The Winifred and Louis Lancaster
Annual Dissertation Awards

This annual award recognizes two individuals who have completed dissertations deemed by the Awards Committee as with significant impact on the field in terms of methodological and substantive contributions. 

Two awards are given annually to doctoral degree recipients or candidates from two broad academic areas. The four fields of competition alternate each year, as specified by the National Council of Graduate Schools. 

The 2020 Fields of Competition

Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering Competition
Click here to download requirements.

Social Sciences Competition
Click here to download requirements.


To be eligible for this year’s competition, dissertation completion must fall in the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020 (no exceptions).

The Lancaster Award Fields of Competition: A Complete List of Disciplines

Winners of the Lancaster Dissertation Awards will be UC Santa Barbara's nominees for national competitions in their respective fields. 


Biological/Life Sciences
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Marine Biology, Marine Science OR Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology


Humanities and Fine Arts
Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, English, Film and Media Studies, French, Hispanic Languages and Literature, History, History of Art and Architecture, Linguistics, Media Arts and Technology, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies OR Theater and Dance


Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Earth Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Science and Management, Mathematics, Material Science, Mechanical Engineering, Media Arts and Technology, Physics OR Statistics


Social Sciences
Anthropology, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Communications, Counseling, Clinical ad School Psychology, Economics, Education, Environmental Science and Management, Feminist Studies, Geography, Political Science, Psychology OR Sociology

​Nomination Deadline and Selection Process

All faculty letters of support and department nomination materials must be submitted to the Awards Committee of the Graduate Council before the Spring Quarter deadline. The winner will be selected based on the content of the dissertation abstract and letters of recommendation. 


​Award Details 

The two Lancaster dissertations are entered into a national competition sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools. In past years, three Lancaster Award winners have been recipients of the national prize
—A check for $1,000 and a plaque will be awarded upon completion of entry for national competition. Award recipients will be members of the Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony’s Platform Party, where they will be presented with their award.

​About Winifred and Louis Lancaster 

The UC Santa Barbara Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Awards are named after two community leaders who contributed time, talent, and financial resources to UC Santa Barbara for more than half a century. Winifred and Louis Lancaster were civic-minded philanthropists who played a central role in establishing the UC Santa Barbara Foundation and providing support to other key nonprofit organizations in the Santa Barbara area.

​For more information about the Winifred and Louis Lancaster Annual Dissertation Awards, please contact the Graduate Division.