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College Research Awards

College Dissertation Awards

Last update: December 15, 2023

Dissertation Awards

The Dissertation Award is a competitive award that offers financial support to advanced graduate students.  Full-time doctoral candidates in the College of Education who have completed all pre-dissertation requirements are invited to apply for this award during the Spring semester of the academic year.  Recipients of the award can receive a maximum of up to $2,000 to support completion of their dissertations.

Applications will be accepted Thursday, January 3 through Thursday, February 15, 2024 by 5:00 pm, via the online interface (see details below).

Award Details

Each year, the College of Education grants several dissertation awards on a competitive basis to doctoral students to support the completion of their dissertations. These awards are funded through the generosity of the alumni and friends of the College, including the Hardie Endowment. This information will help you to determine if you are eligible and how to apply.

Applicants must be candidates for the doctoral degree in the College of Education. They must also be full-time in a graduate program. Applicants must document that they will have completed all pre-dissertation requirements (Early Research, Research Specialization, and Qualifying Exams) by the time of the submission, and must provide a clear and specific plan for completing the dissertation within a two-year time frame. Preference will be given to students who have passed their Preliminary Oral Exam. Funds will not be released until the preliminary exam is completed.

DEADLINE.  Applications will be accepted January 3 through February 15, 2024 by 5:00 pm. No late applications will be accepted. It is the applicant's responsibility to see that all materials are submitted online by the deadline. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

SELECTION PROCESS.  Awards will be made depending on quality of proposals and availability of funding.


  • Letter of Recommendation.  A single letter of recommendation should be submitted from someone who is very knowledgeable about the student's research interests, such as the student's adviser or dissertation director, and should specifically address the importance of the proposed study and the student's capacity to carry it out. If the student has not passed the preliminary exam, the adviser should assess progress toward that goal.
  • Curriculum Vitae. A curriculum vitae must be submitted from the applicant, which includes publications, presentations and awards.
  • Abstract. An abstract of 150 words or less must be submitted from the applicant.
  • Research Prospectus. The research prospectus should be no more than 1,500 words (about 8 double-spaced pages) in length. The prospectus should include the following components: Rationale, Significance of the Problem, Research Questions or Hypotheses. It must contain a Methods section, including population and sample, instrumentation, data collection and analysis, and procedures; and Justification for Methods. Emphasis should be placed on clearly describing the research methods that will be used. It is important that the reviewers understand how the research questions are explicitly linked to and supported by the chosen research method(s). Conversely, the data analysis procedures should be linked back to the research question.
  • Reference List. AS PART OF THE RESEARCH PROSPECTUS FILE, include a list of references to support the research prospectus (not included in the 1,500-word limit). Copies of relevant instruments or protocols can be appended (not included in the word limit). Applicants are strongly encouraged to have his/her adviser read the final proposal prior to submission.Work Plan. The work plan should specify what dissertation work will be accomplished during the award period. It should include realistic dates by which each stage will be completed. If the study is in progress, the proposal should clearly describe methods as implemented rather than methods as planned, for example, actual samples obtained rather than samples planned.
  • Budget and Justification. The award is intended to finance only budget items associated with the completion of the dissertation. The budget should include a rationale for how all items are related to the completion of the project. Funding can cover such expenses as, for example, data gathering equipment, analytical software and training, primary source materials, travel and accommodations for fieldwork, duplicating, postage, modest stipends for subjects, and hourly pay to hire assistants for such tasks as transcription, translation, collecting or coding data, rating, and similar work. Funding cannot cover such expenses as computers, the applicant's personal salary, conference travel, and housing or living expenses. Funding may cover already-expended costs, given that they meet the requirements of the College Finance Office.

Criteria. Student applications will be judged in terms of the following evaluation criteria: importance to the field, methodological soundness, student's capacity to carry out the project, appropriateness of budget, and feasibility of work plan. Successful proposals will clearly state the significance of the research for the field of education, broadly defined, and will clearly describe the study's methodology and implementation.

Award and Conditions. Recipients of the awards can receive a maximum of $2,000 to support completion of their dissertation. The amount must be expended within a time limit of two years or graduation and in accordance with the work plan provided by the candidate.

Applications will be submitted online here: Apply for 2024 Dissertation Award. We advise applicants to have their faculty advisers carefully review the application before submitting it.

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