Chancellor's Dissertation Medal

Program Outline

Purpose: The purpose of the Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal is to recognize outstanding PhD research. Recipients of the medal will have the opportunity to be honored at commencement, attend a banquet thrown by the Chancellor in their honor, and be recognized as a recipient of the medal on the OGS webspace. This honor is intended to be given based solely on the quality of the academic research. In order to retain prestige while avoiding comparing research in too broadly differing fields, up to six awards may be given. The awards will be distributed so that SIO, the division of physical sciences, the division of biological sciences, the division of social sciences, the division of arts and humanities, and Jacob’s School of Engineering may all bestow up to one medal to an outstanding student. An award should only be given by a division if the work is truly outstanding.

Eligibility: One PhD student from each department will be eligible to be considered for the division level award. PhD students who are registered with the medical or pharmacy schools will be included with the division of biological sciences; IR/PS and Rady PhD students will be included with the division of social sciences.

For the purposes of selection being completed before commencement, PhD students who have defended their thesis and completed their paper work with OGS between April 1st of the year of commencement and the previous April 1st are eligible.

Selection: Department chair assembles a committee consisting of themself and faculty members from the department to review applicants for the dissertation award.

Applicants send the following information to the committee:

  • 2 letters of recommendation from committee members, one of which comes from the committee chair or co-chair.
  • 2-page maximum summary of the dissertation research, including project background and rationale, an explanation of research design (methods, procedure, analysis plan, etc.) and other important aspects of the project. One additional page listing references may be included (citations should be included in the text).
  • Copy of the dissertation including an abstract.
  • Contact information for the applicant

If no applicant is found in a department that excels in the below four criteria, no applicant from that department shall be forwarded to the dean for consideration. The department chair will draft a letter explaining why the applicant was chosen, and how the dissertation demonstrates excellence in the above four criteria. This letter, along with all the materials from the applicant considered by the department committee, shall be forwarded on to the dean of the division for consideration.

The Dean of the division assembles a committee with themself and faculty representation with no more than one faculty member from each department/program in the division.

This committee will consider the applicants chosen from each department/program and chose a winner of the dissertation medal based on the four criteria listed below and the strength of the support from the chair of the department. If no applicant excels in all four criteria listed below, no winner shall be chosen by the division.

The dean of the division shall draft a letter describing why the applicant was chosen and forward that letter to OGS and the GSA VP Academic along with a copy of the dissertation abstract and contact information for the applicant.

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

  • Impact
    • The importance/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 (when applicable)