Best Dissertation Award Program

Nomination Deadline: Noon, April 12, 2019

Each year the Graduate School recognizes the University's top recent Ph.D. graduates by presenting 'best dissertation' awards. 
The recipients receive an honorarium of $1,000. The award is given in each of four broad disciplinary areas:

  • Arts & Humanities (including history and philosophy)
  • Biological & Medical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences & Education


Current and former students who will have been awarded the Ph.D., or who will have successfully defended and officially submitted their dissertations to the Graduate Student Services & Progress (GSSP) office, between July 1, 2017 and April 12, 2019, will be eligible to be nominated.  Relevant graduate programs that offer the Ph.D. may nominate one student.

Required Documentation

 A single PDF of the following must be uploaded to the electronic nomination form:

    1. Best Dissertation Summary Page (download form and complete)
    2. Curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages)
      • Highlight education and employment history.
      • List honors and publications.
    3. Nominating letter from the program Director of Graduate Studies.  The letter should comment on:
      • The candidate pool and selection process,
      • the originality and importance of research,
      • the potential for significant contribution to the field,
      • the nominee's comparative publication record and the quality of the journals, and other excellence indicators - e.g., discoveries, unique theories, inventions, creative products, patents, publications, book publication offers, job offers, professional organization honors.
    4. A letter of recommendation from the dissertation advisor.
      • IMPORTANT: Please send the letter to the program for upload with the nomination.
    5. A double-spaced layman's summary (one page), with a section on the significance of the research and, if available, the URL of the nominee's web site.
    6. A description of the dissertation research and its conclusions, written by the nominee.  Format requirements: 10 double-spaced pages with 12-point font, each page bearing the nominee's name and page number.  Appendices containing nontextual material, such as charts or tables, may be included in addition to the 10 pages.

    [Note:  The committee may ask for a copy of the dissertation in making final decisions.]

    Accessing the Electronic Nomination Form

    Electronic Nomination for this award can be accessed here. 

    The DGS or program staff will need to upload a single PDF of the required documentation. See instructions below. 

    1.  Create a Username and Password

    2.  Login to the electronic nomination form, complete the required fields, upload a single PDF of the required documentation, select SAVE/UPDATE or SUBMIT.

    • SAVE/UPDATE - You will remain in the form and may continue editing.
    • SUBMIT - You will exit the form.  A nomination confirmation email will be sent to the DGS and to the support staff indicated on the electronic form.
      • Both options save the nomination, overwriting any previously saved/submitted information, and enable Graduate School staff to access the information. 
      • Both options allow program staff to continue editing the nomination until the application deadline.

    3.  To make changes to a nomination, login as "Returning User" and select edit.

    Selection and Announcement of Awards

    The winner from each group will be chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area.  Both substantive quality and methodology will be judged.  Selection will be based on the originality and importance of the research, and the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to the discipline.