Central Asia Program: Student Research Paper Competition

Deadline: 25 November 2016
Open to:  MA or PhD students writing a thesis or a doctorate on Central Asia
Award: USD 300 and opportunity to publish the paper in Central Asian Affairs


The Central Asia Program (CAP) at George Washington University promotes high-quality academic research on contemporary Central Asia, and serves as an interface for the policy, academic, diplomatic, and business communities.

Research on Central Asia tends to be carried out all too often by geographically compartmentalized groups. Central Asia Program strives to bring together counterparts from the United States, Europe, Russia, Asia, and Central Asia by promoting various forms of interaction and initiating joint projects.

To facilitate the growth and coherence of the Central Asian Studies field the Central Asia Program at the George Washington University provides support annually for the best graduate student research paper in Central Asian Studies.


  • Applicants must be MA or PhD students writing a thesis or a doctorate on Central Asia. Postdoctoral scholars are not eligible to participate;
  • The essay should be submitted in English (the MA or PhD thesis can be in another language);
  • The essay must deal with contemporary wider Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Topics on Afghanistan, Xinjiang, Mongolia and the Volga-Ural region will be accepted too;
  • Historical papers will be accepted only if they clearly state how history helps to understand some current issues;
  • Papers should be original research projects using primary sources, rather than reviews of existing literature;
  • The essay should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words;
  • The essay should follow established norms for a scholarly publication and contain:
    1. An abstract of 150 words maximum;
    2. A hypothesis discussed in introduction;
    3. A body in several parts;
    4. A conclusion summarizing the findings;
    5. Footnotes or endnotes;
    6. A bibliography.


The winner will receive a USD 300 award and will be offered the opportunity to publish the paper in Central Asian Affairs. 

How to apply?

Submit your application through the online application form latest by 15 November 2016.

The Central Asia Program will review all applications and pre-select the top 10 papers.  Applicants will be informed by email if they have been pre-selected.  The pre-selected applications will be sent to an Advisory Committee for anonymous reviewing and ranking.

For more information, please visit the official website.

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