Awards & Prizes

In addition to Honors Opportunity Awards, as well as the external and KU scholarships students may receive, the University Honors Program provides financial support in recognition of various aspirations and accomplishments.

Philip Whitcomb Essay Contest

  • Award amount: $500
  • Submission due date: Friday, April 19, 2024

A committee of faculty judges selects a winning essay that addresses "the relationship of knowledge, thought, and action in public affairs and public policy.” Essays derived from an honors essay, term paper, or research project, are welcome. Submissions should be no longer than 5,000 words, must contain the title at the top-center of the first page and the author’s initials at the top-right corner of every page, and must not contain the submitter’s full name.

RWJ Scholars Award in Memory of Richard W. Judy

  • Award amount: $750
  • Submission due date: Friday, April 19, 2024

Students in the University Honors Program, preferably those in their sophomore or junior year, are invited to submit an essay addressing some aspect of entrepreneurship, workforce development, Russian and American relations, or their future. A review committee of honors program staff and faculty, appointed by the director, will evaluate essays based on their ingenuity, understanding of the factors that shape human potential, and depth of thought and planning. Winners are selected based on the strength of their essay and their academic record.

The Sara and Mary Edwards Paretsky Award for Creativity

  • Award amount: $500
  • Submission due date: Friday, April 19, 2024

The Paretsky Award for Creativity is given to a female student completing her junior year in the University Honors Program who has demonstrated creativity and originality in her chosen field. To be considered, students must submit an application that includes one copy of an example or set of examples (dependent upon the chosen field) of the student's creativity, along with a recommendation letter from a faculty sponsor in support of the project.

David Paretsky Honors Program Book Award

  • Award amount: $300
  • Nomination due date: Friday, April 19, 2024

Established by author Sara Paretsky in honor of her father David, a long-time KU microbiology professor, this $300 award helps cover fall textbook expenses for three deserving first-year honors students for the next academic year. Students must be nominated by their honors first-year seminar instructor. Nominated students will be contacted with a request to submit additional materials by a date specified in the email.

Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Outstanding Contribution Award

  • Award amount: $1,000
  • Nomination/recommendation due date: Friday, April 19, 2024

This annual award recognizes one University Honors Program student who has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and engagement in the program. The student receives a cash award and has the opportunity to inspire incoming first-year students at Honors Convocation. Beginning in 2023, students may be nominated by a faculty or staff member, or may self-nominate by submitting the application and then requesting a recommendation. After a review of nominee materials, which consist of a résumé and a brief statement on a proposed address topic, in-person interviews will be scheduled for finalists. Self-nominated students must have all materials, including their recommendation, submitted by the Friday deadline. Nominated students will be contacted via email with a request to submit additional materials by a date specified in that email.

Yarick-Morgan Prize for Excellence

  • Award amount: $10,000
  • Submission due date: Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This non-renewable scholarship, awarded for one academic year, recognizes graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences who have completed the University Honors Program and will pursue a graduate degree at KU. Along with a completed online application form, applicants must submit a curriculum vitae that highlights University Honors Program participation, a 500-word-maximum personal statement that states how the program enhanced their undergraduate education and helped prepare them for their future, and one letter of recommendation about the student's academic excellence and preparedness for graduate study, ideally from the student's undergraduate major.