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Distinguished Thesis and Dissertation Awards

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

Dissertation and Thesis Award nominations are due annually by 5 PM (Central Time) on November 1st. If the first day of November falls on a weekend, then the due date is the following Monday.

Self-nominations are not accepted for the dissertation award; departments are asked to nominate a single doctoral graduate for this award.

Departmental and self-nominations are accepted for the thesis 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 Dean of the Graduate School 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.

 

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 2021 must have completed their degree and dissertation in fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021.
  3. Nominations should be submitted as a single pdf document by email attachment to . The nomination should include:
    1. Abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed five double-spaced pages). Appendices containing non-textual material, such as charts or tables, may be included as additional pages. All pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee.
    2. Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the nominee’s dissertation work. One of these letters is to be from the nominee’s dissertation supervisor, another from a member of the nominee’s dissertation committee, and the third a person of expert of the nominee’s choice (from within or outside the university).
    3. Nominee’s CV, up-to-date and no longer than five pages in length.
  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 Graduate School 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 and will be nominated for the CGS/Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Award.

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. Student self-nominations are also accepted. There are no limits on the number of self-nominations from a department or area program.
  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 2021 must have completed their degree and thesis in fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021.
  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 to . Each file should be title with the nominee’s last name and the title of the document (e.g., Ferguson_Faculty Support Letter, Ferguson_Abstract). The nomination should include (in the following order):
    • Letter of support form the program’s director of graduate studies (only required for departmental nominations; not required for self-nominations)
    • Letter from the faculty advisor/mentor describing the thesis’s contribution to scholarship
    • Abstract (no more than two pages) 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 Graduate School 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 Reception held in April. The winner will also be nominated for the MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Thesis Award.

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