SPH Award for Research Excellence

Each year, the SPH Research Committee, in collaboration with each SPH department, selects one outstanding masters and doctoral level student to receive the School of Public Health Award for Research Excellence. The award is presented during May commencement exercises.  The purpose of this document is to outline the policy and procedure regarding the eligibility and selection process in identifying the award recipients.


    1. The Office of Research sends out electronic notice to faculty and students during the Fall semester regarding the upcoming award competition.
    2. Students who are planning on competing for either the masters or doctoral research awards should submit a “Notice of Intent to Compete” to the SPH Director of Research indicating that intent, copied to the relevant Department Head by December 31st of each year.  This is a non-binding notice and students may compete without having submitted the notice.  The purpose is to provide the SPH Research Committee with some assessment of the volume of review packages to expect and alerts the relevant department to the list of potential applications to review. 
    3. Eligible students submit the completed Research Award applications to their respective Advisors and Department Heads by the first day of March.  The award application is available on the SPH Office of Research website.
    4. Student eligibility for commencement should be verified by the Department Head and denoted on the research application.
    5. Each Department reviews the pool of nominee applications and selects up to two masters and two doctoral nominee names to send forward to the Research Committee.  The winning departmental nominee applications are due to The Research Office by close of business the 10th day of March. 
    6. The SPH Research Advisory Committee reviews the applications and by means of vote, determines the masters and doctoral award recipients for the year.  Notice of the recipients will be provided confidentially to the Office of Student Affairs for inclusion in the graduation program by the 20th day of March.  Student affairs will then handle the presentation process as part of the annual spring graduation ceremony.

If any of the above dates fall on a weekend, the materials are due on the next business day.


 With some exceptions as denoted below, all students who are eligible to participate in the graduation ceremonies are eligible to compete for the award.  Students that become eligible to graduate later than spring semester will be eligible for consideration at the following spring graduation ceremony.  Excluded from eligibility are SPH students with a previous doctoral graduate research degree (Ph.D., Dr.P.H.) or students concurrently enrolled in an advanced research degree program.  Exceptions to the eligibility will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Research Dean in consultation with the Research Committee. 

Application Content

 The application may focus on a single project or a student’s research portfolio conducted as an enrolled masters or doctoral student.  The student may work with advisors or thesis/dissertation committee members in preparing the application.  The work does not necessarily have to be part of a thesis of dissertation project; however, the work must reflect the student’s own efforts.

Criteria for Student Research Award Evaluation

Criteria for selection include quality of the research design, scientific rigor throughout, importance of the question examined, and potential impact on relevant outcomes, either current or future.

Attachment   Student Research Award Application