Research Excellence Award

Award Submission Deadlines:

Term No later than
Fall Semester No later than November 15
Spring Semester No later than April 1
Summer Semester No later than July 1

All nominations can be submitted online by designated faculty members or department staff. Follow the selection process for your department/program. Submissions by students are not allowed.

Award Distribution

Letters, certificates, and honor cords will be distributed to Departments during Dead Week. If a student is not graduating this semester, it will be the student’s responsibility to keep the honor cord and wear it during his/her graduation ceremony.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of these awards is to recognize graduate students for outstanding research accomplishments as documented in their theses and dissertations. These students are also expected to be academically superior and able to not only do research, but develop a well written product. The intent of this program is to recognize “the best of the best” graduating students who have submitted theses and dissertations. Departments can choose to use more restrictive guidelines. This document shows the maximum number of awards for ISU departments for an academic year (fall, spring, summer). Departments can give the research awards once a year or each semester. We would anticipate the most years you would not give the maximum number of awards. In certain years you may need extra awards. You can go up to one over the maximum amount without asking approval. If you need more than one over the maximum, then we ask that you write a memo of justification and request for approval to the Graduate College Research Excellence Program is administered by the Graduate College.

Description of Awards

Each Research Excellence Award consists of a letter of commendation from the ISU President, a certificate of achievement signed by the Graduate Dean and the ISU President, and an honor cord to be worn at commencement. Recipients are recognized at Commencement by the honor cord, and being cited in the ISU Commencement Program. The award is also noted on the student's transcript. Funding is not available through this program to offer cash prizes. However, departments are encouraged to use their own funds for this purpose whenever possible. Any cash prize should be handled directly by the department.


The student does not need to graduate in the semester they receive the award, but they should be very close to finishing. Students need to be far enough along in their dissertation/thesis for you to recognize the excellence qualities established by your department. Recipients of these awards must be enrolled at ISU at the time the awards are given; students that have graduated are not eligible for these excellence awards. If the student has already graduated, they can be nominated for the Karas and Zaffarano Graduate Awards.

A student is eligible for only one Research Excellence Award per degree; however, it is possible to grant a student both a Teaching and a Research Excellence Award for the same degree during his/her academic career.

Award Procedure

The process of selection will be the responsibility of each department or interdepartmental program. We encourage departments/programs to establish criteria and the selection process for their area. The Graduate College sets the maximum number of recipients. Departments can be more restrictive according to their own criteria and policies.

All award submissions are made online and can be submitted only by staff or faculty. Submissions by students are not allowed.

Award Method

Letters, certificates, and honor cords will be mailed to departments at the end of each semester during Dead Week. Departments will be responsible for presenting the awards and will have the opportunity to supplement the award with a cash prize at that time. Each student name submitted will be given an award and it will be the responsibility of each department to monitor the submission and accuracy of the awards. The honor cords should be kept by the student and worn during their graduation ceremony.

The Graduate College will notify the Registrar’s Office and the Commencement Office so that the award appears on the student’s transcript and in the Commencement program.

Awards will not be given after the student has graduated, so please check your submissions and records to make sure they are correct. Any corrections or adjustments should be settled BEFORE the student graduates.

If you have any questions about this program, please call Charlene Shaw in the Graduate College: 294-4531, or e-mail .