2018-2019 WAGS Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the Creative, Visual and Performing Arts

Creative Writing, Music, and Visual Arts

The Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) pleased to announce the 2018-2019 Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the Creative, Visual and Performing Arts. Each member institution may submit one nomination for the award.


This award recognizes distinguished scholarly and creative arts’ 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, major capstone paper, and/or a media file of a performance or portfolio (audio or visual). 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. Each submission requires a written nomination by the Dean of the Graduate School (College), or the equivalent office at your institution. The internal institutional selection processes are the responsibility of the endorsing official.


  1. Nominees must have successfully defended and submitted the final copy of their thesis for the Master’s degree, publicly presented their major work (performance or exhibit), and completed their work within the period of July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. Nomination materials should be assembled in the following order and submitted electronically as one PDF file (see below for details concerning media files):
    1. 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 and/or project for nomination.
    2. A non-technical summary prepared by the student (1000-1500 words) describing the research, artistic approach, inspiration and/or major influences, and its significance for a general academic audience of non-specialists.
    3. 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 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. A CV or resume from the student nominee.
  2. All nomination materials must be submitted electronically in a single PDF file titled:
    1. LastNameofRecipient_AbbreviatedNameofInstitution_WAGSDistThesisAward_2018-2019.
      1. If submitting media files, additional files may be submitted using the same naming specifications. With all media files, please submit the work via platforms that are readily available to a general audience (e.g. jpegs, QuickTime, etc., or URL for link to web media archive, such as YouTube or Vimeo)
    2. Nominations are due September 14, 2018 and should be sent to: Kristen DeBoer, kristendeboer@BoiseState.edu
  3. Initial screening will be based upon the nomination packet and the thesis will be evaluated on four criteria:
    1. Originality
    2. Aesthetic merit
    3. Technical execution
    4. Potential to reach beyond the original academic audience through future performance, exhibition, or publication
  4. Finalists will be asked to provide an electronic copy of their thesis and/or project for the final round of judging.
  5. The 2018-2019 winner will receive a Certificate of Award, $1000, and travel expenses for the recipient to attend the WAGS Annual Conference and Awards luncheon to be held in Tucson, AZ in March, 2019.