Canada’s Distinguished Dissertation Awards

For more than twenty years, the CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards (DDA) have recognized exceptional doctoral researchers making an impact in their field of study. We seek work that makes significant, original contributions to both the academic community and to Canadian society at large. a first and second place winner will be selected from each of the following categories:
              * Engineering, Medical Sciences, and Natural Sciences
              * Arts, Humanities, and Social Science

Note: To be eligible, dissertations must be disseminated in full text format via the ProQuest Dissertation & Thesis Global database (PQDT Global), prior to jury selection 


  • The award includes $1,500 cash prize, a certificate of recognition, and an opportunity to attend the 62nd Annual CAGS Conference, to be held in Toronto, ON in November 2024.

Nomination Procedure

SGPS will accept one nomination per graduate program. Candidates may be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students on a study permit. Please ensure that the candidate is aware of their nomination for the award. 

A nomination package must include the following (single PDF):

  • A letter of support* from the Graduate Chair (max. 2 pages), highlighting the significance and quality of the candidate's dissertation work. It should also mention the candidate's overall excellence (academic, research, engagement, leadership) throughout the doctoral program, and include the following information:
    • the name and departmental affiliation of the candidate’s research supervisor
    • the name and affiliation of the external examiner
    • the date of the defence and the date of final acceptance of the dissertation by SGPS, i.e. the date on which the final copy of the thesis, including all required corrections, was submitted to SGPS.
  • A supervisor letter (one only!). A letter of support* (no limit) from the candidate’s supervisor describing the reasons for the nomination, and why the dissertation constitutes a significant piece of original work. In the case of co-supevisors, only one letter can be provided and only one supervisor can sign the letter.
  • A copy of the external examiner's original pre-defence report. This is a critical component of the nomination that must adequately and legibly demonstrate the extraordinary quality of the dissertation. Please obtain the report and the cover page from Scholarship@Western from the SGPS Thesis Coordinator in advance of the SGPS deadline to complete your nomination package.
  • An abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding 350 words, written by the candidate in non-technical language (again, the candidate must also be aware of their nomination for the award and provide the provide the abstract and CV; should this not be possible the reasons must be given in the letter from the Graduate Chair).
  • An up-to-date CV of the candidate 

* Letters should be addressed to "Members of the Selection Committee". A letter cannot be signed by more than one person.

Submitting Nominations to SGPS

The deadline for submissions to SGPS is Friday, March 1, 2024. Please send the complete nomination file (in .doc format) electronically to  

SGPS will consider all nominations received by March 1st and forward one nomination for each competition category to the CAGS National Office by the March 29, 2024 deadline. Successful nominees will be notified directly by CAGS.

Eligible Dissertations

Eligible dissertations include:

  1. A dissertation in any discipline in engineering, medical sciences, and natural sciences completed and accepted by SGPS between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.
  2. A dissertation in any discipline in the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences completed and accepted by SGPS between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.


  • In interdisciplinary domains or in fields that overlap the two broad areas in which the awards are given, SGPS must decide for which award it is appropriate to submit the dissertation.

  • A dissertation that is currently embargoed can be nominated for the award, and the dissertation does not have to be uploaded to ProQuest until the embargo has been lifted.