To The Top

Distinguished Thesis and Dissertation Awards

MU’s annual Office of Graduate Studies Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award and Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award recognize the outstanding research and creative accomplishments of MU graduate students.

Self-nominations are not accepted; departments are asked to nominate a single student for each award.

Recognition Beyond MU

The winning thesis and dissertation may become MU’s nominations for prestigious awards beyond MU (e.g., the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ (MAGS) Distinguished Master’s Thesis and the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) Distinguished Dissertation Award).

The associate vice chancellor for graduate studies will nominate the highest-ranking thesis and dissertation in the specific discipline noted in the MAGS and CGS calls (eligible disciplines rotate annually), even if that thesis or dissertation is not selected as MU’s best for the year.

Nomination Deadlines

  • Call out for both awards: September 1
  • Nominations due to the Office of Graduate Studies for both awards: November 1 (if November 1 falls on a weekend, the due date will be the following Monday)

Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award

This award has been established to reward distinguished scholarship and research at the doctoral level.

Nominated dissertations should represent original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged.

Guidelines

  1. Each department or area program that offers a doctoral degree may submit one nomination.
  2. The effective date of the degree award or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation must be within the fall, spring, and summer semesters of the prior academic year. For example, students nominated in fall 2017 must have completed their degree and dissertation in fall 2016, spring 2017, or summer 2017.
  3. Nominations should be submitted as a single pdf document by email attachment to . The nomination should include:
    1. An abstract. Up to 10 double-spaced, numbered pages plus appendices containing non-textual material, such as charts or tables. Include nominee’s name on each page.
    2. Three letters of support evaluating the significance and quality of the dissertation work, from:
    • Nominee’s dissertation supervisor
    • Additional member of the nominee’s dissertation committee
    • Expert of the nominee’s choice from within or outside the University
    • Note: Letters not originally in electronic form should be scanned.
  4. Nominations will be evaluated on:
    • Clarity of writing
    • Scholarship
    • Methods or approach
    • Contributions to the field
  5. The nomination email attachments must be received by the Office of Graduate Studies by the prescribed deadline. The complete dissertations of finalists will be reviewed by the Graduate Faculty Senate Awards Committee.

The recipient will receive an honorarium of $1,000 during the Graduate and Postdoctoral Awards Banquet held in April.

Thesis Awards

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

This award has been established to recognize and reward distinguished scholarship and research at the master’s level.

Guidelines

  1. Each department or area program that offers a master’s degree may submit one nomination.
  2. The effective date of the degree award or the completion of master’s degree requirements and thesis must be within the fall, spring and summer semesters of the prior academic year. For example, students nominated in fall 2017 must have completed their degree and thesis in fall 2016, spring 2017 or summer 2017.
  3. Students who earned a doctorate or comparable research degree in any discipline prior to writing the master’s thesis are not eligible. However, recipients of a first professional degree (MD, DVM, JD, M. Arch.) awarded prior to the writing of the thesis may be nominated.
  4. Nominations should be submitted as one single pdf by email attachment (the thesis itself can be attached as a separate pdf document if need be) to . The nomination should include (in the following order):
    • Written endorsement of the program’s director of graduate studies
    • Letter from the faculty advisor/mentor describing the thesis’s contribution to scholarship
    • Two-page description of the study and its contribution to the field/discipline in language that can be readily grasped by scholars working in other disciplines. Include the title of the thesis and the author’s name
    • Electronic copy of the thesis
  5. Nominations will be evaluated on:
    • Clarity of writing
    • Scholarship
    • Methods or approach
    • Contributions to the field
  6. The nomination email attachments must be received by the Office of Graduate Studies by the prescribed deadline. The Graduate Faculty Senate Awards Committee will evaluate the nominations.

The recipient will receive an honorarium of $500 at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Awards Banquet held in April.