SHASS Departmental Awards
The following is a list of awards and prizes available to MIT undergraduates from the MIT SHASS academic disciplines:
Anthropology | Comparative Media Studies / Writing | Economics | Global Studies and Languages | History | Literature | Music | Political Science | Science, Technology, and Society | Women's and Gender Studies | School Awards and Opportunities
The annual James Howe Prize honors the contributions of Professor of Anthropology James Howe, who retired in 2012. Professor Howe's scholarship has focused on the history and political struggles of the indigenous Kuna population in Panama. A renowned photographer and political activist, not only has Howe's ethnographic work supported the rights of the Kuna people, as a longstanding board member of Cultural Survival — an organization that provides support to and advocates on behalf of the linguistic, cultural, and property rights of indigenous populations around the world — Howe has promoted human rights throughout his distinguished career. The James Howe Prize is awarded each spring.
The Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes are awarded every May by MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. This competition was named in honor of the late Ilona Karmel, novelist, poet and Senior Lecturer in the writing program. Throughout her teaching career, Karmel’s outstanding contributions to creative writing at MIT were her inspirational teachings and relationships with students.
Ellen King Prize for Freshman Writing
Writing by freshmen at MIT in any category is eligible; e.g., short story, poetry (must contain at least three poems), essay, and drama.
Enterprise Poets Prize for Imagining a Future
Essays, short stories or poems, that convincingly imagine a future human enterprise are eligible. The word enterprise is used in the broadest possible sense to cover products, processes, companies, industries, forms of government, social movements, artistic forms – any human endeavor. This prize is open to undergraduate and graduate MIT students.
Robert A. Boit Writing Prize
Writing by MIT undergraduate students in the categories of essay, poetry and short story is eligible.
S. Klein Prizes: Scientific Writing
Manuscripts should be intended for non-specialized but educated audiences and show evidence of publishable quality. Open to MIT undergraduate and graduate students.
S. Klein Prizes: Technical Writing
Manuscripts should be intended for an audience of peers and professionals. Open to MIT undergraduate and graduate students.
DeWitt Wallace Prize for Science Writing for the Public
Writing of any length addressed to lay audiences on issues and developments in science, medicine, and engineering. Open to MIT undergraduate students only.
Boit Manuscript Prize
Awarded for longer works and collections, in any category mentioned above, which give evidence of publishable quality. Both completed manuscripts and those in progress are eligible. Works of substantial length by MIT undergraduate students are eligible in the categories of fiction, poetry (minimum length of 200 lines or 10-15 poems), essay, and drama (a play in one act or equivalent).
Writing and Humanistic Studies Prize for Engineering Writing
Manuscripts should be intended for an audience of engineers and other professionals who are knowledgeable about the subject matter. Writing from any engineering discipline is welcome. Types of papers may include design documents, engineering lab reports, literature reviews focused on a particular technology or engineering problem, design reports or proposals, and analyses of testing or other experiments. Group- written reports are acceptable if all authors are MIT undergraduates at the time of submission.
Prize for Writing Science Fiction
Writing by MIT undergraduate students in the category of science fiction short story.
Vera List Prize for Writing on the Visual Arts
Open to MIT undergraduate and graduate students. Writing should demonstrate unusual and thoughtful expression on some aspect of contemporary visual art. Works can be prose, poetry, or graphic format. Sponsored by the List Visual Arts Center.
Undergraduate Economics Association Journal Prizes
To acknowledge excellence in writing in the field of Economics, the Undergraduate Economics Association prints the MIT Undergraduate Journal of Economics at the end of each academic year. Three cash prizes are given for the best three papers submitted. The best five or six papers are printed in the journal. For more information, please email Gary King.
Awarded annually, the MIT Award For Excellence in Global Studies and Languages is presented to an outstanding student of languages. The award includes a monetary prize to be used for international travel and lodging for the undergraduate student who best reflects the Section’s goals for achievement of proficiency in language, cultural understanding and enthusiasm in language learning. The stipend must be used in a country whose language the grantee has studied at MIT and must be used by February 1st of the following year.
