Thesis/Dissertation Awards & Convocation Medals

There are several awards to recognize students who are graduating with an outstanding thesis dissertation at the master's and doctoral levels.

Two Governor General Gold Medals and up to twelve Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medals are awarded to students who have achieved the most outstanding academic record during their thesis completion. Students are presented with their medals and certificates at the June Convocation ceremonies. 

Nomination Process

These awards are by nomination only — students do not apply directly.

Thesis/Dissertation Awards and Convocation Medals have different nomination processes. Students and academic units should read the eligibility and nomination process for each award carefully. Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies will send an announcement to each academic unit when it is time to prepare nominations.

Nomination-Only Awards

For 'Nomination-Only' awards speak to your academic unit if you would like to be considered. Students cannot apply directly for these awards.

Featured Award Recipient

Thesis/Dissertation Awards & Convocation Medals

CAGS/PROQUEST-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Awards

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies provides the CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards recognize outstanding doctoral dissertations that make significant, original contributions to both the academic community and to Canadian society.

This award is by nomination only.
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About this Award

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies provides the CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, which have been recognizing outstanding Canadian doctoral dissertations for more than 20 years. They seek work that makes significant, original contributions to both the academic community and to Canadian society. Each award includes a $1,500 prize, a Citation Certificate, and an awards ceremony at the CAGS Annual Conference.

There are two awards at the Doctoral level:

  • Engineering, Medical Sciences and Natural Sciences
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Eligibility
Students must have completed their degree requirements between January and December, in the year previous to the competition, to be nominated.

How to Apply / Be Nominated

  1. Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sends all academic units a memo, inviting nominations (usually in January)
  2. Academic units submit nomination packages to their Faculty Graduate Program Chair in February
  3. Faculties submit their nominations to Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies in early March
  4. The Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee will choose the two candidates to be nominated forward to national competition

Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal

Convocation medals are awarded in June each year to the graduating student from each faculty who has achieved the highest level of academic excellence in his or her graduate program. Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of March 31 – April 1 preceding the decisions to be considered.

This award is by nomination only.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AWARD →

About this Award

  • Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of April 1 of the previous year through March 31 of the nomination year
  • Quality of the thesis, project or extended essay, CGPA, Timeliness of completion of the degree and other contributions to research (measured by such indicators as publications, performances or conference presentations) will be taken into account when selecting the awardee.

How to Apply/Be Nominated

  1. Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sends all academic units a memo, inviting nominations (usually in April)
  2. Academic units submit nomination packages to Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies by March 31
  3. The Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee will choose the top candidates to be awarded the medals

Governor General Gold Medals

Governor General Gold Medals are awarded in June each year to the graduating student from each faculty who has achieved the most outstanding academic record during their thesis completion. Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of March 31 – April 1 preceding the decisions to be considered.

This award is by nomination only.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AWARD →

About this Award

Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation, created the Academic Medals in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive. Medals are awarded at four distinct levels: Bronze at the secondary school level; Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary, diploma level; Silver at the undergraduate level; and Gold at the graduate level.

Two graduate level Governor General Gold Medals are awarded to students from SFU who have achieved the most outstanding academic record during their thesis completion. Students are presented with their medals and certificates at the June Convocation ceremonies. 

Eligibility/Criteria

  • Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of April 1 of the previous year through March 31 of the nomination year
  • CGPA, Timeliness completion of degree, quality of the thesis/dissertation will be taken into account when selecting the awardee.

How to Apply/Be Nominated

  1. Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sends all academic units a memo, inviting nominations (usually in April)
  2. Academic units submit nomination packages to Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies by March 31
  3. The Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee will choose the top candidates to be awarded the medals

Quirks & Quarks Graduate Award for Best PhD Thesis

The purpose of this award is to recognize the best PhD thesis by a doctoral student graduating from the Faculty of Science at SFU. This award is awarded annually from a portion of the income earned from the endowment fund.

This award is by nomination only.
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Terms of Reference

  1. The Quirks & Quarks Graduate Award for Best PhD Thesis will be awarded annually from a portion of the income earned from the endowment fund. The purpose of this award is to recognize the best PhD Thesis by a convocating doctoral student.
  2. The criteria for this award are:
    1. successfully defended the thesis and completed all degree requirements within the twelve month period ending March 31st in a doctoral program in the Faculty of Science at SFU
    2. demonstrated academic and research excellence
    3. The student must be nominated for this award by the Faculty of Science Graduate Studies Committee (FSGSC) from a nomination package received from each department within the Faculty, consisting of the following:
  3. nomination letter from the Department Chair explaining the significance, impact and originality of the doctoral research and identifying the contribution made by the student as distinct from that by the supervisor of the research
    1. a one-page summary of the research written in plain language and signed by the student
    2. an up-to-date curriculum vitae that clearly indicates the student’s contributions to publications and collaborative research activities
    3. a copy of the external examiner’s pre-defense report on the thesis
    4. a current, unofficial SFU transcript
  4. The Faculty of Science Graduate Studies Committee will select one candidate from the nominations received.
  5. The award will be made by the Dean of Graduate Studies, on the nomination of the Faculty of Science Graduate Studies Committee, on behalf of the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee.

How to Apply / Be Nominated

  • Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sends all academic units a memo, inviting nominations (usually in April)
  • Academic units submit nomination packages to the Faculty of Science Graduate Studies Committee in March
  • The Faculty of Science Graduate Studies Committee will forward their top nominee to the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies office by March 31

WAGS Thesis Awards

Each year, the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) seeks university nominees in several awards categories at the master’s level. Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of July 1 of the previous year through June 30 of the nomination year. This award is by nomination only.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AWARD →

About this Award

Each year, the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) seek nominees in these award categories:

  • Innovation in Technology Award
  • WAGS Distinguished Master's Thesis and/or Final Master's Capstone Project Award in the Creative, Visual and Performing Arts
  • WAGS/UMI Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award for the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education and Business (non-STEM award)
  • WAGS/UMI Distinguished Master's Thesis Award for the Biological Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering (STEM award)

Eligibility

Students must have completed their degree requirements within the period of July 1 of the previous year through June 30 of the nomination year.

How to Apply/Be Nominated

  1. Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sends all academic units a memo, inviting nominations (usually in June)
  2. Academic units submit nomination packages to Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies in mid July
  3. The Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee will choose the candidates to be nominated forward to national competition