Skip to content

What is the Undergraduate Research Symposium?

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an opportunity for students of all disciplines to showcase completed or ongoing research or projects. The Symposium happens every spring and is an all-day event open to the public. In 2024, the Symposium will take place on May 17th! 

Check out the schedule from our most recent symposium!

2023 Symposium Proceedings
The Undergraduate Research Symposium takes place on UW’s campus at Mary Gates Hall every Spring.  

Common Misconceptions about Symposium

Myth: Applying to the Undergraduate Research Symposium is highly competitive.

Reality: Most students are accepted to present at the Symposium. We know that many research conferences are exclusionary, and we have created this Symposium to provide the opportunity for all students, regardless of experience or background, to present work they are proud of and for the UW community to celebrate the work undergraduates have accomplished. The application review process serves as a chance for the Office of Undergraduate Research staff to provide feedback in order to best prepare your research for presentation.

Myth: I have to be a STEM major to apply and present research.

Reality: Students from all majors present their work. We have had projects in biology, visual arts, dance, forestry, computer science, music, business, and many other disciplines. At this point, it would be hard to find a major that didn’t have student presenters! Any and all students are encouraged to apply.

Myth: My project has to be fully complete to be presented.

Reality: Students at all stages in the research process are encouraged to present. You do not need to have final results to present your work!

Myth: Only juniors and seniors present research at Symposium.

Reality: Students of all class standings can present at Symposium. The more the merrier! The Symposium provides a great venue to practice communicating your research so that you feel even more confident at your next conference!

Myth: I need to be awarded a Mary Gates Research Scholarship to apply and present my research at the Symposium.

Reality: Any students engaged in undergraduate research or creative inquiry are encouraged to present at the Symposium. Students that are awarded a Mary Gates research scholarship are required to present, but we welcome and encourage all undergraduate researchers to share their research, and to build their communications skills, by presenting at the Symposium.

Different Types of Presentations

Students can choose to present their projects in one of four different ways: Poster Presentation, Oral Presentation, Performing Arts Presentation, and Visual Arts and Design Presentation. See below for an explanation of each type of presentation. 

For more detailed information about the process of creating the different types of presentations, please see Presenter Resources.

Students will design and print a 40- by 32-inch poster detailing their project or research. On the day of the Symposium, they will be grouped into sessions with other similar presentations and are expected to stand with their poster to talk to audience members and answer any questions they may have.

Mia Johnson presenting their poster titled Potassium Channel Subunit Contribution to Ex Vivo Dopamine Release in the Nucleus Accumbens

Students will create and deliver a 10-minute oral presentation and participate in a two-minute Q&A session. The oral presentation may be accompanied by a visual slideshow, handout for the audience, live demonstration, performance, and/or audience participation. On the day of the Symposium, students will be placed in a themed session with 4-6 other presenters and a faculty moderator.

Alyssa Michelle Giedd giving an oral presentation on Designing and Building TinyQuad: A Quadcopter That Weighs 1-2 Grams

Students will create and deliver a 10-minute presentation. The presentation must include a performance-based component that was created as part of the research process such as music, theatre, or dance. This presentation may be accompanied by a slideshow component discussing the research process.

Olivia M Anderson performing their piece called Embodied Object – A Physical Interrogation of the Male Gaze

Students will showcase art forms developed as part of the research process. This could include paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, architectural models, digital art, experimental media, jewelry, textiles, photography/film, mixed media, and more. Students are required to present their exhibit on the day of Symposium and submissions in this category may be displayed for up to two weeks beginning on Symposium day.

Ruby Barone standing next to their visual arts piece entitled Words and Weapons: The RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ’s Formula for Reclaiming the Power of Language

Not sure if you’re ready to present at Symposium?

Students are encouraged to present works in progress as a way to continue to build their communication skills and network with other researchers!

Interested in Applying for the Symposium?

Visit Apply For Symposium!