Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Award

Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award

Creative, Visual and Performing Arts

The Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and ProQuest are pleased to announce the 2023-2024 WAGS ProQuest  Master's Thesis and/or Final Master's Capstone Project Award in the creative, visual, and performing arts. This award recognizes distinguished scholarly achievement and creative arts’ achievement at the master’s level in any of the disciplines noted above.

Award Details

The 2023-2024 recipient will receive $1,000, a Certificate of Award, and travel expenses for the recipient to attend the WAGS Annual Conference and Awards luncheon to be held (TBD).


The scholarly or creative work eligible for this competition is one of the following:

  • A traditional, formal written thesis;
  • A major capstone paper or creative product (e.g. collection of poetry);
  • An audio, video, or digital file of a performance, portfolio, or exhibition.

Since many fine and performing arts Master’s projects involve a combination of written and artistic products, both may be submitted for review (if applicable) and considered in the decision for the award. Nominees must have successfully completed all requirements for their scholarly or creative work in the context of degree progression and/or completion.

Typically, this means that a written thesis will have been successfully defended and final copy submitted; their major capstone paper or creative product will have been submitted and evaluated for degree completion; or their performance, portfolio, or exhibition will have been publicly presented and/or evaluated for degree completion, as appropriate within the period of July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

Nominees must be from a WAGS member institution.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality
  • Aesthetic Merit
  • Technical execution
  • Potential to reach beyond the original academic audience through future performance, exhibition, or publication

Nomination Period

The nomination period begins on July 24, 2023. All nominations must be submitted by October 6, 2023 by 5 p.m. PST. Awards will be determined by December 2023.

Nomination Procedure

Each WAGS member institution may submit one nomination through the online nomination form for this award.

Appropriate institutional staff, as determined by each member institution, will establish an internal selection process, and are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the internal selection process is systematic and inclusive.

Nomination Packet

In the online nomination form, nominators will be required to prepare/upload the following materials as one PDF document using the following file name convention and upload it through the nomination form: "Nominee’s last name_Nominee’s institution_WAGSCreative.pdf"

  1. A non-technical summary prepared by the nominee (1000-1500 words) describing the research, artistic approach, inspiration and/or major influences, and its significance. This summary is intended for a general academic audience of non-specialists. For those submitting projects that involve a public performance or exhibition, we encourage a video recording of the event as well, so that the scope and impact of the event can be considered.
  2. An abstract or example of the nominee’s research or project (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages). Appendices containing nontextual material, such as charts or tables, may be included as additional pages. All pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee.
  3. Two nomination letters (not to exceed 1 page per letter). One letter from the department head or major professor and one letter from an additional faculty member. The letters should include information regarding the significance of the thesis and/or project, the contribution of the thesis and/or project to the program of the degree granting unit, and the impact on the knowledge base of the discipline.
  4. The nominee’s curriculum vitae or resume (not to exceed five pages).

Nomination Form


If you have any questions about the WAGS award processes, please contact the WAGS Board at WAGSOfficer@gmail.com.