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.


January 23 - March 31, 2023 at 5:00 PM CST


Two awards are given annually in two different broad areas, 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 areas for a total of two (2) awards:

Biological Sciences/Life Sciences

These include programs in the areas of 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

These include programs in the areas of 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.

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 in summer 2022, fall 2022, or be on track to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree, including defense and submission of the final dissertation by the posted spring 2023 graduation deadline (students can verify graduation requirements and deadlines with departments and in the KU academic calendar).
    • Summer 2023 graduates should be nominated for the next awards cycle.

Award Details

Each winner of the Argersinger Dissertation Award will receive a monetary prize of $1,250 and a certificate of recognition.  Winners will be presented at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony in May 2023, 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/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award (more information here). See below for additional details of the CGS/UMI 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.  

  • Biological Sciences/Life Sciences
  • Humanities and Fine Arts

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 Awards will also be considered for nomination to the Council of Graduate Schools/UMI 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 5 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).



  • 2021-2022 | Zeke Piskulich, Chemistry

  • 2021-2022 | Hoa Vu, Economics

Argersinger Nomination Form

Nomination Period
Jan. 23 - Mar. 31, 2023 5:00 PM CST
Nominate Here