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All Programs

Department of English

The programs of the Department of English extend beyond the classroom to provide a number of services, experiences, and opportunities for both majors and non-majors.


The Oswald Review

The USC Aiken Department of English sponsors The Oswald Review , an international journal of undergraduate research and criticism in the discipline of English. Published annually, The Oswald Review , is a refereed journal that accepts submission from undergraduates in the field of English in this country and abroad. All issues are available online at

Broken Ink

The English Department supports Broken Ink , USC Aiken's award winning literary magazine. The magazine, produced entirely by student staff and contributors, is published annually and offers students the opportunity to publish their creative writing and art, as well as provide experience in editing, layout, and magazine production.

Honor Society

Sigma Tau Delta

Since 1986, the English Department has sponsored a campus chapter (Epsilon Upsilon) of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. This international organization recognizes academic achievement and promotes interest in literature and the English language; membership is offered on an invitational basis to superior students majoring or minoring in English or pursuing a degree in English Education.


Mona L. Martin Prize in Freshman Writing

In honor of alumna Mona Martin (B.A., English, 1995) the prize is presented annually on a competitive basis to a first-year student who demonstrates excellence in expository writing. The award is presented in the form of a scholarship.

Kaplan Writing Award

The Kaplan Writing Award is given annually on a competitive basis to the student whose writing exemplifies the qualities valued and stressed by Professor Virginia Kaplan during her years of teaching English at USC Aiken: depth of thought, clarity of expression and command of language. The award is presented in the form of a cash prize or scholarship.

Phebe Davidson Creative Writing Prize

In honor of distinguished South Carolina poet and USC Aiken professor emerita Phebe Davidson, this prize is offered annually on a competitive basis to a full-time student at USC Aiken whose work demonstrates superior achievement in creative writing. The prize is awarded in the form of a scholarship or cash award.

Dr. Ellen Lott Smith Scholarship

Ellen Lott Smith established a generous endowment fund which provides an annual scholarship to a student majoring in English or English Education.  The scholarship recipient will be chosen by means of an essay competition to be administered by the USC Aiken English Department each fall.


James and Mary Oswald Distinguished Writers Series

Since 1985, the English Department has brought to Aiken a number of distinguished visiting writers. During that period, such significant literary personalities as Nikky Finney, Peter Taylor, Marge Piercy, Mark Strand, Donald Hall, Alison Lurie, Alan Gurganus, and Robert Creeley have visited USC Aiken, interacted with students in English classes, and presented free public readings of their work.

Western Carolina Language Arts Festival

The Department of English hosts the annual Western Carolina Language Arts Festival. Through open competition in a variety of performance categories related to literary study, this one-day event recognizes outstanding work by area public and private school students in grades six through twelve.

Experiential Learning 


The Department of English administers a number of internship opportunities so that those students majoring in English can gain hands-on experience in professional writing. These include internship agreements with local businesses and government agencies and campus-based small presses and scholarly journals. Interested students should see the Department Chair for more information.

Writing Center

Located in room 112 of the Humanities & Social Sciences Building, the Writing Center is open to all USC Aiken students seeking feedback on any of their written projects. Students are welcome to use the the Writing Center on a "drop-in" basis, but appointments are recommended. Qualified students can also become consultants in the Writing Center, earning both valuable experience and financial compensation.

Special Courses 

In addition to regular course offerings, the English Department also offers special topics and special interest courses. Some of these courses, such as creative writing, are offered on a regular basis, while others can be offered when there is sufficient student demand.