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Awards & Honors

Graduate students and faculty are encouraged to participate in university, regional, and national competitions which recognize outstanding accomplishments.

Each year, the University of New Mexico awards the Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize to recognize the highest level of academic excellence among our doctoral students.

The Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize was established as a permanent memorial to the late Tom L. Popejoy, President of the University of New Mexico from 1948 to 1968. The award recognizes and encourages the highest level of academic excellence.

Competition for the prize is structured on a three-year rotation, so that in one year, the departments of Art and Art History (including MFA) and Humanities are asked to submit their best dissertations; in the next, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics & Statistics; and last, Social Sciences and Education (including EdD).


Period eligible for competitionNomination Deadline
   Category 1: 
  • Art & Art History (including MFA)
  • American Studies
  • Chicana/o Studies
  • English
  • Foreign Languages & Literature
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Spanish & Portuguese
Spring 2017-Fall 2019March 1, 2020

   Category 2:

  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical & Nuclear Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Earth & Planetary Sciences
  • EECE (including Optical Sciences)
  • Math & Statistics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Physics & Astronomy (including Optical Sciences)
  • Psychology
Spring 2018-Fall 2020March 1, 2021

   Category 3:

  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Counseling
  • Economics
  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Linguistics
  • Educational Psychology
  • Family Studies
  • Health, Exercise & Sports Science
  • Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Multicultural Teacher & Childhood Education
  • Organization, Information & Learning Sciences
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Special Education
Spring 2019-Fall 2021March 1, 2022

Nomination Procedures 

The departments eligible for submitting nominations for Spring 2020 are in the first category:

  • Art & Art History (including MFA)
  • American Studies
  • Chicana/o Studies
  • English
  • Foreign Languages & Literature
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Spanish & Portuguese

Each of these departments or programs may nominate one dissertation from a student that graduated any time between the Spring 2017 semester through the end of the Fall 2019 semester. A jury of two tenured faculty members and the Dean of Graduate Studies will select the award-winning dissertation. The original dissertation readers’ reports will be made available to the jury, whose deliberations will be confidential. If no dissertation is found worthy of the prize in a given year, no award will be made and the rotation will continue the following year.

Nominating Units must submit the following information by the published deadline:

  • Nomination form
  • A written overview of the dissertation and why it was chosen as the departmental nomination
  • A copy of the dissertation (Graduate Studies will obtain from LoboVault Repository)
  • When possible, include the nominee’s current position and what publications/grants arose from the dissertation.

*Note: For dissertations written in a language other than English, the nominating unit must provide either:

  • An English translation of the complete dissertation or
  • An English translation of the complete introduction and conclusion, accompanied by a detailed summary of the dissertation and, when possible, one or more published articles written in English based upon the dissertation research.


A $2500 stipend will be awarded at Spring commencement each year. The recipient should be present at Spring commencement to accept the award.

Nomination Deadline:  March 1, 2020
For additional information contact Margaret Gonzales at

For additional information contact Margaret Gonzales:

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