The Graduate School invites nominations for the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards. These dissertation awards are made annually to domestic or international students who have completed dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to their disciplines.

The award also aligns with and supports development in the OSU Grad Advantage core competencies for graduate students. Nominees are encouraged to complete the OSU Grad Advantage Self-Assessment Tool at the time of their nomination, or in the case of prospective students after they have been formally admitted to gauge their ongoing professional development.

2023 Fields of Competition

There are two broad fields of competition for the 2023 dissertation awards. Under each broad field, we provide a non-inclusive list of fine fields that are considered to belong to the broader fields under consideration.

  • Biological Sciences/Life Sciences: biology; botany; zoology; ecology; embryology; entomology; genetics; nutrition; plant pathology; plant physiology; anatomy; biochemistry; biophysics; microbiology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; and related fields (health sciences). Also included are agriculture, forestry, zoology; and related fields.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: history; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; ethics; 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 posted 2023 fields of competition.

Award Details

The Graduate School will provide a cash award of $1,000 to each student selected as OSU's finalist for the two fields of competition listed above. In addition, the Graduate School will forward those two nominees on to the CGS/ProQuest national competition for consideration in their award competition. 


  • The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must fall between the period of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023.
  • If the nominee is selected as a finalist, the dissertation will need to be in or added to the ProQuest depository.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality of the study
  • Scope and significance of the study
  • Contribution to the discipline and/or profession
  • Overall quality of the summary and abstract

Nomination Period

The nomination period begins on May 1, 2023. All nominations must be submitted by 5 p.m., June 5, 2023. Awards will be determined in late June 2023.

Nomination Procedure

Nominations may be submitted by the student's graduate program director or department chair/head. Students may not apply directly for this award. Each unit (as defined by university major code) may nominate no more than ONE nominee (total) per award cycle.

Nomination Form

Submit a nomination

Nomination form overview

In the online nomination form, nominators will be required to prepare/upload the following materials as one PDF document using the following file name convention:
"Student's last name_grad program_CGSAward.pdf", and upload it through the nomination form.

  1. A brief non-technical summary prepared by the student (1000-1500 words) describing the research and its significance for a general academic audience of non-specialists.
  2. An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed 5 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The nominee’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).