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.


February 19 - March 15, 2024 at 5:00 PM CST


Th Argersinger Dissertation Award aligns with the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards. Therefore, one award is given annually for each of the two broad fields of competition/categories, which rotate every year.

Even Year Categories

  1. mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering
  2. social sciences

Odd Year Categories

  1. biological and life sciences
  2. humanities and fine arts


One Argersinger Dissertation Award will be awarded this year in each of the following fields/categories for a total of two (2) awards. Under each broad field/category, a non-inclusive list of fine fields that are considered to belong to the broader fields under consideration is provided. Please reach out to with any questions regarding field/program eligibility.

Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering

These include programs in the areas of mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, data processing, systems analysis, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, geology, meteorology, astronomy, metallurgy, geophysics,

pharmaceutical chemistry; aeronautical, architectural, biomedical, ceramic, chemical, civil, and electrical engineering sciences; environmental health engineering; geological, mechanical, mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineering.

Social Sciences

These include programs in the areas of agricultural economics, geography, anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, sociology, government (political science), demography, and psychology. Please note that for purposes of this competition, history is classed within the humanities and is not a field of competition this year.

Note: if a dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, a significant portion of the work must be comprised by at least one of the current year's fields of competition.

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

  • Is currently enrolled in/graduated from a Lawrence/Edwards-based doctoral degree plan;
  • Must have graduated between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023 or be on track to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree, including defense and submission of the final dissertation by the posted spring 2024 graduation deadline (students can verify graduation requirements and deadlines with departments and in the KU academic calendar).
    • Summer 2024 graduates should be nominated for the next award cycle.
  • Dissertation must be available in the ProQuest depository.

Award Details

Each winner of the Argersinger Dissertation Award will receive a monetary prize of $1,500 and a certificate of recognition.  Winners will be presented at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony in May 2024, where the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies will recognize their significant achievement. 

The winners of the Argersinger Awards will also be considered for nomination to the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award (more information here). See below for additional details of the CGS/ProQuest award submission requirements. 

Nomination Process & Documents

Each department with a Lawrence- or Edwards-based doctoral program is invited to submit one (1) nomination. As part of the nomination process, the department must indicate in which of the following categories the dissertation should be considered.  

  • Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • Social Sciences

Departments should be prepared to submit the following:

  • A copy of the dissertation
  • A letter of nomination (PDF) that addresses:
    • dissertation's quality, originality, and significance within the discipline as well as potential impact outside of the immediate field of study, and,
    • indicates to a person outside the discipline why the dissertation represents outstanding work in the field.

Selection Criteria

Nominees will be reviewed by the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty by the following criteria to select the finalist for each category.

  • Documentation of academic excellence, quality, and significance within the discipline/field 
  • Potential impact of research
  • Evidence of importance or impact both within and beyond the field

Additional Details for Award Winners

The winners of the Argersinger Dissertation Awards will also be considered for nomination to the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award (more information here). Those selected for nomination will be required to submit the following:

  • An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed five double-spaced pages). Appendices containing other material, such as charts, tables, and/or references may be included as additional pages (not to exceed five pages). All pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee.
  • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the nominee’s dissertation work. One of these letters is to be from the nominee's dissertation supervisor, another from a member of the nominee's dissertation committee, and the third from a person of the nominee's choice.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).



  • 2022-2023 | Jonathan Enders, Neurosciences

  • 2022-2023 | Brian Trump, HIstory

  • 2021-2022 | Zeke Piskulich, Chemistry

  • 2021-2022 | Hoa Vu, Economics

Argersinger Nomination Form

Nomination Period
Feb. 19 - Mar. 15, 2024 5:00 PM CST
Nominate Here