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Outstanding Master's Thesis Award

The Graduate College is delighted to announce this year’s competition for the Texas State Outstanding Master’s Thesis Awards. These $500.00 thesis awards are in alignment with the Conference of Southern Graduate School’s (CSGS) awards, which are given in four different categories on a rotating basis: a) Math, Physical Sciences and Engineering, b) Humanities and Fine Arts, c) Social Sciences, Business, and Education, d) Life Sciences. In addition, there is also an award in the category of “Non-traditional Thesis/Project Award”.

  Award Categories

For 2021-22, the award categories are as follows:

  1. Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Life Sciences (1 award)
    Animal science, agriculture, biological anthropology, biochemistry, biostatistics, biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, epidemiology, health sciences, medical social work, (computational) neuroscience, nursing, physics-biophysics, psychobiology, radiology, sports science, and research in closely related fields
  2. Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Social Sciences, Business, and Education (1 award)
    Anthropology, accountancy, business, communications, criminal justice, demography, economics, education, finance, gender and sexual studies, geography, government, international relations, law, linguistics, management, marketing, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy studies, sociology, social work, urban studies, and research in closely related fields.
  3. Non-traditional Thesis/Project Award (1 award)
    This category refers to both theses that do not readily conform to the traditional model, such as those produced in MFA programs both for literature and the performing arts, as well as those that deviate from the typical disciplinary approaches.  Furthermore, it also includes capstone/final research-oriented projects in non-thesis degree programs.

Please note that these categories are not based on the student’s affiliation with an academic department, but both on the research approach and topic of the thesis. 

The Graduate College will submit the winners of the on-campus competition to CSGS’s outstanding master’s thesis competition, where they stand to win an additional $1,000 plus travel expenses for the awardee to attend the 2022 CSGS meeting in Raleigh, NC (February 17-19, 2022), where the award will be presented.


The thesis/project must have been accepted in partial fulfillment of master’s degree requirements during the past two academic years and/or summer sessions (Fall 2019 through Summer 2021). The thesis must also represent truly outstanding work in terms of scholarship, methodology, contributions to the field, and clarity. Each program is allowed to nominate one thesis per award category.

  Nomination Requirements

Nominations must include the following materials and must be submitted as a complete package in one single PDF. Nominations that do not adhere strictly to these instructions will not be considered:

  1. A synopsis of the thesis (500-word maximum) outlining its context within the broader field, as well as how the completed research contributes to the discipline; prepared by the nominee.
    The synopsis must be understandable by a multidisciplinary readership.
  2. An abbreviated resume or CV of the nominee (1-2 pages).
  3. A web link to an electronic thesis or a copy of the thesis.
  4. A letter of endorsement from the student’s major professor addressing the merit and impact of the thesis. Specifically, the letter needs to focus on the criteria by which the committee will evaluate the submitted theses. These consist of: clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, research methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline

  Deadline: October 8

The materials must be submitted by the student’s advisor to by October 8, 2021. Please include “Texas State Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award + Award Category (i.e., Life Sciences/Social Sciences/Non-traditional)” in the subject line.

  Selection Process

A committee appointed by the Graduate Dean will make recommendations to the Dean of The Graduate College, who will make the final selection. Nominations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • clarity of style and presentation
  • scholarship
  • research methodology
  • contributions to the field or discipline

The Graduate Dean will nominate one thesis in each scholarly area to CSGS. Upon the recommendation of the selection committee, the Graduate Dean may ask the nominee and/or recommender to revise their documents before they are submitted to CSGS.


Please address questions to Graduate Dean Andrea Golato at