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Argersinger Dissertation Award

Through the generosity of William and Marnie Argersinger, and with the cooperation of the KU Endowment Association, Graduate Studies is pleased to offer the Argersinger Prizes for outstanding doctoral dissertations. William J. Argersinger was the first Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Studies and Dean of the graduate school. These awards include a monetary prize and a certificate presented at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony in May. One (1) Argersinger prize is awarded for the best dissertation in social science, education, humanities, and the arts and one (1) is awarded for the best dissertation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Nomination Deadline is 12:00 pm on Monday 12 April 2021.


Any KU doctoral student who meets all of the following criteria is eligible to be nominated.

  • Is in good academic standing;
  • Is enrolled in a Lawrence/Edwards-based doctoral degree plan;
  • Must have graduated in summer 2020, fall 2020, or be on track to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree, including defense and submission of the final dissertation by the posted spring 2021 graduate deadline (students can verify graduatation requirements and deadlines with departments and in the KU academic calendar).
    • Summer 2021 graduates should be nominated for the spring 2022 awards cycle.


To nominate a doctoral student, please work with your department or program Director of Graduate Study (DGS) to submit a letter of nomination and a PDF copy of the dissertation (using the submission portal) by noon on Monday 12 April 2021. The nomination letter must briefly describe the dissertation's quality, originality, and significance within the discipline as well as potential impact outside of the immediate field of study. The letter should indicate to a person outside the discipline why the dissertation represents outstanding work in the field.

Nominators will receive a system confirmation that their nomination was successfully submitted upon completion of the online form.

Each department with a Lawrence- or Edwards-based doctoral program is invited to submit one (1) nomination, indicating in which of the following categories the dissertation should be considered.  One winner will be selected in each category.

  • Social Science, Education, Humanities, and the Arts
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Graduate Studies will share all departmental nominations with the appropriate school or college administrator to be reviewed and ranked. The dean’s office in each school or college has until noon on Monday 26 April 2021 to submit a ranked list of final nominees. Top nominees from each school or college will then be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty.

While the time required to process award decisions will depend upon the number of applications received, we aim to notify all nominees and department or program nominators via email by May 14, 2021.


Each winner of the Argersinger Dissertation Award will receive a monetary prize of $1,250 and a certificate of recognition.  Winners will presented at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony in May 2021, where the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies will recognize their significant achievement. 

The winners of the Argersinger Awards will also be considered for nomination of the Council of Graduate Schools/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award (more information here).


Please contact us at graduateawards@ku.edu.


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