Undergraduate Research Symposium

Mississippi State University’s 2018 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium will be Friday, April 13, 2018 in Griffis Hall from 1:00pm-3:30pm.

There will be an awards ceremony in the Griffis Hall Forum Room (401) at 4:00pm.

Entry Deadline: 11:59pm, Friday, March 23, 2018

Submit Your Abstract

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is held twice a year in the spring and summer semesters and is open to all undergraduate students engaged in research. The Symposium provides the opportunity for students to showcase faculty-guided, cutting edge research and creative activity by students from diverse departments, colleges, and research centers across campus through poster and oral presentation sessions.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is hosted by the Shackouls Honors College in collaboration the Center for Community- Engaged Learning (CCEL), the Office of the Provost & Executive Vice President, the Office of Research & Economic Development, the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, and the Graduate School. Prizes for academic areas are being partially supported by Phi Kappa Phi. The Shackouls Honors College has provided summer research support to some of the students presenting with additional funding from Mississippi State University's Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) and the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (nSPARC).

In recognition of Mississippi State University's Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, the Undergraduate Research Symposium is pleased to be continuing to include a Community Engagement track in the spring symposium competition, sponsored by the Center for Community-Engaged Learning. There will also be separate competitions in Public Health Research, sponsored by the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion, and a Thesis Research Competition, sponsored by the Graduate School.

All student abstract submissions are automatically entered to compete in the main symposium competition, but students also have the opportunity to enter to compete in the following competitions:

Community Engagement Research Track

Undergraduate students of all majors: Would you like to be recognized for your community engagement work and have a chance to win a $200 cash prize for your efforts?

You are encouraged to enter the Community Engagement Research Track of the spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium. For the engagement competition, each abstract will be peer-reviewed and participants will be notified if their proposals have been accepted. Student entries will be presented and judged on April 13, 2018 during the Symposium, with prizes awarded for the most outstanding submissions.

What Is Community Engagement Video


For the purpose of the undergraduate research symposium, community engagement is defined as an activity that has an impact on the ability of individuals, groups, or organizations—either public or private—to achieve their intellectual, economic, and/or social goals. Community engagement projects also include activities that contribute to the development of a defined community, governmental initiative, and/or society-at-large within or outside of Mississippi.

Examples of activities that would qualify include but are not limited to:

  • Class projects that provide benefits to specific individuals, groups, or organizations (e.g., market research projects for an entrepreneur starting a new business; rebuilding the homes of victims of natural disasters; participating in efforts focused on environmental conservation).
  • Individual or student organization projects that improve opportunities for advancement and/or quality of life for members of the community (e.g., counseling and training for underperforming elementary students; addressing needs of the disabled or elderly).
  • Local, regional, national, or international projects that promote intercultural understanding or community development (e.g., field trips to assist members of a community to implement a new economic development initiative).

To be considered for entry into the Community Engagement Research Track portion of the Symposium competition, complete the Engagement portion of the registration form.

If you have questions about the Community Engagement Track, please contact Michelle Garraway at 662-325-2370 or michelle.garraway@msstate.edu.

You can view past winning entries here.

Center for Community-Engaged Learning logo

Public Health Research Competition

In celebration of National Public Health Week 2018 (April 2-8), the Public Health Research Competition component of the Undergraduate Research Symposium is designed to highlight the important work that undergraduate students at MSU are doing in public health.

Public health research can be any research related to promoting and protecting the health of people and communities (see the American Public Health Association for more information). 

To be considered for entry into the Public Health Research Competition as part of the Symposium, indicate your interest on the registration form and complete a separate entry below.


*The separate entry form requires a 100-150 word statement regarding the implications of your research for public health and is due by Friday, March 30 at 5:00pm. Student entries will be presented and judged on April 13, 2018 during the Symposium. One undergraduate winner will be selected to receive a certificate and a $100 prize.

If you have any questions about the Public Health Research Competition, please contact Dr. Antonio Gardner at ajg130@msstate.edu.

Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion logo

UMMC and MSU logo combined

Thesis Research Competition

The Thesis Research Competition (TRC) is a competition that challenges undergraduate students to present a compelling verbal presentation of their thesis/dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes. The goal of this program is to develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills and support the development of undergraduate students' capacity to describe their research in language appropriate to a public audience.

Students compete by presenting their research topic in three minutes or less. Competitions are judged by a panel comprised of a diverse group of professionals (academic and non-academic) with a wide range of expertise. The TRC will not interfere with judging of the regular Symposium program.

To be considered for entry into the Thesis Research Competition as part of the Symposium, check that your wish to be considered for the competition on the registration form.

The top twenty students will be selected to present during the symposium and will be sent further details once the selection is made. Students not selected will also be notified.

The Graduate School logo

Why Participate

Many undergraduates participate in faculty-guided research and creative activity throughout the year. MSU is fortunate to have many faculty that involve undergraduates in research and federally funded research programs. All undergraduates in every program of study, not just honors students, involved in research and creative works are invited and encouraged to participate in the Symposium.

To help participants prepare, the Digital Media Center (DMC) at the Mitchell Memorial Library conducts Conference Poster Design Workshops and offers large format printing at a minimal cost. Students can also inquire about poster printing through their home departments or programs.

There is no fee for students to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and currently, there is not an acceptance process once an entry form is submitted. All students who complete an entry form with a named faculty mentor are allowed to present.*

*Upon completion of the entry form, you will receive an email acknowledgement of your registration. If you do not receive a confirmation email, you are not registered.

Participant abstracts are published in the Symposium Abstract Booklet, and students can include their presentations on resumes and graduate school applications.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.