Mack Essay Contest

In his will the late William H. Mack left funds

“for the purpose of making possible, annually, the awarding of a cash prize to that student, or those students, who shall be judged to have submitted the best all around paper or papers in a College-wide authorized, Department-sponsored Student Writing Contest, in which participating contestants shall be free to write upon any subject of their own choosing excluding only the strictly engineering kind of subject, in any of the conventional literary forms, excepting the form known as a “technical report”.

Thus, the contest committee invites students to submit essays or papers on any subject except engineering.


  1. All engineering undergraduates enrolled for at least one term between January 2023 and January 2024 are eligible.
  2. A student may not submit a manuscript that has won a previous award.
  3. Students may not submit collaborations or translations.
  4. If an entry receives a Mack Award, the author must agree to indicate in a footnote or otherwise that this manuscript was granted a prize in the Mack Essay Contest in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, and indicate the year of the award.

The Mack Committee welcomes inquiries regarding the contest. For information, contact the Technical Communication Program at 734-764-1427 or email at

Requirements for Manuscript
A student may submit only one essay.  Essays should be edited for correctness in spelling, diction, grammar, and punctuation, and adequacy of footnotes or bibliography, as defined by a standard reference.

Note: Authors should consider the possible advantages of entering the annual Hopwood contest in the College of LSA in addition to the Mack Contest.

Criteria for Judging
Major Criteria

  1. Whether it meets the terms of the will quoted above
  2. Originality of the subject
  3. Grasp of the subject
  4. Effectiveness of focus and organization
  5. Clarity and effectiveness of expression

Minor Criteria

  1. Proper acknowledgment of sources and borrowed material, if any
  2. Correctness in spelling, diction, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure

All submissions are due on January 31, 2024!.


Decisions of the judges are final. Judges reserve the right not to award prizes if submissions do not meet required standards.