In addition to special events that are advertised on our events page and also sent to English majors and minors in our bi-weekly e-newsletter, current English students are invited to join and participate in activities sponsored by the Iota Psi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, as well as submit essays to the annual English Major Essay Contest and the new annual Creative Writing Prize.


Membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, is an outward recognition of personal accomplishment. It provides opportunities for those interested in English language and literature to join with like-minded persons on the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Iota Psi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta was founded at St. Thomas in 1988.

Students who have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in English courses, rank at least in the highest 35 percent of their class in general scholarship, and have completed at least three semesters of university level work are eligible to apply for membership. There is a one-time membership fee of $40 for new members. For more information about Sigma Tau Delta, please check out its national website or write to Dr. Liz Wilkinson, faculty advisor for Iota Psi.

Benefits of Membership

  • Members receive a certificate attesting to membership in the Society and the Society pin
  • Members receive a one-year subscription to Sigma Tau Delta publications with their induction fee: one fall newsletter, and two journals, The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle and The Sigma Tau Delta Review(mailed in spring)
  • Members can compete for several $1,000 to $4,000 scholarships and awards
  • Members can apply for internship opportunities with major publishing companies
  • Members can submit papers for presentation at the annual spring Sigma Tau Delta International Convention
  • Members can submit papers for publication in The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle and The Sigma Tau Delta Review
  • Members who are in good standing at the end of their senior year will receive an honors cord for the commencement ceremony 


English Major Student Essay Contest

Any undergraduate student who has 48 or more total credits and has officially declared a major in English, a major in English with Writing Emphasis, a major in English with a Teacher Education Emphasis (5-12), or a major in Literary Studies may enter this contest by submitting an essay written for any ENGL 211 or above English course during the 2014-2015 academic year. Should a minimum number of entries not be received by the contest deadline, the department reserves the right to award no prizes.


  • The submission must analyze a text (literature, poetry, or drama) or a topic related to literary studies (such as film pedagogy, writing theory) from one or more critical perspectives 
  • The essay will be judged on the thesis, the use of evidence to support that thesis, the strength of conclusions, academic merit, literary merit, and creativity of thought
  • Submitted essay must be fifteen pages or less (this page count does not include the works cited page)
  • No more than one submission per student

Format for Submissions:

Essay should be typed, double-spaced. Please paperclip the formal essay pages together—do not staple. Since it will be judged blindly by a panel of English faculty, do not include your name on the essay itself, just a title. With your essay, submit a cover sheet that includes your name, the essay title, the class for which the essay was written, the instructor’s name, and your UST email address. You have the option of discussing your essay submission with your instructor for revisions and suitability. Please note that your submitted essay will not be returned.


Essay must be received by the English Department administrative office (JRC 333) by 3 p.m. on Friday, April 24th.


A first prize of $150 and one second prize of $100 will be awarded.

Second Annual Creative Writing Prize

The University of St. Thomas English Department is pleased to announce the second annual Creative Writing Prize to honor Lon Otto, Professor Emeritus of English, and his deep and robust legacy in creative writing and to celebrate the best writing by UST students in fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction. Work of any length is welcome, and $500 in prizes will be awarded to the best work(s) as evaluated by the editors of the Summit Avenue Review and the creative writing faculty. The winner(s) of the prize will be featured in this year's Summit Avenue Review and celebrated at the magazine's release reading in early May.

To be considered for the prize, students should submit work using Submittable link on the Summit Avenue Review submissions page. Work already submitted for this year's Summit Avenue Review will be considered for the prize, and all work submitted for the prize will also be considered for publication in the magazine. The deadline for consideration is Monday, March 2, 2015.