CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Funding Agency:
Council of Graduate Schools

First presented in 1981 and sponsored jointly by CGS and ProQuest Dissertations Publishing (a Division of ProQuest Information and Learning), these awards are made each year to individuals who, in the opinion of the award committee, have completed dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline.

Two awards are given annually in two different broad areas (mathematics, physical sciences and engineering; and social sciences; and the biological sciences; and humanities and fine arts). Individuals must be nominated for these awards by a member institution, deadline is July 2, 2021.

Each eligible member may nominate one person in the field of humanities and fine arts and one person in the field of biological sciences. (for a total of two nominations maximum, per institution). A separate nomination form and package must be submitted for each institutional nominee.

The 2021 fields of competition are:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Humanities and Fine Arts


  • Duke Internal Deadline: April 9, 2021
  • Sponsor Deadline: July 2, 2021

NOTE: If the internal deadline has passed and you are interested in this opportunity, please email Amy Wolff at to find out if it is still open.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • “Regular” institutional members of CGS may submit nominations.
  • Each eligible member may nominate one dissertation in the field of mathematics, physical sciences and engineering and one dissertation in the field of social sciences (for a total of two nominations maximum, per institution). A separate nomination form and package must be submitted for each institutional nominee.
  • The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must lie in the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, inclusive, for each nominee selected. Such degree award or completion is to be confirmed by the institution's graduate dean or other administrative officer responsible for doctoral degree programs.

Funding Type


Duke Awardees

2018: Mohamed Ibrahim - Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering - Optimization of Trustworthy Biomolecular Quantitative AnalysisUsing Cyber-Physical Microfluidic Platforms


Grad/Prof Students


Arts & Humanities
Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

    • CV
    • Project abstract (1 page)

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials:

Internal Deadline

April 9, 2021

External Deadline

July 2, 2021