The Transdisciplinary Studies Program invites doctoral candidates who are advanced to candidacy and are within 18 months of expected graduation to apply for the 2023 – 2024 Transdisciplinary Dissertation Award. The award recognizes students who are using transdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives in their research in innovative, creative, and compelling ways.

Award amount is up to up to $10,000 per award for the academic year. Funds are disbursed after the add/drop deadline for the respective fall and spring terms during the award year.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Current Registration as a doctoral student in any field of study at CGU.
  2. Completion of All Coursework for the PhD, with the exception of Dissertation Research units that have been approved by the faculty.
  3. Advancement to Candidacy including approval of the Dissertation Proposal and successful submission of the Advancement to Candidacy Form to the Registrar’s Office. If advancement to candidacy has not been recorded by the Registrar’s Office by the time of award notification, the student will have until Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 to advance to candidacy or the award will be rescinded.
  4. A Reasonable Expectation of Completion of all remaining requirements for the PhD degree within 18 months of award notification.
  5. Doctoral Study Registration must be maintained for both the fall and spring terms for the award period. If doctoral registration is not maintained for both terms, the award will be rescinded.
  6. Recipients of a Transdisciplinary Studies Award may not accept a CGU Dissertation Grant and vice versa; recipients may accept one award or the other, but not both awards.
  7. Previous Recipients of a CGU Dissertation Award or a Transdisciplinary Dissertation Award are not eligible to apply.
  8. Recipients of a Crossing Boundaries Research Award are eligible to apply for the TNDY Dissertation Award.

Evaluation Criteria

A Transdisciplinary Studies advisory committee will review all applications and select recipients. Selected proposals will demonstrate: a breadth of disciplinary methodologies and perspectives; a clear command of the research questions, contexts, and interpretations with generalizable merit and significance; methodological validity and feasibility of the project timeline; and a strong academic performance record. The specific criteria of evaluation and a rubric may be viewed and downloaded here: Evaluation Criteria Rubric (.pdf).

How To Apply

To apply, please submit the following items, using the linked airSlate form below, by 5:00PM (Pacific), Tuesday, April 11, 2023:

  1. A Publishable Abstract* of your dissertation project (100 word maximum).
  2. A Synopsis of Your Dissertation Research Plan* including and organized by the following (1200 word maximum):
    1. The proposed dissertation title and the word count of the synopsis.
    2. The rationale and context within previous scholarship, specific aims, and projected significance of the proposed dissertation.
    3. The information-gathering and analytical methods and techniques used.
    4. The organizational plan (by chapter) of the dissertation.
    5. The following optional items may be included (items will not count toward 1200 word maximum for the synposis):
      1. Bibliographic information (one page maximum).
      2. Appendix material (one page maximum).
  3. An Academic Timeline* including the date of your advancement to candidacy and stages of progress (and completion) of your dissertation (one page maximum).
  4. A Budget Justification* explaining how you would use the dissertation award. Including, if relevant, an itemized budget for research expenses. University tuition and fees may be included, be sure to justify their inclusion (one page maximum).
  5. A Curriculum Vitae* (two pages maximum).
  6. One or more Draft Chapters* from your dissertation proposal (60 pages maximum).
  7. The Certification of Eligibility Statement** signed by the applicant and one member of the applicant’s dissertation committee certifying the applicant’s eligibility to apply for the award. No extra form, document, or email is required, this step is completed during the airSlate application process.

* Required Item

Application Period Is Closed.

Applications are due: 2023 – 2024 Application Period Is Closed 5:00PM (Pacific), Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

Questions? Need Help? Want to Learn More?

Interested in applying? Check out our frequently asked question section below. Interested in speaking with CGU staff about the Symposium? We are also hosting a series of prep sessions for students to assist applicants, see the FAQ section below for more information. You can also reach out to us directly @ too.

