ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award


Graduate program nomination deadline: 4:00 pm PDT on 16 October 2020

Annual Value

Up to $20,000, plus expenses to the ACM banquet


Permanent Resident

Degree Level


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) established the Doctoral Dissertation Award program to recognize and encourage superior research and writing by doctoral candidates in computer science and engineering. The award is presented each June at the ACM Awards Banquet and is accompanied by a prize of $20,000 plus travel expenses to the banquet. All winning dissertations are published exclusively in print and electronic formats as part of the ACM Books Series, which includes distribution through the ACM Digital Library. Honorable Mention(s) may also be awarded, with a prize of $10,000 shared among recipients.



Only a PhD student’s advisor may nominate a dissertation. The nominated dissertation must have been successfully defended (not necessarily submitted) between October 2019 through (and including) September 2020. The dissertation submitted should be a finalized version; if a student or advisor thinks a dissertation will be more competitive after revision, the dissertation defense should be postponed if necessary.

Evaluation Criteria

Dissertations will be reviewed for technical depth and significance of the research contribution, potential impact on theory and practice, and quality of presentation.

Nomination Procedures

Only a PhD student’s thesis advisor may nominate a dissertation. Student's thesis advisor should submit a draft of the nomination statement (200-300 words in length) addressing why the candidate should receive this award to the student's graduate program. Note: The nomination statement should address the significance of the dissertation, not simply repeat the information in the abstract.

Each department can submit one nomination to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by 4:00 pm on Friday, 16 October 2020.

To submit the draft:

  1. Draft file should be in PDF format and named ACM_PROG_Last-Name_First-Name.pdf (e.g. the draft of the nomination statement for Jane Smith from Computer Science would be named ACM_CPSC_Smith_Jane.pdf).
  2. Draft file should be put into the graduate program G+PS Awards folder
  3. Graduate programs need to email once the file is submitted

Depending on the interest, graduate programs who submit draft nomination statements will be contacted with further instructions on submitting the full nominaiton package. Please note that an endorsement letter from the department head plus 3-5 supporting letters from experts in the field will be required to complete the nomination package, if the aplicant is selected to be nominated.  Also, the nominator (i.e., the student's advisor) may not write a letter of support.  The institution nomination deadline set by ACM for this opportunity is October 31, so there is a fairly short timeline for the thesis supervisor to coordinate and submit the complete nomination package to ACM, should the applicant be selected to be a nominee.  For full details, see the ACM website.

Adjudication Procedures

Depending on the number of nominations submitted, G+PS may form an adjudication committee to submit up to two nominations to ACM.