Guidelines for Submission

Abstract Guidelines

An abstract is a summary of your research, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s); 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends as a result of your analysis; and 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

  • You may write your abstract in the online registration form.
  • Abstracts must be no longer than 300 words in length.
  • View examples from the past symposium as a useful resource for writing an abstract.

Your abstract may be published; therefore, you should submit a high quality version approved by your faculty mentor.

It is your responsibility to check with your research mentor as to whether or not your research project is restricted (i.e. classified, export controlled (EAR/ITAR), proprietary or other restriction). If your mentor identifies your research as restricted, the release of any information to the public must be coordinated with the Office of Research Security to obtain required authorizations before release. Severe penalties, both civil and criminal, may result if restricted information is made public without the proper authorizations.

Choose A Project Category

In the entry form, you will need to classify your poster or oral presentation/performance as belonging to one of the four categories:

  1. Arts and Humanities (Poster or Oral Presentation/Performance)
  2. Biological Sciences and Engineering (Poster only)
  3. Physical Sciences and Engineering (Poster only)
  4. Social Sciences (Poster only)

It will be up to you and your faculty mentor to properly classify the project. Someone from the Shackouls Honors College may contact you and your mentor if your project seems misclassified.

Presentation Formats

Depending on your project category, you may apply to present your research either through a poster, oral presentation, or performance/demonstrations. Oral presentations and performances/demonstrations are reserved for participants of the Arts and Humanities category ONLY. Those competing in Arts and Humanities may choose to present in any of the three formates: poster, oral presentation, or performance/demonstration. All other categories are required to present posters only.*

*On the submission form, if a student is listed in any subject area other than Arts and Humanities and selects “Oral Presentation” or “Performance/Demonstration”, his or her project will be shifted to poster format, and the student will be notified by someone from the Shackouls Honors College.


The poster should include a statement of the idea investigated, a description of the method or approach used, findings or progress to date, and a summary.

Your poster:

  • Should be a maximum of 36 inches tall x 48 inches wide.
  • Should be attached on a foam board* and ready to display on the provided easels.

*Foam board backing should be no larger than 36 inches tall x 48 inches wide. If your poster or foam board backing is larger than the maximum size requirements, we will not allow you to display your project and can remove you from the competition.

PLEASE NOTE: The Shackouls Honors College does not provide foam boards for mounting posters. You should check with your department for reusable boards or purchase a foam board at Chalet or another framing shop. You do not need to pay for mounting, you may clip or tack your poster to the board. The Shackouls Honors College will provide all easels.

Oral Presentations / Performances

Oral presenters and performers will be given 10 minutes to present followed by a 3 minute question and answer session. There will be 2 minutes between presentations to allow for set up of the next speaker.

Oral presentations and performances have the option to use technology in the form of a computer and projector to display PowerPoint presentations. If your project requires technology, please confirm this in your entry form.

Group Projects

Group projects are an integral part of research and are encouraged. However, there should be a designated principal presenter during the symposium. The principal presenter should complete the submission form with his or her name and information and can list any co-authors and collaborators in the submission form. Names of any co-authors and/or collaborators will appear in the Symposium Abstract Booklet. Only the principal presenter can present and answer questions from the judges. Co-authors may assist the principal presenter when presenting to the public audience. Prizes will be awarded to the principal presenter only.

Groups are encouraged to submit individual abstracts and present different posters or give separate oral presentations for the same research. A large part of the project evaluation is being able to answer questions showing a deep understanding of the work that has been done.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.