Please Note:

  • Key Dates:
    • Application Period Opens: Thursday, February 23rd, 2023
    • Application Period Closes: Tuesday, April 11th, 2023
    • Award Notification Date: May 9th, 2023
    • Award Disbursement #1: September 2023
    • Award Disbursement #2: February 2024
  • The Center for Writing & Rhetoric can provide one-on-one consultation support for applicants.
  • Only doctoral students are eligible for the award.
  • Please note most reviewers of your application will be outside of your field of study, so write clearly and avoid or clearly define specialized terms or concepts.
  • The Transdisciplinary Studies Office will provide a copy of an applicant’s academic transcript to the review committee. Applicants do not need to provide an academic transcript in the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the Transdisciplinary Studies Dissertation Award open to Joint Doctoral Students?

    Yes, the TNDY Dissertation Award is open to all CGU doctoral students including joint and interfield doctoral students.

  2. Which award should I apply for? One of the dissertation awards or the research award?

    The TNDY and CGU dissertation awards are intended to support dissertation research and writing. These awards are for students who have already advanced to candidacy or will advance to candidacy by August 1st, 2023.

    The Crossing Boundaries Research Award is intended to support research that will lead to a dissertation proposal. Students who are finishing coursework, preparing for qualifying exams, and/or working on their dissertation proposal should apply for the Crossing Boundaries Research award and not a dissertation award.

    Students who have advanced or will advance to candidacy by June 2023 are not eligible for the Crossing Boundaries Research Award.

  3. I am applying for the Transdisciplinary Studies Dissertation Award, should I also apply for the CGU Dissertation Award

    Yes, we highly recommend that students apply for both the Transdisciplinary Studies Dissertation Award and the CGU Dissertation Award. Note, applicants will need to submit an application for each award

    Conversely, students applying for the CGU Dissertation Award may consider applying for the Transdisciplinary Studies Dissertation Award if they believe their project also utilizes transdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives in innovative, creative, and compelling ways. Otherwise, we recommend that students working within a single field, utilizing uni-disciplinary methods, and/or on a problem of relevance to only one disciplinary field apply only for the CGU Dissertation Award.

    If you are uncertain whether your research qualifies as “transdisciplinary,” please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your project.

  4. What does “Advancement to Candidacy” mean?

    The term “Advancement to Candidacy” means that you meet all the qualifications as specified by your program (i.e., completed 72-units of coursework, passed qualifying exams or completed your portfolio, completed all research tools, and any other requirements as outlined by your program, etc.). Each doctoral program is different, so please confirm with your faculty/departmental advisor on the exact specifications required of your degree program to advance to candidacy.

  5. Should applicants have their faculty advisor/chair certify applicant eligibility via email?

    No, faculty advisor/chair certification of eligibility is automatically handled via the application form. Neither the applicant nor the certifying advisor will need to submit a separate email.

    We do recommend that applicants notify the faculty advisor certifying their eligibility for the award that they have or will submit an application for the award.

  6. How do I create an abstract? What are the best practices?

    Review the recording from the on abstracts below to learn about the key components of a well-crafted abstract.

    View the Recording!

  7. What should the “budget justification” contain? Does it need to be written out in prose format? Can I use a bulleted list? Can I use a spreadsheet?

    The budget justification lists and justifies how applicants will use the funds to support their research and writing. Applicants may use a written description, a bulleted list, and/or a spreadsheet. Any of the formats or a combination of formats is acceptable as long as the format details and justifies how the award funds will assist the applicant in completing their dissertation.

  8. Can I use the award funds to cover tuition/fees and living expenses?

    Yes, applicants may use the award funds to cover doctoral study tuition and fees, and living expenses. Applicants should discuss the use of funds to cover tuition and living expenses in their budget justification.

  9. What should the “academic timeline” contain? Does it need to be written out? Can I use a spreadsheet?

    The academic timeline describes the different stages, milestones, and/or steps and the time the applicant anticipates it will take to complete them. The timeline may be written out or detailed in a spreadsheet or some combination thereof. Any of the formats or a combination of formats is acceptable as long as the format details and justifies how the award funds will assist the applicant in completing their research.

