NOTE: The following information applies to the 17th Annual USC Undergraduate Symposium, which will take place on April 15, 2015. Information for this year's Symposium is subject to change, so please contact us at ugp@usc.edu with any specific questions you may have.

What is the purpose of the Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work?
The Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work provides undergraduates with the unique opportunity to exhibit and share examples of their significant research and creativity with the university community. Students may present work in a variety of ways, such as through poster/panel sessions, art exhibits, and electronic media. All undergraduates are encouraged to participate. An award ceremony recognizing the most outstanding works will take place at the end of the symposium and include First Prize awards of $1000 and Second Prize awards of $500 in each category. Over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded. 

Who can I contact about the Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work if my question is not answered on this page?
To find out more about the Symposium, you may call the Office of Undergraduate Programs at (213) 740-1741 or email us for more information.

ELIGIBILITY & REGISTRATION

Who is invited to participate and present their work?
The Symposium is open only to USC students who are currently enrolled as undergraduates.  A USC faculty sponsor is also required for all submissions, and all other collaborators of the work (fellow USC undergraduates, graduate students, and/or non-USC collaborators) must be acknowledged.

In what categories can I participate?
You can participate in only one of the following five categories: 

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering 
  • Life Sciences

If you are unsure of the category, please consult with your faculty sponsor or contact the staff in the Office of Undergraduate Programs at 213-740-1741. 

May I compete in more than one category or make more than one submission?
In general, you should select one category in which to exhibit your work. The format of the Symposium requires you to be present to show your work and this in not possible if you need to be in different locations for multiple categories.

You may submit more than one project, but you can only submit one individual project where you would be the sole presenter. You may be included in a group submission and also submit a second work individually, but you would then be required to "present" only the individual project during the exhibition day of the Symposium.

Is there a deadline to register?
The deadline to register for the Symposium is Friday, March 27, 2015. The online registration form is currently available. A confirmation of your registration will be emailed back to you within a few days.

What information is required to register for the Symposium?
You will need to enter a title and other details about your submission when registering online.  This will include information about all undergraduate group members on the project as well as at least one faculty sponsor for the work.

The additional details required for registration are the Title, Category, Short Description (50 words max), Abstract (300 words max), Main Issues or questions addressed by your work, Individual Contributions to the work, and Learning Outcomes.

The online registration form will also ask you to enter information about any special logistical needs to present your work.

EVENT TIMELINE

When is the deadline to register for the Symposium? 
The deadline to register for the Symposium is Friday, March 27th, 2015.

Will I have an opportunity to review/edit my submission before the event?
Yes, project summary proofs will be sent out following the registration deadline.  The deadline for edits to your project information is Tuesday, April 7th, 2015.  Project summary information will be displayed with your project during the exhibition and printed in the Symposium Program.

Will I need to RSVP separately for the Awards Ceremony and Banquet?
Yes, a separate RSVP link will be sent to participants following the registration deadline.  Each participant or group member will need to submit an individual RSVP that also includes information about any conflicts with the project exhibition hours.   The deadline to RSVP is Thursday, April 9th, 2015.

Will my faculty sponsor and graduate student collaborators be invited to the Symposium and/or the Awards Ceremony and Banquet?
Yes, each faculty sponsor and graduate student listed on your registration entry will be invited by Undergraduate Programs to attend both the Symposium exhibition day and the Awards Ceremony and Banquet.  However, you may also wish to extend a personal invitation to them as well.  Faculty sponsors and graduate student collaborators will also be asked to RSVP by Thursday, April 9th, 2015.

My project will have special requirements in order to be exhibited.  Will I be able to coordinate those needs prior to the event?
Yes, the online registration form asks you to include information about any special needs for your project.  Special exhibit needs will be coordinated and confirmed by Friday, April 10th, 2015.

The registration deadline is a few weeks before the event.  When and where will I need to submit my actual poster or other materials for the exhibition?
Presentation materials for your project must be submitted and setup for display on Monday, April 13th, 2015.  You are not required to stay and present your work at that time.  You can drop off your project in the Tutor Campus Center Ballroom anytime between 11:00am and 3:00pm on Monday, April 13th, 2015.

