Awards and Grants


GSAS Matching Travel Funds are available to students who are in good-standing.  Only once each academic year, such students may apply to GSAS for reimbursement of expenses related to presenting papers at professional conferences. GSAS will match up to $300 of the Department's award for travel expenses only. Applications, available here or from the Graduate Studies Coordinator, are submitted in advance of the conference date according to the following schedule; late applications will not be accepted.

Students eligible for GSAS travel grants must apply for them in order to be considered for a departmental grant.  For a full description of the departmental grants, including deadlines (which roughly follow those of GSAS), please read our Departmental Grants guidelines.  For a departmental grant application form, download this PDF. Normally the awards cannot exceed $400 in the first application year, $300 in the second application year and $250 in subsequent years.

Students must submit original receipts to the department upon their return from a conference, before reimbursement checks can be processed. Boarding Pass stubs must be submitted with e-ticket receipts. Travel grants cannot be awarded without original receipts.

Departmental funds for travel to conferences are subject to availability.  In order to make awards available to the greatest number of students possible, priority in making awards will be in inverse proportion to previous support:  the more money you have previously received for conference travel, the lower your priority will be for receiving a new award in any given year.

Each year the department presents a number of special prizes. Although most are awarded for written work done during the year, students may not always apply for these awards directly. In some cases a faculty member must nominate the student or the student's work for the award. Miron Cristo-Loveanu Prize. In memory of Miron Cristo-Loveanu (graduate student in English, 1941-42), the faculty awards a prize for the best Master's Essay in the department. Nomination required.

  • Robert John Bennett Memorial Award. In memory of Robert John Bennett (M.A. English, 1968), an award given for the best paper expressing original thought either in the field of comparative literature or between literature and such fields as science, music, and art. All GSAS departments may participate, but each ordinarily makes only one nomination. The submission need not have been written to fulfill an academic requirement.
  • Van Rensselaer Poetry Prize. The department offers a prize to any degree candidate who writes the best unpublished example of English lyric verse.
  • The Bunner Award. In memory of Henry Cuyler Bunner, this award honors the candidate for a Columbia degree who presents the best essay on any topic dealing with American literature.
  • The Marietta C. Pino Book Award. Given by Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Pino, in memory of their daughter who was a student in the Department, this award is intended to help promising graduate students purchase course-related books. Financial need is the most important criterion.
  • M. C. Cohen Dissertation Prize. Awarded biannually. A gift of Dr. Cohen, who received his Ph.D. from the department. Awarded for the most distinguished dissertation of the previous two years. Nomination required. 
  • The Rachel Wetzsteon Prize has been established in loving memory of Rachel Wetzsteon, an esteemed poet, editor, and member of the Columbia University Ph.D. class of 1999. It shall be awarded annually to that candidate for the M.A. degree with the best Master's thesis on either twentieth- or twenty-first century poetry. Continuing and terminal masters students shall be eligible for the prize.