Each year undergraduate students of Columbia University are invited to present their research in poster format at a symposium held during the Fall semester. Originally started as an event to showcase the science research of the Columbia College Rabi Scholars, the symposium now includes research projects from all disciplines.
Additionally, Columbia Engineering hosts the Annual Engineering and Science Research Symposium early in the Fall semester. Please visit Columbia Engineering for more information on this symposium.
Please note, you must be a current undergraduate of Columbia University to participate in this symposium.
2021-2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium
The date and time for the Fall 2021 symposium to be announced once confirmed.
Interested in presenting?
The application for presenting at the 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium is now open. Undergraduate students interested in presenting their research should complete the Research Symposium Application by or before 11:59 PM EST/NYC on Thursday, September 9.
In addition to the completed application, the following materials are required to participate:
- Research abstract (to be included in the Research Symposium Application)
- Headshot Photo (due by 11:59 PM EST/NYC on Thursday, September 9)
- Presentation Poster* (due by 11:59 PM EST/NYC on Thursday, September 30)
- Presentation Video* (due by 11:59 PM EST/NYC on Thursday, September 30)
*Details about the requirements for both the presentation poster and video will be sent to the student via email once their Research Symposium Application has been received.
Resources for Poster Design
Past Symposia Abstract Booklets
Read about research projects from past symposia in the booklets below.
2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium | 2020 Engineering & Science Research Symposium
2013 Science Research Symposium | 2013 Engineering & Science Research Symposium
Annual Poster Competition Recipients
Humanities and the Arts
- First Place: Paul Hanna CC'23
- Honorable Mention*: Helen Ruger CC'22
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- First Place: Nicole Liberman CC'21
- Honorable Mention*: Columbia Space Initiative Biomedical Microgravity Project (Members: Cole Allan SEAS’21, Luke D'Cruz SEAS’21, Sabrina Gjerswold-Selleck SEAS’21, Nathalie Hager SEAS’21 and Christopher Mendell GS’23)
- First Place: Makena Binker Cosen CC'21
- Honorable Mention*: Kate Marsh CC'23
*Please note, honorable mention was added in 2020.
Humanities and the Arts
- First Place: Helen Ruger CC'22
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- First Place: Yasmine Raya Ayman CC'21
- First Place: Greg Humphries CC'20
Below are some commonly asked questions about the symposium. If you have additional questions not listed below please email them to email@example.com.
When does the Undergraduate Research Symposium take place?
The Undergraduate Research Symposium takes place annually on the Friday of Columbia’s Homecoming Weekend, which is in mid-late October each year. The exact date and time and updated in later summer on the URF’s Research Symposium page.
Who participates in the Undergraduate Research Symposium?
All recipients of summer research funding through Undergraduate Research and Fellowships participate in the Symposium. This includes scholars programs (Rabi Scholars, Laidlaw Scholars, Humanities Research Scholars, etc.) and students who received funding through our summer research fellowships.
When do I need to submit materials for the Undergraduate Research Symposium?
You need to submit your abstract, headshot photo, and the Research Symposium Application by the first Thursday of the Fall term. Your research poster and any other required materials are due on the last Thursday of September. In order to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium all required materials must be submitted by these deadlines. The link to the current Research Symposium Application will always be posted on the URF’s Research Symposium page found here. All required materials should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find links to helpful guidelines to help students with poster design and developing their abstract on that same webpage.
I didn't receive funding through URF. Can I still participate?
All undergraduates in the Columbia community (CC, GS, SEAS) who conducted summer or academic year research are welcome to participate, and all participants will be considered for the best poster prize competition. In order to participate, you'll need to follow the instructions above and submit the requested materials by the indicated date.
I've never been to a research symposium before. How does it work?
When this event takes place in person, each student is assigned a bulletin board where they attach their poster. Visitors--faculty, staff, students, community members and family, are free to meander and view your posters. Students typically stand near their posters so that they can answer questions and expand upon the research "snapshot" that is provided in the poster to interested passers by.
I've never made a poster before, what does it consist of?
Academic posters are frequently used in STEM fields to present research, and are becoming increasingly common modes of presentation in humanities and social science research as well. In essence, a poster is a concise, visual summary of the research you have conducted. It is meant to generate discussion and conversation, which is why you should stand nearby to interact with viewers. For the purposes of our Symposium, you should design your poster as a one slide PowerPoint. Here are guidelines to poster design that may be useful to you, and here is a PowerPoint that gives a broader overview to developing great posters.
How many words in an abstract?
Your abstract should be at least 150 but no more than 200 words in length.
How to write an abstract?
An abstract provides a description of the essence of your project, thus allowing the reader to decide if they want to stop by to view your poster. Your abstract should thus provide the following: the context or general background necessary to understand your project; your research question and/or the problem you are addressing; the rationale for this question (are you filling a gap in knowledge? Are you considering a new approach to examining a question? Do you have new data you are applying? etc.); the methodologies you use in your research; the findings/results/ argument of your research; and finally (but very important!) your abstract should clearly state the significance of your research.
Can I submit my abstract/poster before the deadline?
What are the benefits of giving a poster presentation?
Not only is the poster presentation a great resume builder, but it helps build critical communication skills by giving you experience presenting your research to a broad audience. In addition, it’s an opportunity to share your findings and your research experience with the Columbia community. You’ll inspire other students to pursue research, and have opportunities to engage with other researchers and to learn from them and their experiences as well.
How does the best poster prize competition work?
Student participants are automatically entered into the poster competition. The best poster(s) are selected via popular vote. All symposium participants and those who attend the event are eligible to vote. The winning posters receive a small prize, and have their names added to the list of past recipients on the URF’s Research Symposium page.
Can we participate as a group?
Yes, students can submit their research as a group but please note the following:
All members of the group must complete the Research Symposium Application.
Please identify one member who will be submitting all required materials including the abstract and poster (we only need one copy of the required materials.) This person should list ALL members of the group under “Optional Additional Information” on the application form.
Other members should list the name of the group lead (the person submitting all materials) under the “Abstract” section of the application. All the other information on the application should be completed as normal.
A group photo (or photo collage) should be submitted instead of individual headshots.