Am I required to attend any other events before the Symposium exhibition day?
No. Aside from the submission and setup of your project materials on Monday, April 13th, 2015, you will not be required to attend any other sessions before the Symposium exhibition day (Wednesday, April 15th, 2015).

When and where is the Symposium exhibition event when I will present my project?
The main event with the public project exhibition will be Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 in the Tutor Campus Center.  Registration for participants will begin at 9:00am, and the project exhibition event itself will take place 11:00am to 2:00pm.

When and where is the Awards Ceremony and Banquet?
The Awards Ceremony and Banquet will also take place on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015.  The banquet will begin at 6:00pm in the Radisson Hotel Ballroom.

SUBMISSION FORMAT

What kind of work can be submitted to the Symposium?
Almost any project can be submitted to the Symposium.  The categories for submission are fairly broad and encompass all areas of undergraduate study at USC.   However, keep in mind that the Symposium is primarily an exhibit event, so there should be something to display for your project.

The categories for submission are:

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering 
  • Life Sciences

Can I submit a paper or written thesis to the Symposium?
Written essays or papers may be submitted to the Symposium.  However, the Symposium is meant to be an exhibit of the work, so there should also be a visual representation of the work which may take the form of a poster, video, or other media.  The Symposium also requires that you present your work in-person during the exhibition day.

What are the requirements for entering a poster?
If you are entering a paper or exhibiting the results of a research project, we encourage you to present your work using a poster. Please review our link on “Poster Guidelines” for additional information.  Space constraints prohibit us from using floor easels or affixing anything to walls/curtains.  Small tabletop easels are provided for posters, but the poster should be mounted on a rigid backing (usually foam-core poster board).

A table will be provided during the Symposium for your poster. Unless you have made other arrangements for a non-poster submission, each exhibit will use a table that is 6 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep.   There will be several tables in each exhibit row, with no space between the tables.

Fire Safety regulations require that you present from behind your table, so we recommend that your poster not be more than about 4 feet wide so that you can still be able to present from behind the table without being obscured by the poster.

What are the requirements for entering an artistic work?
If your work is a painting, sculpture, or other type of art work, please identify the nature of your exhibit and any "special needs" you may have in the appropriate boxes on the registration form.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers, projectors, screens, or floor easels. We can only provide you with space on a table (or series of tables), floor space (typically on the stage of the Tutor Campus Center Ballroom), and access to electrical outlets. We can also provide small table-top easels, but you will need to make your own arrangements if you need large free-standing easels or stands to display your work.

Please also note that we are unable to hang or affix any items on the walls or ceilings of the Tutor Campus Center.

What are the requirements for a performing arts entry?
If you are submitting a performing artistic work, such as a dance, musical performance, or dramatic presentation, your submission must be available as a digital recording. A flash drive, CD, DVD, or website URL may be submitted for judges to review your work in advance of the exhibition day of the Symposium.  An accompanying poster is not required. However, as the Symposium is primarily an in-person exhibit, you may also wish to have supplemental materials that further explain your project displayed on a poster, storyboard, photo album, etc.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers, projectors, or screens. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop or other equipment needed to view your recording.

What are the requirements for entering a film production, animation, or musical composition?
If you are presenting a musical composition, film production, or animation, your submission must be available as a digital recording. A flash drive, CD, DVD ,or website URL may be submitted for judges to review your work in advance of the exhibition day of the Symposium.  An accompanying poster is not required. However, as the Symposium is primarily an in-person exhibit, you may also wish to have supplemental materials that further explain your project displayed on a poster, storyboard, photo album, etc.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers, projectors, or screens. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop or other equipment needed to view your recording.

Can my project be a website, game, mobile app, or other digital media?
Yes, you can submit a digital media project to the Symposium.    An accompanying poster is not required.  However, as the Symposium is primarily an in-person exhibit, you may also wish to have supplemental materials that further explain your project displayed on a poster, storyboard, etc.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers or iPads. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop, mobile device, or other equipment needed to review your project.

How will my work be publicized?
A description of your work, including your name, the title of your presentation, your academic unit, faculty sponsor, and abstract will be published in the Undergraduate Symposium Program Booklet, which will be made available to the University community in print and on the web. You may wish to review last year's Program Booklet for further information.

