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William Preston Society Master's Thesis Award

The William Preston Society established the William Preston Society Thesis Award in 1999 to recognize graduate students whose thesis presents the best original research with potential to benefit all people. Nominations may be made in three categories.

Category 1: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Category 2: Social Science, Business, Education, and Humanities

Category 3: Digital Scholarship - Innovative Application of Technology in a Master's Thesis: Evaluation will be based on the use of technology in the presentation of the ETD, scholarship, research methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.

Winners receive a plaque and $500.

The Graduate School may submit the winning theses to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools for its thesis award in years when award criteria align.

Award Criteria

  • Originality of idea
  • Clarity and effectiveness of presentation
  • Quality of writing
  • Significance of contribution to the field
  • Theses must have been submitted and approved during calendar year 2020
  • Only one nomination per department
  • Secured theses are not eligible

Nomination requirements

  • Completed nomination form
  • Double-spaced summary (maxiumum 2 pages) written by the nominee so that reviewers outside the field can gain insight into contribution
  • Nomination letter from major professor addressing all of the selection criteria, including nominee's current position, if applicable (maximum one page)
  • Support letter from member of the thesis committee (maximum 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae from the nominee (maximum 2 pages)

To nominate a student, compile signed nomination form and all supporting documents on the checklist (in the above order) in a single PDF file. Upload this package through the survey found at this link:

Deadline:  January 29, 2021


Additional information:

Contact: 540-231-4558 or email (type GEW in subject line.)