Dissertation and thesis awards

Each year the Graduate School recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertations and master’s theses in four broad academic fields:

  • Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Business and Education
  • Math, Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • Humanities and Fine Arts

Awards

  • Distinguished Dissertation: Four awards of $500, one in each of the broad fields, and a certificate of recognition will be presented by the Graduate School. Awardees are eligible to be nominated to compete in the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition. 

  • Outstanding Thesis: Four awards of $500, one in each of the broad fields, and a certificate of recognition will be presented by the Graduate School. Awardees are eligible to be nominated to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis award competition.

Academic fields

Life Sciences

  • Biostatistics
  • Biological and life sciences
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Epidemiology
  • Physics-biophysics
  • Psychobiology
  • Pharmaceutical sciences
  • Allied health professions
  • Nursing

Social Sciences, Business and Education

  • Economics
  • International relations
  • Political science
  • Government
  • Public policy studies
  • Sociology
  • Urban studies
  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Social work
  • Business and management
  • Education

Math, Physical Sciences and Engineering

  • Physics
  • Chemistry (excluding biochemistry)
  • Environmental sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Computer sciences
  • Engineering

Humanities and Fine Arts 

  • History
  • English
  • Art
  • Music
  • Theater

Nominations

Distinguished Dissertation 

VCU school/college deans or their designee may nominate one person in each of the broad fields whose dissertation has been accepted in partial fulfillment of Ph.D. degree requirements during the past academic year (summer through spring). Embargoed dissertations are not eligible for these awards.

The school/college dean or designee shall submit a nomination dossier to be received no later than June 1, 2022.

The nomination packet consists of:

  • CGS Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Awards nomination form.
  • An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation; not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages. Appendices containing other materials, such as charts, tables and/or references, may be included as additional pages.
  • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the nominee’s dissertation from the nominee’s dissertation advisor, another member of the nominee’s graduate advisory committee and a third person of the nominee’s choice.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae; not to exceed five pages.

An email with the nomination materials should be submitted to the Graduate School as a single pdf document no later than June 1, 2022 to graddean@vcu.edu. Please indicate the field of competition in the subject line.

Outstanding Thesis

VCU school/college deans or their designee may nominate one person in each of the broad fields whose thesis has been accepted in partial fulfillment of master's degree requirements during the past academic year (summer through spring). Embargoed theses are not eligible for these awards.

The school/college dean or designee shall submit a nomination dossier to be received no later than June 1, 2022.

The nomination packet consists of:

  • A web link to a thesis or an electronic copy submitted by email.
  • Letters of endorsement from the nominee’s thesis advisor and the graduate program director or the school/college dean.
  • An abstract of the thesis (1-2 pages, double-spaced), prepared by the nominee.
  • A brief resume or CV on the nominee (1-2 pages).

An email with the nomination materials should be submitted to the Graduate School as a single pdf document no later than June 1, 2022 to graddean@vcu.edu. Please indicate the field of competition in the subject line.

Evaluation process

Each dissertation and thesis will be reviewed by a faculty committee and will be evaluated on the basis of methodology, substantive quality of the work and significance to the discipline.