Words in the World

As a senior you may enroll in Words in the World: Making the Transition from School to work. This is an opportunity to break into the real world of professional communications by designing, producing, and writing research-related projects for businesses and non-profit organizations.

New Voices

Every year playwrights at SUNY Oswego may enter a competition for best 10-minute plays. Winners are selected by a panel of judges. The winning plays are then paired with student directors from the theater program, resulting in staged readings of the best plays. This contest has been held at SUNY Oswego for over 20 years, making it one of the oldest ongoing competitions for undergraduate playwrights in the United States.

Scholarships, contests and awards

Every year the English and Creative Writing department offers a variety of scholarships, along with contests and awards that often provide cash prizes. Students can submit works in multiple genres and are eligible to be published. Students are highly encouraged to submit to national contests as well as local ones.

Gerhard D. Zeller Cinema Studies Outstanding Senior Award

This award was established by Diane Richards-Zeller in memory of her late husband, Gerhard D. Zeller.  Professor Zeller started the Native American studies and cinema studies programs at SUNY Oswego.  He was dedicated to innovation in new forms of literature and film and at making human connections.  This award honors a senior cinema studies major who has make the most significant contribution to the program.  To qualify for this award, a student must:  be a graduating senior cinema studies major who has make the most significant contribution to the program, have a minimum 3.00 GPA and demonstrate a commitment to his/her craft.

The Charles F. and Miriam B. Davis Creative Writing Awards

The Creative Writing Awards Contest is open to current SUNY Oswego undergraduate students and incorporates six different contests, covering five genres:

  • The Mathom Fiction Award for the best short story
  • The Rosalie Battles Creative Nonfiction Award for the best nonfiction piece submitted
  • The Norma Jean Yembrick Playwriting Award for the best one-act play submitted
  • The St. John Kincaid Screenwriting Award for the best first 10 pages of a full-length, screenplay
  • The Academy of American Poets Prize for the best poem submitted
  • The Lewis Turco Formal Poetry Award for the best sonnet submitted

Winners are chosen by professional writers, usually outside of the SUNY Oswego community. A monetary award is given to the best submission for each genre and winners are recognized at the Creative Writing Awards ceremony held at Quest in April.

Dr. Paul Briand Outstanding Senior Creative Writing Award

This award was established by award-winning author Alice McDermott '75 in memory of her professor and mentor, Dr. Paul Briand.  With Dr. Briand's encouragement, nurturing and support and with the affirmation from English department faculty members, McDermott recognized for the first time that she could be part of the American literary tradition.  This scholarship was established to inspire and encourage aspiring young writers.  The faculty of the Creative Writing Department will select a graduating senior who shows great promise in creative writing.

Helen Buckley Award in Creative Writing

The Buckley Award, named after Professor Helen S. Buckley (d. 2001), former member of the writing arts faculty and author of many books for children, recognizes a senior student majoring in creative writing for excellence in creative writing and in classroom achievement.  The nomination and selection of a recipient is make by the Department of English and Creative Writing faculty and announced at the spring Honors Convocation.

Charles F. Wells Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Charles F. Wells (d. 1994), for the purpose of funding a scholarship for a student who will be a senior majoring in English, Creative Writing, or Cinema and Screen Studies.  This scholarship recognizes scholarly achievement in the field of English and demonstrated academic excellence in English courses.  The applicant must be a full-time matriculated Oswego State student who will have completed 85 hours by the end of the summer session and have a GPA of 3.20 or higher.  Invitations to apply will be sent to junior English, Creative Writing, and Cinema and Screen Studies majors.  If you feel you have the qualifications to apply for this scholarship complete anPDF icon application. Applications are due Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

Dr. Richard Wheeler Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is established in the memory of Dr. Richard Wheeler to help provide financial support for a student who will be a junior or senior level English, Creative Writing, or Cinema and Screen Studies major next year who demonstrate excellence in the field.  Invitations to apply will be sent to sophomore and junior English, Creative Writing, and Cinema and Screen Studies majors with a SUNY Oswego GPA of 3.20 or higher.  To qualify for this award, a student must:  be a junior or senior next academic year (completed 27 or more credits, including transfer credits, by deadline) declared English, Creative Writing or Cinema and Screen Studies major, demonstrate financial need, demonstrate excellence in major and demonstrate established career goals by submitting a short 200-word essay describing objectives after graduation from SUNY Oswego.  If you feel you have the qualifications to apply for this scholarship complete an PDF icon application.  Applications are due Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

Erwin Palmer Outstanding Senior in Literary Studies Award

The Palmer award, named after the late professor emeritus Erwin Palmer (d. 2000), recognizes a senior student majoring in the literary studies track of the English major for distinguished classroom achievement.  The nomination and selection is make by the Department of English and Creative Writing faculty and announced at the spring Honors Convocation.

Georgia Barnes Scholarship

Arwin A. Hamm (Class of 1922) established a scholarship to be named in honor of his high school English teacher, Georgia Barnes.  This award recognizes the Department of English and Creative Writing's strongest junior or senior English, Creative Writing, or Cinema and Screen Studies student.  The selection is made by the Department of English and Creative Writing faculty and announced at the spring Honors Convocation.

Jean Hernon McDade '60 Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established by George Campbell McDade '60 (d. 2016) and his children in memory of Jean Hernon McDade '60 (d. 2004) who was a recognized educator, beginning her career as an elementary school teacher and ending it with a focus on the needs of adult learners at the collegiate level.  Jean was an advocate for those who have been denied opportunity and for those who lacked the resources, experience or ability to fully reach their potential.  The scholarship commemorates Jean's commitment to higher education and creating opportunities for individuals to improve their lives.  To quality for this award, a student must: be a sophomore or junior level (have earned 27-86 credits, including transfer credits, at time of application deadline), be a full-time declared major in English, Creative Writing, Cinema and Screen Studies, History, or Sociology, demonstrate humanitarian interests and achievements, demonstrate financial need, submit a letter of reference from advisor or another member of the faculty in major, submit a 300-500 word essay that demonstrates: commitment to your profession, experiences working with children and/or adult learners, volunteer activities and biographical information.  To apply for this scholarship go to alumni.oswego.edu/scholarships

Dean's Writing Awards

The Deans' Writing Awards program invites departments and programs across campus to select the best writing done by an undergraduate in every major during the calendar year. Winners are announced at Quest, and their work is published on the Writing Across the Curriculum website.

National Contests

The creative writing program encourages students to expand their writing resumes by submitting to contests and publications across the country and internationally.

Check the Creative Writing Contest Wall located on the 3rd floor of Poucher Hall (north end) for more information on contests in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, screenwriting and multiple genre. The wall is updated frequently with contest details and deadlines.