Examples of prize-winning Ph.D. theses and dissertations

From our own experience, we know how difficult it is to begin writing a thesis, especially if you don’t know how to start or structure it. For this reason, looking at other theses can be useful, as this can give you some initial ideas for how to get started.

In this article, you will find examples of different theses and dissertations. Many of the featured Ph.D. theses have received awards. Since doctoral dissertations must be published, their quality can be seen as an example for all postgraduate and undergraduate theses.

Each university has its own rules

As you peruse the examples below, consider that all universities have their own guidelines for writing theses. For example, Oxford University has specific requirements for each faculty regarding the number of words in a thesis, which can range from 50,000 to 100,000 words. At other universities, however, students may be required to limit their dissertations to only 20,000 words.

We highly recommend that you review your own university’s policies.

Examples of award-winning Ph.D. theses and dissertations

University: California Institute of Technology
Faculty: Physics
Author: Michael P. Mendenhall
Award: Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics 2015
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons

University: University of Oxford – St Hilda’s College
Faculty: Computer Science
Author: Mattias P. Heinrich
Award: 2014 Sullivan Thesis Prize
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Deformable lung registration for pulmonary image analysis of MRI and CT scans

University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Faculty: Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences Division – Engineering Science
Author: John Criswell
Award: 2014 Doctoral Dissertation Award
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Secure Virtual Architecture: Security for Commodity Software Systems

University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Faculty: Economics
Author: SeoJeong Lee
Award: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Level: 2014 Zellner Award
Title: Misspecification-Robust Bootstrap for Moment Condition Models

University: Stanford University
Faculty: Management Science and Engineering
Author: Shayan O. Gharan
Award: Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms

University: University of Minnesota
Faculty: Chemical Engineering
Author: Eric Vandre
Award: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Level: 2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics
Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement

University: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Faculty: Management
Author: Ezgi Akpinar
Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission

University: University of Yale
Faculty: Economics
Author: Zhipeng Liao
Award: 2012 Zellner Award
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Shrinkage Methods for Automated Econometric Model Determination

University: University of Washington
Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering
Author: Keith N. Snavely
Award: Doctoral Dissertation Award 2009
Level: Dissertation – Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections

Is this article helpful?
Luca Corrieri

Luca is the 'data junkie' of Scribbr. He writes articles that help you with finding information easier and by providing you with all the answers to your questions. He is a student himself and currently doing his master Strategic Management.

Your dissertation without language mistakes and blunders?

Get help from a professional Scribbr editor.
More info & rates » Trustpilot score of 9.8

No comments

Comment now