Western Association of Gradaute Schools

Outstanding Thesis STEM Award

2016-2017 WAGS/UMI DISTINGUISHED MASTER’S THESIS AWARD for the Biological Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering

The Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and University Microfilms International (UMI) are pleased to announce the 2016-2017 WAGS/UMI Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award competition. Each member institution may submit one nomination for the award.


This award recognizes distinguished scholarly achievement at the master’s level. Nominations will be accepted in any of the above-listed disciplines in which the institution offers a master’s degree.

The scholarly “product” eligible for this competition is a formal written thesis. If a nominating department offers both a thesis option and a project option, only the thesis is acceptable for consideration for this award. Each submission requires a written nomination by the Dean of the Graduate School (College) or equivalent office. The internal institutional selection processes are the responsibility of the endorsing official.


1. A nominee must have earned the master’s degree within the period of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. Nomination materials should be assembled in the following order and submitted electronically as one PDF file:

a. A written nomination letter from the Graduate Dean cited in the Eligibility Requirements above. The letter should describe the process that was used to select the thesis for nomination.

b. A non-technical summary prepared by the student (1000-1500 words) describing the research and its significance for a general academic audience of non-specialists.

c. A letter from the department head or major professor and one additional faculty member. The letters should include information regarding the significance of the thesis, the contribution of the thesis to the program of the degree granting unit, and the impact of the thesis on the knowledge base of the discipline.

d. A cv or resume from the student nominee.

2. All nomination materials must be submitted electronically in a single PDF file titled: LastNameofRecipient_AbbreviatedNameof Institution_WAGSDistThesisAwardSTEM_2016-2017

by September 5, 2016, and emailed to: Margaret Gonzales margo@unm.edu

3. Initial screening will be based upon four criteria:

a. Originality

b. Significance of the study

c. Overall quality

d. Outcomes and accomplishments from the thesis

4. Finalists will be asked to provide an electronic copy of the complete thesis.

5. The 2016-2017 award consists of a certificate of award, $1000 to the recipient, and travel expenses for the student and the student’s adviser to receive the award at the annual meeting of the Association.