The Graduate School is pleased to offer the Thesis or Dissertation Completion Award to support outstanding domestic or international master’s and doctoral students who are in the final stages of their theses or dissertations. This award is offered on a quarterly basis, and is useful in situations where graduate assistantship opportunities do not exist or where grant funding is insufficient to fund the student’s final term. The intent of this award is to enable students to focus on research and writing with the goal of improving the quality of their work and expediting time to degree completion.

Award Details

The Graduate School anticipates awarding 8-15 Thesis or Dissertation Completion Awards each term. Awards cover the cost of three graduate credits of tuition at the student’s tuition rate and mandatory fees for one academic term only.

This award may not accompany a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or any tuition support from the college, academic unit, or external training grant.


To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a master’s or doctoral student in the final year of their degree and completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress, as determined by their graduate program
  • Have completed all coursework requirements
  • Have passed written (if required) and oral preliminary exams (if required)
  • Have passed a dissertation proposal defense (if required)
  • Be able to successfully defend the thesis/dissertation within the award period

Students are ineligible for funding if:

  • They have tuition support from the college, academic unit, or external training grant during their final academic term specifically intended to cover the cost of tuition
  • They have previously received Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Completion Award funds
  • They have not successfully defended their thesis or dissertation and are preparing for a re-defense
  • They will not be enrolled in at least three graduate credits during the term for which the funds were requested

Evaluation Criteria

  • Quality of the letter of nomination
  • Impact and quality of the student’s research including its likelihood of contributing to the field of study or discipline
  • Reasonability of the proposed completion timeline and likelihood the student will successfully defend the thesis/dissertation within the award period
  • Confirmation that the college, academic unit, or external grant agency is not providing any financial support specifically intended to cover cost of tuition
  • Quality of the student’s résumé or curriculum vitae

Nomination Periods

  • Winter 2020: Open 11/1/19 to 12/2/19
  • Spring 2020: Open 1/24/20 to 2/24/20
  • Summer 2020: Open 4/17/20 to 5/18/20
  • Fall 2020: Open 7/17/20 to 8/17/20

Nomination Procedure

Nominations may be submitted by the student's graduate program director or unit chair/head. Students may not apply directly for this award. Each unit (as defined by university major code) may nominate no more than one student (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:
"Nominee's Last Name_Department_TDCompletion.pdf", and upload it through the nomination form.

  1. A joint nomination letter (one letter total, no more than 2 pages) from the unit chair/head or graduate program director and thesis or dissertation advisor. The nomination letter must address each of the eligibility/ineligibility requirements above and describe:
    1. the student’s research, including its quality and likely contributions to the field of study or discipline.
    2. the student’s timeline for completion of the thesis/dissertation including the likelihood the student will successfully defend the thesis/dissertation within the award period.
  2. A copy of the student’s résumé or curriculum vitae.
  3. Abstract of the student’s thesis or dissertation.
  4. Optional: a signed/completed copy of the student's Exam Scheduling Form