The Graduate School is pleased to offer the Dissertation Completion Award to support outstanding domestic or international master’s students who are in the final stages of their dissertations. This award is offered on a quarterly basis, and is available only in situations where (1) graduate assistantship opportunities do not exist or where grant funding is insufficient to fund the student’s final term, and (2) the nominee has a very strong likelihood of successfully defending during the award period. This award is not intended to provide stopgap funding or to fund students whose completion timeline is uncertain or tentative at the time of nomination.

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.

There are two versions of this award: the Thesis Completion Award (for master’s students) and the Dissertation Completion Award (for doctoral students).

Award Details

The Graduate School anticipates awarding 4-7 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 tuition-only award does not include a health insurance subsidy of any kind.

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

Awards are made with the condition that the awardee successfully defend their dissertation during the award period. In cases where the awardee does not successfully defend their dissertation within the award period, the Graduate School may restrict or exclude the nominating unit from submitting future nominations for this award.


To be eligible, nominees must:

  • Be a doctoral student in the final year of their degree and completing a 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 dissertation within the award period

Nominees are ineligible for funding if:

  • They have ay type of tuition support available to them 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 Dissertation Completion Award funds
  • They have not successfully defended their 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
  • Their degree completion timeline is uncertain or tentative at the time of the nomination

Evaluation Criteria

  • Quality of the letter of nomination
  • Impact and quality of the nominee’s research including its likelihood of contributing to the field of study or discipline
  • Reasonability of the proposed completion timeline and likelihood the nominee will successfully defend the dissertation within the award period
    • Please note: Nominees who have formally scheduled exams with the Graduate School demonstrate a greater likelihood that they will be able to successfully defend during the award period. Nominees who have not submitted an Exam Scheduling Form with the Graduate School are encouraged to do so prior to the submission of this nomination.
  • Quality of the nominee’s résumé or curriculum vitae

Nomination Periods

  • Fall 2023: Open 07/10/23 to 08/14/23
  • Winter 2024: Open 11/06/23 to 12/04/23
  • Spring 2024: Open 02/05/24 to 03/04/24
  • Summer 2024: Open 04/15/24 to 05/20/24

Nomination Procedure

Nominations may be submitted by the nominee'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 nominee (total) per award cycle. 

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_DCompletion.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 dissertation advisor. The nomination letter must address each of the eligibility/ineligibility requirements above and describe:
    1. the nominee’s research, including its quality and likely contributions to the field of study or discipline.
    2. the nominee’s timeline for completion of the dissertation including the likelihood the student will successfully defend the dissertation within the award period.
  2. A statement from the nominee describing: 
    1. how the award will assist them in their final term and why the funds are necessary for degree completion.
    2. the status of their dissertation including their proposed timeline for completing their degree during the award period. 
  3. A copy of the nominee’s résumé or curriculum vitae.
  4. Abstract of the nominee’s dissertation.
  5. Optional: a copy of the student's Exam Scheduling Form

Nomination Form

Submit a nomination

Nomination form overview


For questions about this award or any Graduate School administered awards, please contact our Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships team