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Below are many frequently asked questions about the Undergraduate Research Symposium. If any of your questions are not answered here, email

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General FAQ


We invite research projects from all disciplines and encourage students to submit creative work for the symposium as long as it has an original, scholarly aspect to it. For all submissions, students must be working under the guidance of a faculty mentor who can speak to the quality of the research; this includes students working on faculty research as well as students working on their own research under the supervision of faculty. Capstone projects and senior theses are good examples of the second type of student research. The Undergraduate Research Symposium is not an appropriate venue for “position papers,” where students are presenting opinions rather than scholarly research.

Very generally speaking, most research is characterized by the evidence-based exploration of a question or hypothesis that is important to those in the discipline in which the work is being done. Students, then, must know something about the research methodology of a discipline (what constitutes “evidence” and how do you obtain it) and how to decide if a question or line of inquiry that is interesting to that student is also important to the discipline, to be able to embark on a research project.

Attendees can register here to receive event-related information. Please note that registrants and attendees will be required to comply with any campus COVID policies:

The Undergraduate Research Symposium in-person sessions mostly take place in Mary Gates Hall on the UW campus. There may also be sessions scheduled in surrounding campus buildings, Loew Hall, and the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. You may use this interactive campus map to find Symposium campus buildings and to locate accessible building information: All virtual Symposium sessions will take place via Zoom.

Yes! Student, staff, and alumni volunteers are critical to the success of the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Email href=””> if you would like to be added to the list of potential volunteers. We will contact you during spring quarter to see if you are still interested.

Leading up to the Symposium, presenters are given an opportunity to nominate their mentor for the award. Nominations are considered by a small review committee of faculty and staff. Faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and research staff are all eligible for nomination.

First, please note that MySymposium, our online application system, is optimized for use with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers and may not function properly when viewed with Internet Explorer, especially older versions. If you are still having issues while using Firefox or Chrome, please email with a specific description of the problem.

Note: If you are accessing our online application system for the first time or in a different browser, you may receive a message similar to the one below and will need to install the UW Service Certificate Authority.

This Connection is Untrusted

You have asked Firefox to connect securely to, but we can’t confirm that your connection is secure.

Normally, when you try to connect securely, sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are going to the right place. However, this site’s identity can’t be verified.
What Should I Do?

If you usually connect to this site without problems, this error could mean that someone is trying to impersonate the site, and you shouldn’t continue.

Information about the UW Service Certificate Authority:
The UW Services Certificate Authority (CA) issues digital certificates for UW services and web sites. By installing the UW Services CA root certificate in your web browser, you will be able to visit and use secure UW websites with certificates issued by the UW Services CA without being confronted with warning messages from your browser.

Why should I install the UW Services CA Certificate?

The University of Washington issues certificates to many of the Web services at the university. In order for you to easily use those services, you must tell your browser or email program that you trust the UW Services CA and accept certificates issued by the UW.

What if I don’t install the UW Services CA Certificate?

If you haven’t installed the UW Services CA Certificate, and you use a secure UW Web site or service that uses a certificate issued by the UW Services CA, then your browser will display a warning such as “Website certified by an Unknown Authority”. To avoid such warnings for UW services, install the UW Services CA Certificate. By doing so, you tell your browser to trust certificates issued by the university, but to continue to warn you appropriately of other sites you should not trust.

Student/Presenter FAQ


Yes. You are welcome to apply if you are a UW undergraduate, regardless of where you actually performed your research. If you did your research project at another institution, you will need to get the abstract approved by the faculty mentor you worked with there.

Yes. You do not need to have completed your research to be considered. Many students present research that is ongoing. It is perfectly acceptable to share preliminary results or anticipated findings at the Symposium.

No. Due to space constraints and to allow more students access to presentation opportunities, students can only participate in one presentation. This policy extends to group presentations as well. For example, a student cannot present as part of a group and then have a second, individual, presentation.

Certainly! Event registration will be recommended to receive event updates but not required. A registration link will be available approximately 1 month prior to the event. Please note that registrants and attendees will be required to comply with any campus COVID policies:

Absolutely! We encourage visual and performing artists to submit applications to participate in the Symposium. We have had a wonderful variety of art students present in the past on everything from their sculpture and photography to new techniques being used in actor training.

Yes, all presenters have access to an abstract writing video, where you will learn the basics of abstract construction and see various examples. We also encourage you to take a look at the proceedings from previous years; they will give you a variety of examples of student-written abstracts. You may also view our guidelines here.

Yes, you can apply with an artist’s statement that is specific to the painting/work to be presented. Please include your ideas, where you get your ideas and/or your process, and what the content of the work is about to help the viewer understand the work. If your work is still in process, you might conceive of the abstract as more of a “project proposal” in which you discuss your intended project and the ideas behind it. You may view our guidelines here.

All abstracts are reviewed by a committee of UW faculty, staff, and both graduates and advanced undergraduates.

No. All undergraduates currently doing research with a faculty mentor are encouraged to apply. You can also apply if you have recently graduated but would like to present on research you completed while a UW undergraduate.

Yes. All Mary Gates Scholars who received Research Scholarships are required to participate in the Symposium at least once as part of their award responsibilities. If you are working on a project different than the one for which you received your scholarship and you prefer to present on that project, this is fine.

Yes. All Mary Gates Research Scholars are required to present and must submit an application.

You are welcome to note those changes as you develop your final presentation; this might include slightly amending your abstract included in your final presentation. However, the abstract submitted with your application, which will be printed in the Symposium Proceedings, cannot be amended after the deadline.

There are two possibilities:

  1. If you are a UW student, you should not need an invitation code. In some cases, however, students who have a job on campus or have received scholarships will be identified as “Staff” by the application system. To correct this, please:
    1. Log out completely from the application system.
    2. Close all your browser windows.
    3. Re-open your browser and access the application before logging in to any other UW systems (UW Google Apps, Catalyst, MyUW, etc.)
      Google Chrome Users: Another option is to try accessing the application from an Incognito tab
  2. If you are not a UW student, contact to see if you are eligible to present.

Yes, you can contact the Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at least 10 working days before the event to request accommodations. Please find more information on the Disability Services Office website here:

Mentor FAQ

Research mentors

We ask that research mentors approve their students’ abstracts. The email should contain a link to our online system where you can read the abstract and give your approval or ask the student to revise. Note that asking for a revision will NOT harm the student’s chances of being accepted to present.

You will need to create a new EXPO account in order to access our online system, EXPO. You can do this from the EXPO login screen.

While we recognize that most of us already have too many logins to keep track of, creating an EXPO account is very quick and easy and ensures that you will be able to access our system and review your students’ abstracts in a seamless fashion.

In the weeks before the Symposium, Office of Undergraduate Research will publish the Online Proceedings on our website, which will allow you to search for your students, find out the times/locations of the presentations, and print a pdf of their abstracts. View the Online Proceedings from previous Symposia.