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Graduate School

CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Sponsored jointly by CGS and ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, a Division of ProQuest Information and Learning, and first presented in 1981, the Distinguished Dissertation Award is made annually to individuals who, in the opinion of the award committee, have completed dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged. The CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award, consisting of an honorarium of $2,000 and a certificate of citation, will be presented at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools, December 7, 2017, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Reasonable travel expenses of the recipients will be paid.

Eligibility Guidelines

The effective date of degree awarded or the completion of doctoral degree requirements must fall in the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, inclusive. Such degree award or completion is to be confirmed by the institution’s graduate dean or other administrative officer responsible for doctoral degree programs.

2017 Award Year

K-State will select one nominee for each of the two award categories:

1) Humanities and Fine Arts 

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the fields considered as Humanities/Fine Arts by the CGS: history; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; ethics; comparative religion; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches. If the dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, at least one of these fields should comprise a significant portion of the work.

2) Biological and Life Sciences

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the field considered as Biological and Life Sciences by the CGS: biology; botany; zoology; ecology; embryology; entomology; genetics; nutrition; plant pathology; plant physiology; anatomy; biochemistry; biophysics; microbiology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; and related fields.  Also included are agriculture, forestry, and related fields. If the dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, at least one of these fields should comprise a significant of the work.


Graduate program directors should determine the category in which their nominee's work fits best. Depending on the nature of the work, some programs may have dissertations that are fitting for one category and other dissertations that are fitting for a different category. Nominations from fields of study not listed above are welcome for submission so long as the nature of the thesis work fits within one of the two competition categories. The 2018 award categories will be Engineering/Math/Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.

Nomination Materials
  1. Nomination Form (Word, PDF)
  2. Abstract (summary) of the nominated dissertation
    • Not to exceed 10 pages, typed double-spaced on 8.5" by 11" pages. The pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee. Although 10 pages may be much longer than what most consider typical for an abstract, it is recommended that nominees take advantage of the full 10-page limit to summarize their work and its significance. 
    • Appendices containing other material such as charts, tables, and/or references may be included as additional pages. If appendices are included, they should be referenced in the abstract.
    • Use of headings to identify major sections of the abstract is encouraged.
  3. 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 (major professor).
    • Another letter is to be from a member of the nominee's doctoral supervisory committee.
    • The third letter is to be from a person of the nominee's choice
  4. The nominee's curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages)
Nomination Criteria

Objective selection criteria are not provided by the CGS. The primary criteria presented by the CGS are that, "The nominated dissertations should represent original work making an unusually significant contribution to the discipline." Thus, the abstract and the letters of recommendation should emphasize the "unusually significant contribution" that is made by the dissertation. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged.

The abstract should provide a summary of the dissertation work that includes relevant background research, the work's purpose, primary hypotheses/research questions, methodology, results related to primary hypotheses, and conclusions.

We also strongly recommend that the abstract be written in a manner that can be understood by a broad audience. Nominations will be reviewed by individuals with research backgrounds related, though not identical, to the nominee's area of research. Therefore, it is important that the work be summarized in a way that can be understood by individuals who are not experts in the nominee's specific field or area of research. Resources for Preparing a Successful 3MT Presentation may be useful for preparing an abstract for this award.

2017 Nomination Deadlines and Award Selection Timeline
May 24 
by 5pm
Deadline for Graduate Program Directors to submit nominations to the Graduate School, 119 Eisenhower Hall, or submitted via email to Megan Miller at mmmiller@ksu.edu. Each graduate program may nominate one doctoral student.
June 30

One KSU nominee for each award category will be selected by the Graduate Council selection committee.

December

CGS award winners recognized at CGS Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in Scottsdale, Arizona; award winners receive a $2,000 honorarium from ProQuest

Award Cycle
Academic YearAward Categories
2017

Humanities and Fine Arts

Biological and Life Sciences

2018

Social Sciences

Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences

2019

Humanities and Fine Arts

Biological and Life Sciences

Award categories 
Humanities and Fine Arts Award Category

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the fields considered as Humanities/Fine Arts by the CGS: history; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; ethics; comparative religion; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches. If the dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, at least one of these fields should comprise a significant portion of the work.

Biological and Life Sciences Award Category

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the field considered as Biological and Life Sciences by the CGS: biology; botany; zoology; ecology; embryology; entomology; genetics; nutrition; plant pathology; plant physiology; anatomy; biochemistry; biophysics; microbiology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; and related fields.  Also included are agriculture, forestry, and related fields. If the dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, at least one of these fields should comprise a significant of the work.

Social Sciences Award Category

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the fields considered as Social Sciences by the CGS: agricultural economics, geography, anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, sociology, government (political science), demography, and psychology.  (For purposes of this competition, history is considered with the humanities.)

Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences Award Category

The following list, although not all-inclusive, illustrates the field considered as Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering by the CGS: mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, data processing, systems analysis, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, geology, meteorology, astronomy, metallurgy, geophysics, pharmaceutical chemistry; aeronautical, architectural, biomedical, ceramic, chemical, civil, and electrical engineering sciences; environmental health engineering; geological, mechanical, mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineering. (For purposes of this competition, engineering technologies are not included).

KSU Nominees
Award YearNominee
2015

Yixing Zhang, PhD in Grain Science

2016

Andrew Marshall, PhD in Psychology