CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award


Applicants: check with graduate program; Graduate program nomination deadline: 11 June 2021 at 4:00 pm PST

Annual Value

an award of $2,000, a certificate of recognition, reasonable travel expenses to the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools


Permanent Resident

Degree Level


These awards are made to individuals who have completed PhD dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Graduate programs may submit up to two nominations: one in Biological Sciences and one in Humanities and Fine Arts. To be eligible, the nominee must have completed her or his doctoral degree requirements in the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021, inclusive. UBC will forward up to one nominee in each category to the international competition (open to all institutions who are members of the Council of Graduate Schools in the US and Canada).

Two CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, each consisting of an award of $2,000 and a certificate of recognition, will be presented at the CGS Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in December 2021, in New Orleans, LA. Reasonable travel expenses of award recipients will be covered.



  • The effective date of degree award, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must fall in the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021, inclusive, for each nominee selected.
  • Subject fields (a non-inclusive list of the research areas belonging to the broad fields under consideration is provided below):
    • 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 2021 fields of competition.

Note: The CGS/ProQuest Award operates on a two-year cycle with regard to fields of competition. The fields of competition for 2022 will be Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering; and the Social Sciences.

Evaluation Criteria

The nominated dissertations should represent original work making an unusually significant contribution to the disciplines. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged.

Application Procedures

  • Applicants should consult their graduate program for their internal application deadline.
  • Applicants must submit to their graduate program the following:
    • An abstract of the applicant’s dissertation (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages). Appendices containing other material, such as charts, tables, and/or references, may be included as additional pages (not to exceed 5 pages).
    • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the applicant’s dissertation work. One of these letters is to be from the applicant's dissertation supervisor, another from a member of the applicant's dissertation committee, and the third from a person of the applicant's choice.
    • The applicant’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).

Nomination Procedures

The CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award is very competitive - PhD dissertations from universities across North America are forwarded to this competition. UBC graduate programs are strongly encouraged to only forward nominations that are competitive with those from top PhDs throughout North America. A list of recent awardees is available from the CGS website. 

The deadline to submit to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is 4:00 pm PST on Friday, 11 June 2021.

  • Graduate programs may submit up to two nominations: one in Biological Sciences/Life Sciences and one in Humanities and Fine Arts.
  • Graduate programs must submit to G+PS the following:
    • nomination form, completing the first section "Information about the Nominee"
    • application materials listed in "Application Procedures" above
  • Each complete nomination package is to be uploaded as a single PDF file (filename: "CGS_Program_LastName_FirstName.pdf").  For example, the nomination file for student Jane Smith from Mathematics would be named "CGS_MATH_Smith_Jane.pdf" into the graduate program's Workspace G+PS Awards folder

Further Information

Please see the CGS website for additional information.

For questions, please contact Cady Tran (


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