The Isabelle de Courtivron Prize seeks student writing submissions on immigrant, diaspora, bicultural, bilingual, and/or mixed-race experiences. It is open to all MIT undergraduate students. Entries will be judged by a panel of faculty and professional writers. The Isabelle de Courtivron Prize was established by MIT’s Center for Bilingual / Bicultural Studies to reward high-quality undergraduate writing (creative or expository) and to honor distinguished Professor Emerita Isabelle de Courtivron. De Courtivron, a professor in MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, was one of the founders of the CB/BS. The Prize was established on the occasion of her retirement in 2010 and is awarded on an annual basis.
The Palitz Fellowship is an exciting new research and international education opportunity for MIT undergradutes. The 6-month term as a Palitz Fellow includes the Spring semester in preparation with a faculty supervisor, followed by summer study in the Hague, with access to the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. Areas of study can include any aspect of culture, art, or history in the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age, for example: history of science, horticulture, or cartography; the art market; economic history; or the technologies of print making and book production.
The Undergraduate Writing Prizes in History award excellence in historical research and writing in honor of MIT Historians John Dower, Pauline Maier, and Bruce Mazlish.
Awarded to a literature major each spring who excels academically and is an engaging participant in the literary community at MIT.
The Poetry Prize is awarded to students who excel academically in 21L.004 “Reading Poetry” and enrich the poetry community at MIT more broadly.
Funded by Mr. Cherry L. Emerson, Jr. (SM, 1941) the Emerson Program offers merit-based financial assistance for private lessons to MIT students who demonstrate outstanding achievement on their instrument or voice in classical, jazz or world music. Each academic year private study scholarships and fellowships are offered to approximately 50 qualified students out of about 100 who apply and audition. Private teacher selections, made in consultation with the music faculty, may include instructors from MIT or from the greater Boston musical community.
An MIT student soloist will be selected each spring to perform with the MIT Symphony.
Talented MIT undergraduates are recognized annually with the Jeffrey L. Pressman Award for research or internship in U.S. government, politics, policy, law, or education. Pressman Awards include stipends in support of special summer projects or internships in issues related to American politics. The project should focus on a legal, political, institutional, or policy issue. All MIT undergraduates returning to campus as undergraduates in the fall semester are eligible to apply.
The Benjamin Siegel prize was established in 1990 by family and friends of the late Benjamin Siegel (S.B. 1938, Ph.D.). The Prize of $2500 is awarded to the MIT student submitting the best written work on issues in science, technology, and society. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students from any school or department of the Institute. Submissions must be a single-authored work of no more than 50 pages written within the last two academic years.
The writing prize, sponsored by The Program in Women's and Gender Studies (WGS), was started in 1995-96 to honor Louis Kampf, distinguished professor emeritus of Literature and Women's Studies, and to reward high quality undergraduate writing in women's and gender studies. The Prize is judged by faculty from WGS. MIT students can submit entries in different genres of academic writing as well as fiction and poetry. Submissions should provide thoughtful reflection using gender as a central category of analysis.
The Burchard Scholars Program brings together distinguished members of the faculty and promising MIT sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated excellence in some aspect of the humanities, arts, or social sciences. The format is a series of dinner seminars that reflect the vast range of inquiry and research in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science.
The Kelly-Douglas fund supports projects that enrich our understanding of one or more of the fields comprising the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT.
To acknowledge outstanding achievement by undergraduate students intellectually committed to fields of study that fall under the purview of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT, the Kelly-Douglas Fund awards two cash prizes to the best essays in any field of study within SHASS.
An important dimension of the Kelly-Douglas Fund is the support for and encouragement of undergraduate education in the humanities, arts and social sciences. A portion of the Fund is reserved for Traveling Fellowships for MIT pursuing an endeavor of their own devising either during IAP or the Summer. All MIT sophomores, juniors, and seniors wishing to travel during IAP or Summer to deepen their understanding of a field in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, or to contribute to a humanitarian project are eligible to apply. Students need not belong to the School of HASS, though majors and minors in the School will be given preference.