Department of English Student Organizations and Resources

Affiliated Clubs and Centers

Signatures Magazine 35th EditionNow in its 36th year, Signatures is RIT's free, award-winning, student-run undergraduate literary and arts magazine. As a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the College of Art & Design (CAD), Signatures has won numerous awards, including the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Gold Star Award in 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 as well as the 2012 Design Award from ArtiST (Art in Science and Technology). We strive to show off the best of the best in student work, from poetry to painting to illustration to furniture design, and to encourage the liberal, performing, and creative arts at RIT and in the larger Rochester community.

For more information, including details on how to submit work and how to obtain back issues, visit Signatures Art & Literary Magazine or contact us.

The English Department hosts the newly launched Center for Engaged Storycraft (CES), an interdisciplinary center that exploits the potential of story and craft, in combination, to support research, creative production, education, civic partnerships, and professional workshops, all of which work to engage scholars, communities, and students in and through innovative practices and applications of story, story-based analytics, and technical craft.

Student Awards

The Department of English offers numerous awards for students. These awards include:

These awards acknowledge exceptional undergraduate work in RIT Creative Writing courses.

  • Open to currently enrolled RIT students
  • 3 Creative Writing categories: Poetry, Prose, Creative Nonfiction
    •     Analog and digital entries welcome
    •     Each category has specific submission guidelines
  • Work must have been written in an RIT Creative Writing course within the past year
  • Students self-nominate by submitting required materials
  • Annual submission (by students) deadline in March
  • Winners read their work at the April Creative Writing Awards ceremony
  • Submission Details:
    • Must be original creative writing
    • Writer must be an RIT student enrolled in the 2018 Spring semester
    • Work must have been written for an RIT Creative Writing class
    • Work must have been produced from Spring 2017 semester through Spring 2018 semester
    • Winners are chosen based on an entire body of submitted work (see requirements below)
    • Categories:
      • Poetry
      • Prose (Fiction)
      • Creative Nonfiction
    • Submit:
      • Open to analog or digital submissions
      • Poems: 3-6 (a minimum of 3 poems is required)
      • Prose/fiction: 2-4 pieces of 10-60 pages in total (a minimum of 10 pages is required, regardless of how many pieces you submit, with a maximum of 60 pages)
      • Creative nonfiction: 2-4 pieces of 10-60 pages in total (a minimum of 10 pages is required, regardless of how many pieces you submit, with a maximum of 60 pages)
      • For digital submissions, please provide a similar representative sample of your work, either uploading files or submitting publicly accessible URLs in a Word document
      • Writers can submit in multiple categories but each genre must be submitted separately
      • If work straddles two genres (for example, poetry and prose), choose the genre to which you feel the work is most closely aligned and submit in that category only
      • Submit work to…!
    • Deadline: Friday, March 23, 2018 at 5:00pm EST
    • Winners will be selected in April 2018 by faculty in the RIT English Department.
      • Award winners are invited to read their work as part of the RIT English Department Creative Writing awards, to be held Tuesday, April 17.
      • Cash prizes will be awarded in all categories.
    • Questions? Email

The fund awards undergraduate and graduate students for demonstrated excellence in language science/computational linguistics, with attention to project/research achievements.

  • Open to currently enrolled RIT undergraduate or graduate students
  • Nominations are made by Language Science Faculty Group
  • Annual nomination (by faculty) deadline in Spring   

This award is for a graduating undergraduate student demonstrating excellence in the study of literature.

  • Open to one currently enrolled, graduating RIT student
  • Nominations are made by English Department faculty
  • Nominations made for students meeting these requirements:
    •     Minimum of 3.5 GPA in ENGL courses
    •     Exceptional contribution to RIT that draws on ENGL coursework and/or the study of literature
  • Application must include:
    •     Three best examples of the student’s accomplishments in the field of English and study of literature (e.g., top three papers, papers and presentations, papers and student group or extracurricular activities related to literature)
    •     Student-compiled portfolio of work in all ENGL courses taken
    •     Cover letter
    •     Letter of recommendation/support from at least two English Department faculty
  • Annual nomination (by faculty) deadline in March

The Kearse awards recognize students who have written the most outstanding research papers or projects in areas of study in the College of Liberal Arts. There is one faculty-nominated awardee from each COLA department. Henry J. and Mary Geirin Kearse, lifelong advocates of education, endowed the award.   

  • Open to currently enrolled RIT students for papers written in College of Liberal Arts courses
  • One awardee from each COLA department
  • Student writing projects are nominated by English Department faculty, who select one to represent the department
  • Administered by the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office
  • Annual nomination (by faculty) deadline in March
  • Winners are presented their awards at the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Writing Awards in April

The McKenzie Prize honors students from First Year Writing courses for comprehensive portfolios of writing, research and critical reflections. Submissions are open to faculty nominations or student self-nominations. The award is administered by the University Writing Program.

  • Open to currently enrolled RIT students for work completed in an RIT First Year Writing course
  • Open to faculty nominations or student self-nominations
  • Administered by faculty of the University Writing Program, based on a full writing portfolio of work including multiple drafts, revisions and a reflection statement
  • Annual nomination deadline in February
  • Winners are awarded at the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Writing Awards in April

For submission details and required forms, see

RIT 2019 English Department Awards

Language Science and Computational Linguistics Student Excellence Awards

  • Alex Hedges
  • Leo Holman
  • Katharine MacLaren

Stan McKenzie Shakespeare Writing Prize

  • Eli Heisey

Creative Writing Awards

  • Poetry: Mickey White
  • Fiction: Valerie Clark
  • Creative Nonfiction: Red Smith-Sweetser