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Dorothy McGuigan Prizes

Every year, the Department of Women's and Gender Studies awards a number of prizes to students for excellence in feminist scholarship and practice. Awards are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Dorothy McGuigan Prizes for Best Essays on Women

Each year the Women’s and Gender Studies Department awards prizes for the best undergraduate and graduate essays on women written at the University of Michigan. The prizes honor the memory of Dorothy Gies McGuigan, a distinguished alumna of the University of Michigan who taught in the School of Business Administration and the Residential College.  Dorothy McGuigan was an early supporter of the Women's Studies Program and a founder and member of the editorial board of the University of Michigan Press series on Women and Culture.


Essays or papers written during the calendar year 2022 are eligible for the 2023 competition.  Students must have been enrolled at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campuses of the University of Michigan during the term in which they wrote the essay, but the essay does not have to have been written for a class.  The contest is open to all fields; personal stories, fiction and poetry are not eligible, although non-textual essays are welcome. For undergraduates, research papers must be 10-20 pages. Graduate student submissions should be no longer than 10,000 words of text, not including references.  Each author may submit only one entry and the essay must be written in English. Previous McGuigan Prize winners may not apply.

Papers written collaboratively by graduate students (e.g., with their advisor or other research team members) are eligible, on the condition that the student and advisor agree that the paper is largely driven (in conceptualization and composition) by the submitting student.


Essays are evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee for their contribution to our understanding of some aspect of women's lives or roles, as well as for their originality and clarity of presentation.


Please complete the application here:


Essays are due by Wednesday, March 15, 2023.  Winners will be announced in April.


An award of $750 will be presented to each winner.


Dorothy McGuigan’s many works include:  The Dangerous Experiment: 100 Years of Women at the University of Michigan (University of Michigan, 1970); The Hapsburgs (Doubleday, 1966) and Metternich and the Duchess (Doubleday, 1975).  In a citation for Distinguished Service to the University presented in 1975, the U of M Board of Regents noted that Dorothy McGuigan "is held in widespread esteem as a research historian and author and is widely acclaimed on campus as a true leader of women."