  10. I am doing human subject study stuff, is there anything special I need to do?

    Yes. First, talk to your faculty and/or research advisor. Second, reach out to the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB’s “focus is to facilitate faculty investigators and help train student investigators to understand and carry out the fundamental purpose of all IRBs, which is to assure the Investigator’s Respectful Behavior toward every person who participates in research as a ‘human subject’.”

    The IRB advises that asking whether a project is HSR is really asking two questions: (1) Is it research? (according to federal regulations) and (2) Does the research involve human subjects?

    Human subject means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research:

    1. Obtains information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or
    2. Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes, or generates identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens.

    Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities that meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program that is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities. For purposes of this part, the following activities are deemed not to be research:

    1. Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research, and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information, that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected.
    2. Public health surveillance activities, including the collection and testing of information or biospecimens, conducted, supported, requested, ordered, required, or authorized by a public health authority. Such activities are limited to those necessary to allow a public health authority to identify, monitor, assess, or investigate potential public health signals, onsets of disease outbreaks, or conditions of public health importance (including trends, signals, risk factors, patterns in diseases, or increases in injuries from using consumer products). Such activities include those associated with providing timely situational awareness and priority setting during the course of an event or crisis that threatens public health (including natural or man-made disasters).
    3. Collection and analysis of information, biospecimens, or records by or for a criminal justice agency for activities authorized by law or court order solely for criminal justice or criminal investigative purposes.
    4. Authorized operational activities (as determined by each agency) in support of intelligence, homeland security, defense, or other national security missions.

What To Learn More? Have a Question That is Not Answered Here?

You can also view a Q + A session with Andrew Vosko, Associate Provost and Director of Transdisciplinary Studies, and Eusebio Alvaro, Associate Provost for Research, to learn more about the dissertation awards.

View Recorded Award Q + A Information Session (Zoom)

Otherwise, please feel free to email us @ with questions.

Current Dissertation Award Fellows

It is our pleasure to announce the TNDY Dissertation Award Fellows for 2022 – 2023. The recipients and brief descriptions of their dissertation projects are listed below. This is an impressive set of projects and illustrates that high quality, high impact research is being conducted across all disciplines here at CGU.

Sergio Gonzalez

School of Educational Studies

“A Jotería Identity and Belonging: Pláticas of Co-Creation with Queer Latinx Graduate Students in Higher Education”

Homophobia, patriarchy, and white supremacy are deeply embedded in academia and our communities; consequently, there is a lack of empirical research that speaks to the collective experiences connected to Jotería, queer people of color, and Latinx/a/o graduate students (Tijerina Revilla & Santillana, 2014). Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory qualitative dissertation is to understand how sense of belonging informs the identity development of queer Latinx/a/o graduate students in higher education. By incorporating Jotería Identity and Consciousness and Sense of Belonging as guiding frameworks, this dissertation will lay the foundation to center queer Latinx/a/o graduate students’ lived experiences through the co-creation of authentic pláticas.

Anthony Lyons

Center for Information Systems & Technology/School of Educational Studies

“Data Industry Career Competencies for Post High School African American Males”

On many comparative lists regarding STEM students and workers, African American males are an unacceptably low percentage of the population. This research seeks to ascertain which transdisciplinary components are fundamental for programs seeking to identify, needs asSchool of Educational Studiess, and assist African American, post high school males interested in the Data Science and Analytics field. By identifying which skills are fundamental for an entry-level Data Analytics career, but also the skills gaps that may hinder an individual’s success, facilities interested in developing competency-based training programs and data analyst pipelines will have a roadmap to follow.

Jessica Moss

School of Arts & Humanities – Cultural Studies

“Interfaith Communities: Relationships in Thirdspace”

Contending with, and expanding the understanding of, diverse interfaith relationships, this project presents a nuanced awareness of interfaith action and the dialectic of lived religion with interfaith engagement. Arguing that interfaith is a type of thirdspace in which engagements have affective impacts on individuals within interfaith communities, as well as orientation towards religious communities. While there are common struggles, interpretations, and socializations that hinder the participation of women and non-binary individuals in institutional interfaith spaces, observing organic interfaith relationships as occurring in thirdspace allows for the recognition of radical inclusion and dedication to diversity.

