Distinguished Dissertation Award – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Distinguished Dissertation Award

These awards recognize outstanding and exceptional scholarship and research at the doctoral level. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. PST, May 2, 2024. Each recipient will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will be publicly recognized by the Graduate School. 

Call for Nominations 

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the 2024 Distinguished Dissertation Awards competition in the following four categories:  

  • Biological Sciences  
  • Humanities and Fine Arts 
  • Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering* 
  • Social Sciences* 

*CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award 2024 fields of competition  

These awards recognize outstanding and exceptional scholarship and research at the doctoral level. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. PST, May 2, 2024. Each department can submit only one nomination per category.  


The effective date of degree award must fall within the period of July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, inclusive, for the nominee selected.  To be eligible, the nominee’s dissertation must be available in the ProQuest database.    


For all documents, fonts are to be no smaller than 11-point and margins no narrower than one inch.  We will strictly observe page-length limits and formatting guidelines.    

Nomination packet materials 

Step 1  

Please provide information about the nominee, the nominating department, etc. via this Microsoft Form.  

Step 2  

Combine the following materials into a single Adobe PDF file, observing the strict page length cap of each component:     

  • A non-technical summary (NTS) addressing the purpose, methods, results of the research and its significance within the discipline of this dissertation. An NTS is a concise document that provides a description of the process and its findings in a manner that is both appealing to read and easily understood by the general public. The NTS must not exceed two pages, typed and double-spaced. Please include the nominee’s name and doctoral program on this page.  
  • An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed five double-spaced pages).  Appendices containing other material–such as charts, tables, and/or references–may be included as additional pages.  All pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee.  
  • 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 from a person of the nominee’s choice.  
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages) 

Step 3  

The department chair, graduate program advisor, or the graduate program coordinator should submit the complete nomination file c/o graddean@uw.edu by the deadline of 5 p.m. PST, May 2, 2024. This is a firm deadline; in fairness to all nominators, no exceptions or extensions will be granted.   

Please save your file in this format:  

LASTNAMENOMINEE – Nominating Department – Dissertation – [Category] – 2024.pdf   

Ex:  SONG – Astrobiology – Dissertation – Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering – 2024.pdf    


A Graduate School committee will select the award recipients. The nominated dissertations should represent original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the disciplines.  

Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged. Nominations will be evaluated on the following:  

  • Innovation: The degree of innovation, creativity and insight shown by the author.  
  • Scope: The scope and importance of the work to the department and to the field.  
  • Writing: The effectiveness of the writing (including whether it is written in language that is reasonably understandable to faculty in related disciplines).  


Each recipient will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will be publicly recognized by the Graduate School.  

Council of Graduate Schools Distinguished Dissertation Award national competition  

2024 UW Graduate Schools distinguished dissertation award materials will be forwarded to the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition when the awardees’ dissertations fall within the current year’s fields of competition as the UW’s institutional nominations for this prestigious recognition.   

The 2024 fields of competition are Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering and Social Sciences. Click here for more details about the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award and for clarification regarding which fields/disciplines are included under the above categories. 

Address nomination materials c/o: 

Joy Williamson-Lott
Dean of The Graduate School


Jerry Pangilinan
Assistant to the Dean