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Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Bouchet Society) recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promote a diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who serve as examples of the five pillars, scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. 

The Bouchet Society is restricted to currently enrolled students in a doctoral program who are in their final stages of degree completion (typically within 1-2 semesters of defending and graduating), or current postdoctoral researchers at Virginia Tech.

The deadline for student applications is January 16, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

For questions from students enrolled on the Blacksburg campus, please reach out to Dr. Catherine Cotrupi, Interim Assistant Dean and Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Partnerships, at 

For qustions from students enrolled in programs in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, please contact Dr. Chontrese Hayes, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Success, at

Each fall semester, The Graduate School announces the start of the application period. Doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars or associates must fill out an application if they wish to be considered to join the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

Each candidate's application requires two letters of recommendation: one from an academic advisor and, preferably, one from a community member who is familiar with the student's broader service and advocacy work. Ideally, one letter will articulate the nominee's academic excellence and the other will describe the nominee's contributions that complement research and teaching, such as advocacy and engagement with specific communities. 

The application can be found here.

Use this portal to submit letters of recommendation.

All applications and letters of recommendation must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2024.

Those selected to be members of the Virginia Tech Chapter of the Bouchet Society are recognized at the Graduate Education Week's Awards Banquet in March and at the annual Bouchet Society Conference held at Yale University in April. Conference information will be provided once available.

The form asks for information about applicants' department or program affiliation, and about anticipated degree completion for doctoral students.

All applicants are asked to provide the title and brief description (75 words or less) of their dissertation or current research. 

Edward A. Bouchet Photo

Edward Bouchet (1852-1918) graduated from Yale College in 1874 was the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university with a Ph.D. in physics at Yale University in 1876. At that time, Bouchet was the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics.