Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal

2016 Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal


Arts & Humanities: Tomoya Sato (Philosophy)

Biological Sciences: Valentino M. Gantz (Cell and Developmental Biology)

Jacob’s School of Engineering: Adam Printz (NanoEngineering)

Scripps Institute of Oceanography: Jenan Kharbush (Oceanography)

Physical Sciences: Yaojun Zhang (Physics)

Social Sciences: Nofit Itzhak (Anthropology)

The awards presentation is at the hooding ceremony during the Graduate Division Commencement on June 11, 2016 at 1:30 pm.

If you are interested in this award when you finish your degree, here are the details on getting nominated and selected.

Call for Nominations 


Award Description

The Graduate Student Association (GSA), in coordination with the Graduate Division and the Office of Research Affairs, is seeking outstanding graduate students who have recently completed their thesis work at UC San Diego.  Each department is eligible to nominate one student who has completed an outstanding dissertation in the past year.  A committee of faculty assembled by the dean of each division will select a winner from each division at UC San Diego.  Award winners will have the opportunity to be honored at commencement, when they receive their medals at the time of being hooded. Winners will also be recognized as a recipient of the medal on the Graduate Division webpage.

This Medal is an excellent opportunity for the university to recognize the work of our most outstanding students as they leave with their doctorate degrees.


  • One doctoral student from each department will be considered for the division-level award.
  • Doctoral students who are registered with the medical or pharmacy schools will be included with the division of biological sciences; GPS and Rady PhD students will be included with the division of social sciences.
  • Doctoral students must have defended their dissertations and completed their paperwork with the Graduate Division between April 1st of the commencement year and the previous April 1st in order to be eligible for the award.


  • 2 letters of recommendation from committee members, one of which must come from the committee chair or co-chair
  • Research summary (1000 word maximum) of the dissertation research, including project background and rationale, an explanation of research design (e.g., methods, procedure, analysis plans), and other important aspects of the project.
  • One optional, additional page listing references included in the research summary (i.e., references need not count toward the 1000 word maximum)
  • Copy of the dissertation including an abstract

Criteria for selection

The quality of the research and dissertation alone is to be considered for applicants to this award.  The criteria to be considered by the committees are:

  • Impact:  The importance and impact of the research to the field and/or the department
  • Originality:  The insight, originality, and creativity shown by the author
  • Presentation:   The effectiveness of the writing, clarity, and organization of the thesis
  • Quality:  The soundness of the methodology and the quality of the data

 Response Deadline

  • Department-level: Each department’s nomination should be passed on to the appropriate dean no later than Friday, April 15, 2016, along with all application materials and a letter of support from the department chair.
  • Divisional level: Divisional deans should forward their final selection to the GSA VP Academic, Teresa Zimmerman-Liu, at by May 6, 2016.

Questions?  Please contact GSA VP Academic, Teresa Zimmerman-Liu, at