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Penn State University Libraries

Outstanding Thesis Award


Sandy Confer, (
510 Paterno Library
University Park, PA 16802-1812

Related Links

Student Application: Word / PDF

Faculty Support Form: Word / PDF

Application Criteria

Phi Beta Kappa Thesis Prize

The Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award

Student Application Word / PDF  |  Faculty Support Form Word / PDF  |  Application Criteria


We want your thesis!

The Penn State University Libraries are partnering with the Schreyer Honor's College to create an exciting opportunity for undergraduates: the Annual Competition for the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis. This competition aims to find the best thesis submitted by an undergraduate, and the first place winner will receive an award of $1,250.


The University Libraries have initiated this award as a way to recognize the importance of developing quality research methods, and developing a thorough understanding of the legal and ethical issues related to the use of information—key components of academic excellence.

Through this award, the University Libraries seek to encourage excellence in the research process of locating, evaluating and utilizing appropriate information resources.


The award is given to the student with the outstanding undergraduate thesis, as determined by a jury of librarians and other Penn State faculty.  First place is awarded $1,250, second place is awarded $750 and third place is awarded $500.


Students from all Penn State programs graduating in the prior summer or fall semester, or spring semester of the current year, are eligible for Spring 2015 award.

How to Enter

Students must submit an online application and have a statement of support from a Penn State faculty member. Please consult with your thesis supervisor or advisor, if you would like to be considered for this award. Student applications must be completed online and must include a 250 word (maximum) thesis abstract and a 250 word (maximum) statement demonstrating your use of library and information resources related to your thesis. Your statement should describe your literature review process, what lessons were learned about information and the information gathering, as well as insights about the information sources used; observations about secondary and background research related to your thesis, and any legal or ethical issues related to the information gathering process. Faculty member(s) must complete a statement of support.

Public Oral Defense

Three finalists will be required to present a 30-minute public oral defense of his or her thesis.


  • Monday, April 11, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.: Submission for thesis application, statements of support and final thesis (no late submissions will be accepted) 
  • Monday, April 25, 2016: A jury of librarians and other Penn State faculty will select and notify three finalists to present their public oral defense
  • Thursday, May 5, 2016: Three finalists present their public oral defense of his/her thesis in the Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

For more information, please contact Sandy Confer, 814-863-4723 or

To apply, please complete the below student application and submit to Sandy Confer ( via email.

Student Application:     Word            PDF

Faculty Statement of Support:     Word             PDF