Outstanding Master's Thesis Awards

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

  • Life Sciences (1 award)
    • Biostatistics, biological and life sciences, biomedical sciences, chemistry, epidemiology, physics-biophysics, psychobiology, pharmaceutical sciences, allied health professions, and nursing.
  • Social Sciences, Business, and Education (1 award)
    • Economics, international relations, political science, government, public policy studies, sociology, urban studies, psychology, communications, social work, business and management, and education.
  • Math, Physical Sciences and Engineering (1 award)
    • Physics, chemistry (excluding biochemistry), environmental sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, and engineering.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts (1 award)
    • History, english, art, music, and theater.


Four awards, one in each of the broad fields, of $500 and a certificate of recognition will be presented by the Graduate School. Further awardees are eligible to be nominated to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis award competition: http://www.csgs.org/awards/master-thesis-award/


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, 2021. 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, 2021 to graddean@vcu.edu. Please indicate the field of competition in the subject line.

Evaluation Process

Each thesis will be reviewed by a faculty committee and will be evaluated on the basis of clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, research methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.


Back to Awards and competitions