Monica Perkins

School of Educational Studies

“Toward Black Feminist Theorization in the History of U. S. Medical Education”

Seminal literature on early twentieth century Black women physicians is often biographical and bereft of contextualization within the construction and reform of medical education in the United States. Furthermore, discourse on the history of US medical education has an ahistorical ethos that places Black women’s epistemologies on the margins. This study employs Black Feminist Thought in archival research on California’s earliest Black women physicians within the context of the construction and reform of medical education to problematize and nuance understandings of early twentieth century US medical education and challenge how scholars interpret archival gaps to develop historical claims.

Ana Ortiz Salazar

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation – International Studies

“The Future of Plastics Scraps Trade: Identifying Determinants and Impacts of the Shifting Global Plastic Scraps Network”

China’s 2017 National Sword policy, which banned plastic scraps imports, has had ripple effects throughout the global plastics scraps trade network. The consequences are cross-sectoral and multi-scalar, resulting in cascading impacts across markets, policy, natural environments, and human public health. To anticipate the future impacts of a shifting global plastic scraps network, the author first uses a Social Network Analysis (SNA) approach to explore the network’s topological changes over time. To better understand those changes and their consequences, a cross-sectional time-series multi-method analysis is also used, identifying characteristics that make countries more likely to become havens for plastic waste.

Rebecca Williams

School of Arts & Humanities – Music

“Piano Instruction: An Exercise in Collaborative Creativity through Dialogic Pedagogy”

Private piano instruction necessitates dialogic pedagogy and a collaborative mindset to enable the co-creation of knowledge between teacher and student because it seeks to teach affective and motor skills in addition to the traditional cognitive learning of the classroom. This project lies at the intersection of musicology and pedagogy, weaving together historical artifacts with current pedagogical practices. A textual analysis of historical keyboard pedagogy sources will be conducted and analyzed through the lenses of a set of pedagogical frameworks. Several case studies will be conducted using these frameworks to determine if dialogic pedagogy elicits agency and fulfillment in piano students.

This year we were also able to recognize and award three “Honorable Mention” distinctions for work showing exceptional promise and impact. These awardees will receive additional funds to carry out their dissertation research.

Martiza Cha

School of Educational Studies

“Exploring college knowledge: Diálogo between college counselors and socioeconomically disadvantaged Latinx public high school students”

The purpose of this dissertation study is to explore college counselors’ experiences establishing relationships, engaging, and sharing college knowledge with socioeconomically disadvantaged Latinx students. The researcher will be doing their dissertation employing plática methodology, this study aimed to understand the experiences of both college counselors and Latinx high school students as they enter in diálogo around the college guidance process. The research sheds light on the constraints and opportunities in the college guidance process, contributing to research and practice for a critical group of high school students.

Marcia Joppert

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation – Psychology

“Evaluation Education in a World in Transformation: The Way Forward”

This study adopts a transdisciplinary perspective by examining how formal evaluation education programs (FEEP) respond to challenges in the field of evaluation in a world in transformation. Decision-makers need sound evidence to understand the dynamic change the world has faced and its impacts. This scenario has provoked discussions about the need to change how evaluation is practiced and taught. However, evidence is lacking about whether education programs prepare evaluators for this new scenario. By gathering data from evaluation experts and Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE), this study will provoke reflections on how FEEP should adapt or change.

Chengcheng Zhang

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation – Economics

“How do demand-side incentives relate to insurance transitioning behavior of public health insurance enrollees? A novel voting ensemble approach for ranking factors of mixed data types”

To estimate the insurance transitioning behavior of the public health insurance enrollees in the U.S., we conduct factor analysis importance based on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2011 – 2018. We aim to quantify the relationship between insurance transitioning and related factors. We also design a voting ensemble to obtain two types of relatively model-free ranking scores for each factor. We find that the top five driving factors of insurance transitioning are number of physician office visits, family size, chronic condition, age and family income. A predictive model based on the top-ranked factors is provided and model validation result shows that it is competitive to other popular prediction methods.

Past Dissertation Award Fellows