Established in 1983 by Salo and Jeanette Baron, this prize is awarded every four years to honor excellence in a dissertation in Jewish studies successfully defended during the preceding four years. The terms of the prize invite a liberal interpretation, opening competition for the Award to graduate students from PhD programs in most of the Humanities and Social Sciences and on occasion in the Natural Sciences.
In selecting a dissertation for consideration the following general criteria should be considered: (a) originality of the work and significance of the contribution to current research in the field, (b) quality of basic research of presentation, (c) elegance and economy of style.
Upon completion of the defense, the chair of the Dissertation Defense Committee shall ask for nominations from members of the Defense Committee. In order to be accepted for final consideration for the Bancroft Awards and/or the Baron Prize, the vote must have the unanimous endorsement of the candidate's Dissertation Defense Committee.