EXHIBITING YOUR WORK

What should I expect on the day of the Symposium?
On Wednesday, April 15th, you will return to Tutor Campus Center Ballroom for the Symposium exhibition event. The Ballroom will be open at 9:00am for registration on Wednesday morning. The Symposium viewing will be from 11:00am – 2:00pm. During the exhibit viewing time, category judges and other attendees will be circulating throughout the event to ask any questions they might have with regard to your work.

What if my presentation requires special needs, like electricity? 

If you have a laptop or other equipment that require electricity, you must specify your needs explicitly in the “Project Needs” portion of the registration form. We will provide a display table and access to electrical outlets (if requested) for the exhibition day of the Symposium.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers, projectors, screens, or speakers. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop or other equipment needed to review your project.

How do I exhibit a computer-based project, such as a website or other digital media? 
A computer-based project or website submission is an acceptable and appropriate exhibit for the Symposium. You will be required to upload your work and/or provide the URL at the time of registration or when projects are submitted for setup on Monday, April 13th, 2015.

An accompanying poster is not required.  However, as the Symposium is primarily an in-person exhibit, you may also wish to have supplemental materials that further explain your project displayed on a poster, storyboard, etc.

Please note that we will not be able to provide you with extraordinary equipment, such as computers or iPads. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop or other equipment needed to review your project.

I have to attend class for an hour during the time the Symposium is underway. Does that mean I am automatically disqualified from participating or winning a prize?
No, judges will have ample time to review your work thoroughly on Tuesday, April 14th and speak with you either before or after your class on the exhibition day of the Symposium. You will be asked to identify the times when you will be away from your exhibit when you RSVP for the Symposium and the Awards Ceremony and Banquet.

We will provide your availability to the judges for the exhibition day of the Symposium. In addition, we strongly recommend that you ask a friend or another Symposium participant to watch your exhibit during your absence. This is especially important if you are exhibiting valuable art or are using a laptop to present your work. If you are unable to find an individual who will watch your exhibit while you are away, then you should take your valuables with you.

JUDGING & PRIZES

When and where will the Symposium judging take place?
Judges will receive information for the entries in their category prior to the event.  Symposium judging and viewing will occur over two days. All projects will be reviewed on Tuesday, April 14th, from 9:00am – 5:00pm at Tutor Campus Center Ballroom. This judging session will be closed to presenters and visitors.

Additional review and judging occurs during the Symposium exhibition event.  You will have an opportunity to interact with judges and answer their questions on Wednesday, April 15th, from 11:00am – 2:00pm during the Symposium exhibition.

How do I need to prepare for judging?
You will be required to bring your poster or creative work to Tutor Campus Center Ballroom by no later than 3:00 pm on Monday, April 13th. The initial judging session will be closed to presenters, and students will not be allowed to interact with judges on Tuesday.

During the exhibition day on Wednesday, you will have an opportunity to interact with judges and other visitors to the Symposium.  You should prepare a short 5-minute presentation of your project that you can give several times to judges or other visitors during the course of the exhibition day.

Who are the judges?
Judges are USC faculty members and doctoral students who are recognized experts in their disciplines. Each category has a panel of 6-9 judges. Faculty judges are nominated and serve based upon their expertise in each of the categories.

How many prizes will be awarded?
The judges will award one $1000 First Prize and one $500 Second Prize in each of the five categories. In addition, a $1000 Special Prize may be awarded to significant entries that demonstrate interdisciplinary work. These interdisciplinary awards, which will be determined by faculty judges, may be awarded to submissions in any of the five categories. Additional First and Second Prizes may also be awarded in special categories for Digital Media, Innovation, or Policy Reform.

If I win, when will I receive my check?
If you win, congratulations! A check will be sent to your permanent address (unless otherwise requested) during the summer 2015. If a group wins a prize, the individuals within the group will split the award evenly.

Will there be an awards ceremony and banquet?
Yes. A banquet honoring all student projects will be held at the Radisson Hotel Ballroom at 6:00pm on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 following the exhibition day of the Symposium. Faculty sponsors and graduate student collaborators are also invited to attend the awards ceremony and banquet.

When are prize winners announced?
Prize winners are announced at the Symposium Award Ceremony and Banquet beginning 6:00pm at the Radisson Hotel Ballroom on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015.  The winners are also added to the Symposium website.