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. Two winners are selected every year, one from each of the following categories:
              * Engineering, Medical Sciences and Natural Sciences
              * Arts, Humanities and Social Science

PLEASE NOTE:  The deadline for submitting nomination packages has been postponed and a new submission date will be announced at a later date.


  • The award includes a $1,500 prize, a Citation Certificate, and travel expenses of up to $1,500 to attend the 2020 CAGS Annual Conference.

Nomination Procedure

Western graduate programs may each nominate a candidate to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Please ensure that the candidate is aware of their nomination for the award. 







A nomination package must include the following:

  • Letter of support from the Graduate Chair (max. 2 pages), evaluating the significance and quality of the candidate's dissertation work, and its original contributions to both the academic community and to Canadian society. It should also illustrate 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 at which the final copy of the thesis, including all required corrections, was submitted to SGPS.
  • A letter of support from the student’s supervisor describing the reasons for the nomination, and why the dissertation constitutes a significant piece of original work. 
  • A copy of the external examiner's original pre-defence report. The examiner’s report must be dated and signed or otherwise authenticated. This is a critical component of the nomination that must adequately demonstrate the extraordinary quality of the dissertation. Please obtain the report from the SGPS Thesis Coordinator in advance of the SGPS deadline if you require a copy to complete your nomination package.
  • An abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding 350 words, written by the candidate in non-technical language
  • An up-to-date CV of the candidate 

Submitting Nominations to SGPS

The deadline for submissions to SGPS is Tuesday, March 10, 2020.  Please send the complete nomination file (single PDF) electronically to  

The SGPS Selection Committee will select two candidates – one in each award category. SGPS will submit the two nominations to CAGS annually by March 31.

Eligible Dissertations

  • A dissertation in any discipline in engineering, medical sciences and natural sciences completed and finally accepted by SGPS between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019, inclusive.
  • A dissertation in any discipline in the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences completed and finally accepted by SGPS between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019, inclusive.

In interdisciplinary domains or in fields that overlap the two broad areas in which the prizes are given, the Vice-Provost (SGPS) must decide for which prize it is appropriate to submit the dissertation.