American Distinguished Dissertation Awards

Sponsored jointly by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, these awards are made each year 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.


Two CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, each consisting of an award of $2,000 and a certificate of recognition, will be presented at the CGS Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon on December 7, 2017, in Scottsdale, AZ. Reasonable travel expenses of award recipients will be covered. Only the winners and the nominating deans will be notified of the outcomes of the competition prior to the Awards Luncheon.

2017 Fields of Competition

  • Biological Sciences: biology; botany; zoology; ecology; embryology; entomology; genetics; nutrition; plant pathology; plant physiology; anatomy; biochemistry; biophysics; microbiology; pathology; phrmacology; physiology; and related fields. A;so included are agriculture, forestry, and related fields.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: history; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; comparative religion; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches.
If a dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, a significant portion of the work must be comprised by at least one of the 2017 fields of competition.

Nomination Procedure

Graduate programs may each submit one nomination to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by Friday, June 9, 2017. Please ensure that a candidate is aware of his or her nomination for the Award. Each program’s nomination must include the following four components:

  • An abstract of the candidate's dissertation (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages). Appendices containing other material, such as charts, tables, and/or references, may be included as additional pages.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the candidate's dissertation work. One of these letters must be from the nominee's dissertation supervisor, another from a member of the candidate's dissertation committee, and the third from a person of the candidate's choice. (no page limit indicated)
  • The candidate's curriculum vitae (not to exceed 5 pages)

Submitting Nominations to SGPS

The deadline for submissions to SGPS is Friday, June 9, 2017.  The nomination package must be submitted to as a single PDF document. Please indicate the field of competition in the subject line of email. The SGPS Executive Committee will select two candidates for nomination, one in each Award category, and submit them to CGS by July 14, 2017.


  • Regular institutional members of CGS may submit nominations which includes Western University.
  • Each eligible institution may nominate one (1) candidate in each broad field category below. 
  • The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must lie in the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, inclusive, for the candidate.