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Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal

Congratulations to the 2019 recipients!

  • Arts and Humanities: JP Messina (Philosophy)
  • Biological Sciences: Joyce Chen (Biomedical Sciences)
  • Jacobs School of Engineering: Rachel Marty Pyke (Bioinformatics and Systems Biology)
  • Physical Sciences: Erik Romero (Chemistry)
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Natalya Gallo (Oceanography)
  • Social Sciences: Mauricio Romero (Economics)

If you are interested in this award when you defend, here are the details on getting nominated and selected:

Call for Nominations 

Award Description

The Graduate Student Association (GSA), in coordination with the Graduate Division and the Office of Research Affairs, is seeking outstanding graduate students who have recently completed their thesis work at UC San Diego.  Each department is eligible to nominate one student who has completed an outstanding dissertation in the past year.  A committee of faculty assembled by the dean of each division will select a winner from each division at UC San Diego.  Award winners will have the opportunity to be honored at commencement, when they receive their medals at the time of being hooded. Winners will also be recognized as a recipient of the medal on the Graduate Division webpage.

This Medal is an excellent opportunity for the university to recognize the work of our most outstanding students as they leave with their PhDs.


  • One PhD student from each department will be considered for the division-level award.
  • PhD students who are registered with the medical or pharmacy schools will be included with the division of biological sciences; IR/PS and Rady PhD students will be included with the division of social sciences.
  • PhD students must have defended their PhD thesis and completed their paper work with the Graduate Division between April 1st of previous year through March 31st of the current year, or commencement year, in order to be eligible for the award. Note: The date of successful defense can be used in extenuating circumstances. Please contact VP Academic Affairs if this is needed.


  • 2 letters of recommendation from committee members, one of which must come from the committee chair or co-chair
  • Research summary (1000 word maximum) of the dissertation research, including project background and rationale, an explanation of research design (e.g., methods, procedure, analysis plans), and other important aspects of the project.
  • One optional, additional page listing references included in the research summary (i.e., references need not count toward the 1000 word maximum)
  • Copy of the dissertation including an abstract
  • Letter of support from the department chair

Criteria For Selection

The quality of the research and dissertation alone is to be considered for applicants to this award.  The criteria to be considered by the committees are:

  • Impact:  The importance and impact of the research to the field and/or the department
  • Originality:  The insight, originality, and creativity shown by the author
  • Presentation:   The effectiveness of the writing, clarity, and organization of the thesis
  • Quality:  The soundness of the methodology and the quality of the data

Response Deadline

  • Department level: Department nominations and requirement materials are due to the divisional dean no later than April 15, 2019.
  • Divisional level: Divisional selections are due to GSA VP Academic, Vladimir Jovanovic, at by May 1st, 2019.

Notification of Award

Award winners will be notified of their selection by May 5th, 2019.

An award winner luncheon will be held on the second week of June, 2018.


Questions?  Please contact GSA VP Academic at