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Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award
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The Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award is made possible by the sales of the Fraternity and Sorority Experience Survey. It will recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation completed by an individual recently completing her/his doctorate. The recipient will receive a $1000 cash award and additional recognition at the annual meeting of the Association of Fraternity Advisers. An abstract of the winning dissertation will be printed and distributed by the Center.

The purpose of the Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award is to encourage and support the study and dissemination of high quality research on the role of the fraternity and sorority in higher education. The award is meant to recognize students at the doctoral level who show promise in the field of student affairs. Submissions are anticipated from departments of higher education and student affairs, as well as relevant dissertations from other disciplines.

The individual whose dissertation is selected will receive: A $1000 cash award; a plaque to be awarded at the AFA Annual Meeting to the individual winner and to the school; an invitation to attend and present research findings at the AFA Annual Meeting; an abstract of the thesis to be printed and distributed by the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Research. Please note: The cash award is provided upon submission of an article based on the thesis to a research journal. 

Entrance Requirements

Entrants in the Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award competition must have completed their dissertation and had their degree conferred. Their degree may have been conferred at any time, but must be prior to applying for the award.

Submission Materials

  • Doctoral Dissertation abstract and synopsis. Please follow these guidelines:
    • Must be typed and double-spaced.
    • A cover sheet with the title of the dissertation and the author’s name and address must be attached to the abstract.
    • A title page must be placed on the first page of the abstract. This page must not contain any identifying information and no identifying references, such as college or town names should appear in the abstract.
    • An abstract of no more than 200 words
    • A synopsis of the thesis/dissertation divided into the following sections and shall not exceed 10 pages: 1) Research rational and brief literature review; 2) Statement of the hypothesis/problem; 3) Methodology employed and rationale for its selection; 4) Significant findings and relevance to student affairs in particular and post-secondary education in general; 5) Brief bibliography than cannot exceed 2 pages
    • Two learning outcomes that can be expected of someone who reads your thesis/dissertation
  • Cover letter from the applicant. Must include the following:
    • Title of Dissertation
    • Name of institution granting Doctorate Degree
    • Date degree conferred
    • The statement – “I verify that the above information is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I have read the announcement for the Doctoral Research Award and agree to abide by its terms and conditions. Should I be selected as the award recipient, I agree to assume all of the responsibilities as well as the rewards of being the award recipient.”
  • Letter from the Dissertation Committee Chair. Must include the following:
    • Names and addresses of committee chair and members
    • Title of dissertation
    • Affirmation the applicant was a registered student
    • The graduation/degree conferment date

Judging Process 

All materials become the property of CFSR and will not be returned to the author. The panel of judges will include practicing student affairs and fraternity professionals, and preparation program faculty members. The same number of judges will review each abstract. The judges will use standard rating criteria. Two to four dissertations will be selected as finalists. Upon notification, finalists will submit a copy of their entire dissertations with identifying references removed. The entire panel of judges will evaluate the dissertations of the finalists. The names of the winner and runner-up will be announced at the AFA Annual Conference awards presentation; all finalists will receive written confirmation of finalist status. The award recipient will be notified no later than July 1. The decision of the judges will be final.


All required application materials were to be postmarked by June 1, 2016. We are not accepting applications at this time.
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