Thesis Prizes

History & Literature Prizes:

  • Edward Chandler Cumming Prize for the senior thesis of highest distinction.
  • Oliver-Dabney Senior Prize for a senior thesis of high distinction.
  • Barbara Miller Solomon Prize for a senior thesis of high distinction.
  • John Clive Prize for a senior thesis of high distinction on a topic in the field of Britain.
  • Perry Miller Prize for a senior thesis of high distinction on a topic in the field of America.
  • David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Prize for a senior thesis of high distinction in the field of Latin America.

Harvard College Prizes:

The following prizes are described in greater detail (and their deadlines are provided) in the Prize Office’s online listings. Other prizes listed there may also be relevant to History & Literature students.

  • Kwame Anthony Appiah Prize: For the most outstanding thesis relating to the African diaspora.
  • Helen Choate Bell Prize: A prize for the best essay (5,000-10,000 words) on a subject in American literature.
  • Lillian Bell Prize in History: Awarded to a student for the best paper on the Holocaust or other major twentieth-century event involving human tragedy. 
  • Alwaleed Bin Talal Prize for Best Undergraduate Thesis in Islamic Studies: For theses that make original contributions to current scholarly discourse on Islam and Muslim societies, past and present.
  • Boston Ruskin Prize: A prize for the best essay on the life, work, or interests of John Ruskin. The “interests of John Ruskin,” as revealed in his writing, include the following: aesthetics, medieval and renaissance culture, Romantic and Victorian literature, and Greek myths. 
  • Bowdoin Prize for Undergraduates: Open to all undergraduates who are residents at the University, for essays on any subject (no more than 7,500 words, including notes and references). 
  • The Class of 1955/Robert T. Coolidge Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Medieval Studies: A prize for the best senior thesis on any topic in Medieval Studies. 
  • Luisa Vidal de Villasante Award: Awarded by the Department of Comparative Literature for the best essay by a student, graduate or undergraduate, on any subject in the field of Comparative Literature; preference is given to subjects dealing in some way with Spanish Literature and/or language, either in themselves or in relation to other literature and/or languages.
  • Senior Thesis Prize in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights: This prize recognizes the best senior thesis on the topics of ethnicity, human rights, indigeneity, and migration, including but not limited to theses on topics in Asian American Studies, Latino Studies, and Native American Studies. 
  • Reverend Peter J. Gomes Prize in Religion and Ethnicity: A prize awarded annually to the Harvard College senior who has demonstrated social responsibility through public service and potential for distinguished contributions to the public good. 
  • James R. and Isabel D. Hammond Prize: A prize awarded for the best Harvard undergraduate senior honors thesis related to Spanish-speaking Latin America. 
  • Thomas T. Hoopes Prize: Multiple prizes awarded to outstanding senior theses. 
  • Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize: For the most outstanding thesis on a topic relating to African American life, history, or culture.
  • Joan Morthland Hutchins Thesis Prize in Latino Studies: For the best thesis on a subject concerning Latinos (either recent immigrants or established communities of Latin American descent in the United States). 
  • Dorothy Hicks Lee Prize: For an outstanding thesis on African American literature. 
  • Jonathan M. Levin Prize for Teaching and Social Justice: An award to the most promising undergraduate who intends to become a public school teacher.
  • Kenneth Maxwell Thesis Prize in Brazilian Studies:  A prize for the best Harvard College senior thesis on a subject related to Brazil.
  • The Committee on Medieval Studies Undergraduate Essay Prize: A prize for the best paper on any topic in Medieval Studies by a student in Harvard College. 
  • The Noma-Reischauer Prize in Japanese Studies: A prize for the best undergraduate essay on a Japan-related topic.
  • Norton Writer’s Prize: For an outstanding essay (1,000– 3,000 words) written by an undergraduate; any excellent writing done for an undergraduate writing class will be considered (national competition). 
  • Gordon Parks Foundation Essay Prize: For essays (no more than 7,500 words, including notes and references) that explore the relationship between visual art and justice as it pertains to racial equity. The essays can but need not focus on photography and films by Gordon Parks, but must address the convergence of visual art, justice, race, and citizenship.
  • Cynthia Wight Rossano Prize: For the best essay or multimedia presentation on any aspect of Harvard history.
  • Winthrop Sargent Prize: A prize for the best essay on Shakespeare, no longer than 20–25 double-spaced pages (not including endnotes). 
  • Philippe Wamba Prize: For the best senior thesis in African Studies. 
  • Selma and Lewis Weinstein Prize in Jewish Studies: Awarded to the Harvard College student with the best essay on a Jewish theme.