt of essays have not exceeded four years from the date of their matriculation. The subject of the essay is 'Ambiguity'. Essays should not exceed 12,500 words in length.  The prize will not be awarded twice to the same person.

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Chancellor's English Essay Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 8th Week, Hilary Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

The winner for the Shelley-Mills Prize in 2019-20 was Franklin Nelson, for his entry "‘Th[ese] thing[s] of darkness’: Transnational Caliban(s)". The judges would like to thank all those who entered.

This prize, the purpose of which is to promote the study of the works of William Shakespeare, providing there is an entry of sufficient merit, is open to members of the University who on the date of this supplement have not exceeded three years from matriculation; and who have not been a member of any other university for more than a year.

The value of the prize is about £80, and will be awarded for the best essay on the subject of: ‘Shakespeare, Race and Nation.' The essays should consist of about 5,000 words.

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Shelley-Mills Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 8th Week, Hilary Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

In addition, candidates must also submit a statement by the Head or Senior Tutor of their College that they have not been a member of any university other than Oxford for more than one year.

In 2018-19, the Lord Alfred Douglas Memorial Prize was awarded to Yvette Siegert for her poem ‘Minerva’. The judges would like to thank all who entered, and wish them luck in the future.

A prize of £500 will be awarded, providing there is an entry of sufficient merit, for the best sonnet or other poem written in English and in strict rhyming metre. Any member of the University, who is registered for a degree of the University, whether as an undergraduate or a graduate student, may enter for the prize. The prize shall not be awarded more than once to the same person. A copy of the winning entry shall be deposited in the Bodleian Library.

The prize is open to current undergraduate and graduate students. The maximum number of entries per person is three. 

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "Lord Alfred Douglas Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 1st Week, Trinity Term 2020. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Multiple entries should also be numbered. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

The subject for the 2018-19 prize was: 'I am the true vine' (John 15.1). The winner for the English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize in 2019 was Flora de Falbe for her entry 'Christo Velato'. The runner-up award was given to Professor Peter Davidson, for his entry 'The True Vine'. The judges would like to thank all those who entered.

The English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize runs every third year.  The next Prize will be open in 2022.

The poem must consist of not less than sixty or more than 300 lines. It may be blank verse or in any form of verse rhymed in couplets or stanzas. There is a tradition which discourages dramatic form of composition for this prize.

Candidates for the prize (value of about £2,000) shall be members of the University who, not later than the closing date for entries for the competition, shall have qualified by examination for a degree of the University; or shall hold the Degree of Master of Arts by incorporation or by decree or by resolution; or shall hold the status of Master of Arts; or shall have qualified by examination for a degree of any other university. The judges may, at their discretion, also make an award to the proxime accessit. Should no such award be made the value of the main award will be increased. The prize may not be awarded more than twice to the same person.

Entries should be submitted by email with the subject "English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize" to the English Faculty Office, not later than Monday of 8th Week, Trinity Term 2022. Authors should conceal their names and identify their entry documents with a motto. Please complete the contact details form and submit this alongside your entry.

In addition, candidates must also submit details of the degree awarded (title, university and date, which the Faculty will require proof of, before award of the prize).

Examination Prizes

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There are two prizes, each valued at £200. One will be awarded, if there is a candidate of sufficient merit, by the Examiner in the Preliminary Examinations in Classics and English to the candidate whose performance in that examination they judge the best.

 

The other prize will be awarded by the Examiners for the Final Honour School of Classics and English, to the candidate whose performance in that examination they judge the best. No special application is required for either prize.

Two prizes will be offered, if there are candidates of a sufficient merit, each of a value of £250. The first shall be for the best performance in Course I Paper 1 of the Final Honour School in English and its associated Joint Schools (as judged by the board of examiners for the relevant School).

 

The second shall be for the best dissertation on a subject dealing with the works of Shakespeare submitted by a candidate for the MSt in English or for Transfer from PRS to DPhil status (as judged by the board of examiners for the MSt course).

The prize, value about £150, will be awarded, if there is a candidate of sufficient merit, by Examiner in the Preliminary Examinations in English Language and Literature in Trinity Term each year to the candidate whose performance in that examination, or in part 2 of the Preliminary Examination in English and Modern Languages in the same term, they judge to be the best. No special application is required.

A prize of £100 shall be awarded for the best dissertation or dissertations, awarded the highest marks by the examiners for the Final Honours School in English Language and Literature in that academic year. No person shall be eligible for a prize who, on the date fixed for the written examination, will have exceeded nine terms from matriculation.

 

The Gibbs prizes in English Language and Literature are awarded as follows.

Ten prizes, of £100 each, are awarded on the results of Preliminary Examinations in English Language and Literature in Trinity Term 2019.

(The same candidate may be awarded the Mrs Claude Beddington Literature Prize and a Gibbs Prize.)

Prizes of £150 each are awarded for the following:

  1. Eight prizes for distinguished performance;
  2. the best extended essay, Paper 6;
  3. the best performance in a three hour timed examination;

A prize of £200 is awarded for the best dissertation, Paper 7.

Prizes of £300 each are awarded for the following:

  1. the best overall performance in Course I of the Honour School; and
  2. the best overall performance in Course II of the Honour School.

The Swapna Dev Memorial Book Prize for the best doctoral thesis in English literature at the University of Oxford was established in 2018 according to the wishes of her husband, and supported by his generous gift. The prize honours the interest that Swapna Dev had in English literature.  The prize will be £150 of books, to be chosen by the winner.

 

Brief bio of Swapna Dev [1949-2001]

After receiving her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Delhi University, Swapna taught for many years on the B.A. Pass and Honours courses in English at the Jesus & Mary College, one of the leading colleges of Delhi University. After moving to the US, she became a visiting scholar in Folklore & Mythology at Harvard University from 1983 to 1985. At Harvard, Swapna worked on the metaphysical symbolism of Buddhist Stupas. Professor Hugh Flick was her tutor at Harvard.

A lot of Swapna's writings, articles ranging from her childhood  to diagnosis of her cancer, were discovered by her husband after her death. These were collected and published as a book titled, "Reminiscences of a Departed Soul," and is available from the publishing company, Blurb [US].

Graduate Studentships

Details on studentships available for graduate study may be found here.