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Awards and Scholarships

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Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship

The Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship Award is open to graduate students at South Dakota State University who are in good standing (a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above) and meet the specified criteria for the award (see guidelines).  This year, the Joseph F. Nelson Endowment Fund will provide for two graduate student scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each, split between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters.  Graduate student applicants must have successfully completed 15 semester credit hours of academic work toward a Master’s or PhD degree.  Students must be completing, as part of their degree, original research; preferably in one of the following sciences:  Physics, Chemistry, Physical Geography, Biology, Soil Science, Geology, Mathematics or other Physical Sciences.  Awards for M.S. students are restricted to students pursuing a thesis (option A).  These awards are to be made in addition to any graduate assistantship students may have, and may not be used to substitute for or partially replace an existing assistantship.

Applications must be submitted in one pdf file to by November 27, 2017.

Distinguished Master's Thesis Award

The SDSU Graduate School is soliciting nominations for the Distinguished Master's Thesis Award. The award is to recognize and reward distinguished scholarship and research at the master's level. SDSU is seeking nominations in the two broad categories of Social Sciences and Physical Science/Engineering, which align with the 2018 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Awards. 

Nominations must consist of an abstract and finalized thesis, which should be submitted electronically to by October 17, 2017.

See guidelines for detailed information: Distinguished Master's Thesis Awards Guidelines

SDSU Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award

The SDSU Graduate School is pleased to announce the 2017-18 Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, in recognition of graduate students who exemplify excellence in the teaching/learning mission of SDSU. The purpose of this award is to raise the attention given to excellence in teaching and mentoring as a component of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students for future service as college and university faculty.

The selected recipient will receive a citation and monetary award.  The SDSU Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award competition is open to all graduate students who have graduate assistantships and are actively enrolled students. Nominations must include a letter of support from the department head, a current curriculum vitae, the nominee’s teaching portfolio, which includes: statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of instructional design, delivery, course management and student learning, video clip of “teaching in action,” student evaluation of teaching, evidence of student mentoring and teaching/learning scholarship. Nominations are limited to six pages double spaced. Excluding the nomination form, letters of nomination, letters of support and curriculum vitae, the nomination is limited to six (6) pages double-spaced.

Primary consideration will be given to nominees with an excellent teaching portfolio and student evaluations.

The award recipient will also be nominated for the annual Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award.  This award includes a citation and a $750 honorarium that will be presented at the 74th Annual MAGS meeting, April 4-6 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Nominations must be submitted electronically to before 11:59 p.m., December 29, 2017.

Please see attached documents for evaluation criteria and video guidance


Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award

The Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award was established by the Graduate Council in 2010 to honor faculty members who have truly shown excellence in mentoring graduate students. The award honors faculty for efforts in supporting, encouraging, and promoting their graduate students' research, education, professional and personal development, and career plans. If you would like to nominate a faculty member for this award, please complete nomination form and return by December 1, 2017 to

The selected recipient will be presented with this award at the Celebration of Faculty Excellence on February 21, 2018.


Three Minute Thesis Competition

South Dakota State University invites you to participate in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition.The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges PhD and Master's students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages you to communicate the importance of your research to the broader community.

The competition will be held from 5-9pm, Tuesday, February 6th, 2018, in the Student Union. We would like to encourage all students to participate.

For more specific details about the competition, view the 3MT PowerPoint

To register for the competition, click here. If you are not already logged into MyState, you will have to enter your MyState credentials in the top right corner of the screen, click "My Resources," followed by "Forms," and you'll find "3 Minute Thesis Competition Registration