What is the Best Dissertation Award Program? 

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 areas:

  • arts & humanities (including history and philosophy)
  • biological and medical sciences
  • physical sciences and engineering
  • social & behavioral sciences and education

Who Is Eligible?

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, 2020, and April 8, 2022, will be eligible to be nominated. Relevant graduate programs that offer the Ph.D. may nominate one student.

Applications due by noon (CST), Friday, April 8, 2022.

Further Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Fellowships Office.

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Application Materials

  • Download form and complete.
  • Curriculum Vitae (not to exceed five pages).
    • Highlight education and employment history.
    • List honors and publications.
  • Nominating letter from the program Director of Graduate Studies. The letter should comment on:
    • Candidate pool and selection process.
    • Originality and importance of research.
    • Potential for significant contribution to the field.
    • 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.
  • A letter of recommendation from the dissertation advisor.
    • IMPORTANT: Please send the letter to the program for upload with the nomination.
  • A double-spaced layman's summary (one page).
    • Include a section on the significance of the research and, if available, the URL of the nominee's web site.
  • 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.
  • Additional Notes.
    • The committee may ask for a copy of the dissertation in making final decisions.
    • The DGS or program staff will need to upload a single PDF of the required documentation. See Electronic Nomination Form Instructions.
    • File name for single PDF upload must be in this format: LastName_FirstName_2022BestDissertation

Electronic Nomination Form Instructions

  • Access Electronic Nomination.
  • Create a Username and Password.
  • Login to the electronic nomination form, complete the required fields, upload a single PDF of the required documentation.
    • File name for single PDF upload must be in this format: LastName_FirstName_2022BestDissertation
    • 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.
  • To make changes to a nomination, login as "Returning User" and select edit.