The Department of Psychology Dissertation Scholarship

Nominations due by January 29, 2021.

The Dissertation Scholar is a 9-month appointment awarded annually to an advanced doctoral student, determined by faculty vote. Faculty votes should be informed by the evaluation rubric provided below. The Dissertation Scholar is expected to have a strong record of past scholarship, a compelling nomination letter from the nominee’s mentor, and an outstanding dissertation research proposal for the award period 

Applications should be initiated and submitted by the student’s doctoral mentor (advisor) and should include:

  1. A nomination letter (two pages maximum, single-spaced, 11 point or larger font, margins no smaller than 1 inch) documenting the nominee’s merits. Mentors should comment on:
    • The nominee’s skills and qualifications to accomplish the dissertation project.
    • Evidence of past publication success (e.g., publication metrics, citation counts). Because different subfields can have different norms (e.g., publication rates, journal impact, author ordering, etc.), the advisor’s letter should situate the nominee’s record in the context of the nominee’s research area.
    • Evidence of scholarly independence.
    • Evidence of expertise on the topic of study (e.g., class success, awards, training).
  2. The nominee’s current vita.
  3. A proposal written by the nominee (one page maximum, single-spaced, 11 point or larger font, margins no smaller than 1 inch), which addresses the nominee’s dissertation plan and how the award will facilitate its completion. These proposals will be evaluated on:
    • Synthesis of relevant literature.
    • Clearly defined hypotheses that are well situated in the context of the research area.
    • The project’s design being appropriate and described in terms that are accessible to readers outside the nominee’s area.
    • The potential impact, implications, and importance of the project.
    • Overall clear and accessible communication.

The deadline for completed nominations is January 29th before 5 p.m.

All supporting documents (i.e., faculty member letter of support, nominee’s CV, the nominee’s essay) should be sent as a single PDF attachment by email to -- please make sure the email subject line reads (this subject line is important to ensure the nomination is considered):  Dissertation Scholar nomination. 

Faculty Dissertation Scholar Application Rubric

Dissertation Scholar nominations should be evaluated based on the rubric below (which has been used in previous years). ltems 1-6 should be evaluated based on the Nominee’s proposal document. Items 7-10 should be evaluated based on the Mentor’s nomination letter and the Nominee’s CV. Each item should be evaluated using a scale ranging from 1 (absent or poorly defined) to 7 (exceptional or expertly defined): 

Proposal items 

  1. Nominee synthesizes literature motivating the proposed project.
  2. Nominee’s hypotheses are clearly defined and situated within the context of relevant literature.
  3. The project’s design is described in a way that is accessible to readers outside of the nominee’s area.
  4. The project’s design is appropriate for the central research question and resultant research hypotheses.
  5. The nominee highlights the potential impact, implications, and importance of the project.
  6. Overall, the proposal is communicated in a clear and accessible manner.

Nomination letter and CV items

  1. The nominee’s skills and qualifications for successfully executing the project are evident.
  2. The nominee’s scholarly record shows evidence of publication success appropriate for the applicant’s area of study (e.g., prestigious journal acceptance, publication metrics, citation counts).
  3. The nominee has demonstrated a capacity for scholarly independence.
  4. Broadly defined, the nominee has demonstrated excellence in the area of study (e.g., class success, awards, funding, additional training).

For each nominee, evaluation scores should be based on the sum of the 10 items listed above (producing a theoretical range between 10 and 70 points). These evaluation scores are the sole metric that should be used in determining one’s voting for the dissertation scholar.