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Each year, the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) partners with ProQuest to solicit nominees in four award categories. This prestigious regional competition is an important opportunity for your institution to showcase innovation and creativity by your graduate students. WAGS member institutions may only submit one nomination for each of the award categories. We encourage you to take the time to prepare a nomination for any of the four awards.


  • Innovation in Technology Award

    • This award recognizes the innovative application of technology to scholarship, as shown in the research supporting either a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. 
    • Innovation in Technology Award.pdf
  • Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in STEM disciplines

    • This award recognizes distinguished scholarly achievement at the master’s level in STEM disciplines: biological sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences, life sciences and engineering. 
    • DistinguishedMastersThesisAward_STEM.pdf
  • Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in humanities, social sciences, education, and business disciplines

  • Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the creative, visual and performing arts

Award Details

Recipients for each award will receive $1,000, a Certificate of Award, and travel expenses for the recipient to attend the WAGS Annual Conference and Awards Luncheon at the WAGS Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 2021 in Boise, ID.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Originality of the study
  • Scope and significance of the study
  • Contribution to the discipline and/or profession
  • Overall quality of the summary and abstract of the thesis or dissertation


  • Nominees must have successfully defended and submitted the final copy of their thesis or dissertation towards the master’s or doctoral degree within the period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020
  • Nominees must be from a WAGS member institution (UC San Diego is a member institution)
  • Check specific award type for additional eligibility requirements


  • Graduate departments/programs can each submit up to two nominations for each award.
  • All nominations must be submitted to no later than August 12, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Award recipients will be announced by WAGS in November 2020.


Submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Past Recipients

List coming soon!

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