Undergraduate Research Week and Symposium - Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Applying to the Symposium

Presenting At the Symposium

What are Undergraduate Research Week and the Undergraduate Research Symposium? How do I apply to present?
Undergraduate Research Week (URW) is an annual series of special exhibits, workshops, and colloquia sponsored by departments, programs, or units, showcasing student work; the Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) is URW’s signature event hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). To present at the URS, students may apply through the application portal on OUR's Symposium page. To present during other URW events, students may apply through the organizing unit.

Will the 2024 Undergraduate Research Week and Symposium be in-person or virtual?
OUR currently plans on holding the 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium as an in-person event at the Illini Union. There will be no option for virtual presentations or attendance.

Will there be a virtual option for presenting at the Symposium?
There will be no option for virtual presentations or attendance.

Who is eligible to present?
All undergraduates enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during the current academic year are eligible to present, including those graduating in December 2023. Visiting students who are not officially enrolled but are currently participating in an undergraduate team research project, may present their work if one member of their project team is a currently enrolled student. All presentations must have a research mentor supervising the research being presented.

Do I need to upload a presentation in my application?
No, submitting a presentation is not a requirement of the application process. The application only requires a tentative title and abstract, but presenters will have the opportunity to revise them before the Symposium. The deadline for finalizing the titles for inclusion in the program is April 1. Also, there is no need to submit a final abstract as they are only used to organize thematic panels and will not be published.

I have not yet completed my research project. Am I still eligible to present at the Symposium?
Absolutely! We encourage students to present in-progress and completed research projects or creative works.

Can I present on research that was conducted at another institution, for example, during a summer REU?
Yes, students can present research that they conducted at other institutions or under the supervision of researchers who are not affiliated with Illinois. When applying to present at the Symposium, students must provide the name, affiliation, and email address of their research mentor who supervised the project.

Is the Symposium open to projects in the fine and applied arts?
Absolutely! We encourage fine and applied arts students to submit applications to present at the Symposium. We will collaborate with student presenters to ensure that their creative projects are properly displayed. Presenters should contact OUR at ugresearch@illinois.edu to discuss these details.

I have started an application to present at the Symposium, but I am no longer able to present. How do I delete my submission?
If a student wishes to cancel one of their submissions to the Symposium, they can fill out the cancellation request form located at the following link: go.illinois.edu/urscancel. The cancellation form requires the inclusion of a form identifier number, which would have been provided in an email sent at the time the application was started and submitted.

Can I present multiple research projects?
Yes, students may apply to present multiple projects. Please contact OUR at ugresearch@illinois.edu for more information on how to do so.

Can graduate students be listed as co-presenters on the Symposium application?
No, graduate students may not present at the Symposium. When applying to present at the Symposium, you may acknowledge graduate students and faculty as co-authors on posters, oral presentations, and performances, but you should not list them as co-presenters on your application to the Symposium.

Can two undergraduate students present a single poster or PowerPoint together, or does each student need to present their own?
Students can present individually, as a pair, or as a team. If presenting a poster, all presenters will be standing by and presenting their poster to visitors. If presenting in an oral panel, all presenters will stand at the front of the room delivering the presentation.

When applying to present, it is important to note that only one member of the team should complete the form and list the other(s) as co-presenter(s).

Is there a limit to the number of student authors on a presentation?
While there are no restrictions on the number of student authors or presenters, the Symposium application form can only accommodate a maximum of 5 presenters. If more presenters are desired, students should contact OUR at ugresearch@illinois.edu after submitting their application. Please note that only undergraduate students are eligible to be listed as presenters.

What if the time I have been assigned to present at the Symposium conflicts with my class(es)?
We do our best to slot students at times that do not conflict with their class schedule. Sometimes, however, a conflict cannot be avoided. If a student will miss class, an excuse letter can be provided by emailing ugresearch@illinois.edu, by the Friday before the Symposium, and put “URS Excuse Letter Needed” in the subject line. However, excusal from class is at the discretion of the course instructor. Therefore, we encourage students to contact their course instructors as soon as possible to let them know of the possibility of missing class.

Can I invite friends, family, and other faculty to see my presentation?
Yes, and we encourage you to do so! The Symposium is free and open to the public.

I have been accepted to present a poster at the Symposium; how do I print and display my poster?
Students are responsible for organizing and paying for the printing of their posters. For a comprehensive poster printing checklist and more information on pricing, please reference OUR's Poster Presenter Guidelines or the Online Poster Guide produced by the University Library. We will provide binder clips and push pins to hang posters, so you do not need to bring your own mounting hardware. Posters will be hung on movable partitions, so they should not be mounted on foam core board.

When do I need to print my poster and where do I bring it to have it displayed?
Student presenters are responsible for printing and bringing their posters to the Symposium at the time they are scheduled to present. You will not be giving these to OUR in advance. Because local print shops will be busy around this time of the year, we encourage you to have your poster submitted for printing no later than a week before the Symposium.

I have been accepted to present a poster at the Symposium; how big should my poster be?
Posters should not exceed 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall. Posters will be hung on movable partitions, so they should not be mounted on foam core board.

I have been accepted to present an oral presentation at the Symposium; how do I upload my talk?
All oral presentation rooms are equipped with PC laptops (no Apple Mac's) so be sure the format of your presentation is compatible with PCs. In general, we recommend that students save their presentations in two formats: the first being a .PPTX or .PPT (Microsoft PowerPoint) file, and the back-up being a .PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file. Please bring these files on a portable drive (flash drive, etc.) to your oral presentation panel and be sure to show up early to allow enough time to download it to the computer prior to the start of the session.

I am presenting at the Symposium; how should I dress?
Please be "presentation appropriate." While this means different things to different people (allowing for creativity in personal expression), keep in mind the event will be photographed for publicity purposes, and a polished appearance is part of your presentation.

When should I arrive to present at the Symposium?
All students must check-in 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of their presentation. Check-in tables are located in the lobby outside Illini Rooms A, B, and C in the Illini Union.

What should I expect to do during my poster presentation?
After students check-in, students will hang their posters on the partitions provided within their assigned room (Illini Union Rooms A, B, C, or South Lounge). Faculty members, staff, community members, Symposium judges, and other guests will circulate around the room and ask you questions about your work, so you should be prepared to explain your project and answer any questions. Each poster session will last one hour and 15 minutes.

Does OUR offer guidance and support for the design of my oral or poster presentation?
Throughout the Spring semester, OUR partners with the University Library and Writers Workshop to offer the Giving Undergraduate Research Presentations for students preparing to give oral presentations, and the Poster Presentation and Design Workshop for students preparing to give poster presentations. Registration for both is required to attend and spots fill up quickly. The University Library has also produced a helpful guide for poster presenters which can be found at: https://guides.library.illinois.edu/poster/.