Patrick J. Bird Dissertation Award

HHP Dean Emeritus Patrick J Bird established the award to recognize doctoral students with exceptional promise, and to encourage the highest levels of scholarship, research, and scientific impact as they complete their dissertation.

Award Criteria:

  • Eligible students include all HHP Ph.D. students who have passed their qualifying exam and been admitted to candidacy, but will not graduate until the Fall 2017 semester or thereafter.
  • The dissertation topic must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee, as represented by a letter of nomination signed by the supervisory committee chair.

Application Information:

Applications must be e-mailed to Sarah Eberhart and include required documentation as PDF files. Please include the following documents:

  • A letter of nomination from the chair of the candidate’s supervisory committee, briefly describing why the dissertation is sufficiently meritorious for consideration
  • A letter of application from the student nominee describing long-term interests, career aspirations, and how the dissertation fits in the scope of these ambitions
  • A summary (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins) of the proposed dissertation topic, not to exceed two pages. An appendix (also not to exceed two pages) may be included for references and non-textual material, such as figures or tables. The summary may include, but does not necessitate the following elements:
    • Background and Significance, Approach, Methods, (Pilot) Results, Potential for Broader Impact
    • A current CV emphasizing the applicant’s potential for scholarly productivity (i.e., refereed publications, abstracts, presentations) and other factors that denote excellence

Evaluation Criteria:

Evaluation will be conducted by the HHP Graduate Faculty Committee and will consist of a holistic review of application materials. The scientific rigor and potential impact of the proposed project will be of primary importance. Evidence of the following will also be considered:

    • Innovation, novelty, and creativity
    • Promise for discipline specific advancement
    • The quality of the major professor’s (supervisory committee chair) letter of nomination
    • The quality of the nominee’s letter of application
    • The potential for publication
    • The quality of the writing
    • Rotating the award across students from each department over succeeding years


Completed application packets (PDF files) must be submitted to Sarah Eberhart no later than Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 4:00pm.