Saint Mary's University Undergraduate Academic Writing Awards

This annual competition recognizes the best in undergraduate academic writing at Saint Mary's University.

Stay tuned for the 2019 award winners.

Awards are available in four categories: Humanities, Social Science, Science, and Business. There are also two levels of awards—lower (students with 60 or less total credit hours from any institution) and upper (students with more than 60 total credit hours from any institution). Papers at the upper level will be judged at a higher standard.

Winners of the awards are recognized as follows:

  1. Runners-up—two runners-up in each category and level are awarded a transcript notation

  2. Best in each category and level—awarded a transcript notation and publication in the undergraduate academic writing journal, Afficio

  3. Best in each category—awarded a cash prize of $100.00

  4. Best overall paper from all levels and categories—awarded a cash prize of $300.00

Students may submit one paper from both the Fall and Winter semesters in either Humanities, Social Science, Science, or Business.

Submission guidelines

Adjudication criteria

Winning papers are those that achieve the highest clarity of writing. Each paper will be evaluated according to the expectations and conventions of each discipline; however, each must adhere to the following criteria:

Demonstrates overall superior writing:

  • Clear and elegant communication of simple and complex ideas;

  • Solid grasp of specialized terminology within the discipline;

  • Clearly and easily defined terms;

  • Excellent use of English grammar and punctuation conventions.

Demonstrates an excellent grasp of the conventions of the assignment (e.g., essay, report):

  • Clear thesis/purpose statement, discussion, and conclusion(s);

  • Appropriate, logical and clear use of transitions, sections, and paragraphs;

  • Elements (e.g., title page, table of contents, figures, tables, appendices, etc.) are superior examples of the conventions of the discipline;

  • Fulfills course/assignment requirements (including specific instructions).

Components are excellent examples of academic work:

  • High quality of arguments/discussions;

  • Complexity or depth of ideas is demonstrated as related to course level and discipline.

Where research is a feature, it is smoothly integrated and presented:

  • Clear presentation and acknowledgement of others’ ideas within the structure of the student’s own ideas;

  • Use of supporting evidence in formulating arguments and demonstrating proofs;

  • Elegant use of quotations, paraphrases, and referencing;

  • Clear and consistent documentation in a recognized style.

Submission deadline is May 3, 2019 at 4:30 pm. No papers will be accepted after this day and time. Applications for the next round of awards will reopen in Spring 2020.

Papers must be:

  • Written by an undergraduate student

  • Written entirely by the student making the submission

  • From either Fall 2018 or Winter 2019 courses

  • Accompanied by the original assignment description from the course

  • Accompanied by the submission form, signed by the instructor of the course

  • Submitted as a clean hardcopy (with name removed), as well as an electronic Word file (submitted by e-mail or flash key).

  • Individually written: group assignments are not eligible

  • Submitted before the deadline.

Students must agree to participate in the publishing process to be published.

Students may submit a paper from any course from September to April, regardless of whether it is related to their primary discipline. For example, a student in Science may submit an English paper.

Adjudication procedure

A panel consisting of the writing centre director and faculty members from corresponding departments adjudicates competition.

Papers are adjudicated anonymously.

The panel may declare no winner in a category, if it is determined that no submissions in that category meet award criteria.


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