Applying for the Forum

MU’s Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievements Forum showcases student research and scholarly, creative achievements to the campus and local community. MU undergraduates from any major and all academic levels are eligible to present their work.

Prior to submitting your application:

  • Review the submission categories with your MU faculty mentor to determine which one best fits your submission
  • Confirm the appropriate listing for your faculty mentor’s full name and academic department
  • Look up, or double-check, the official listing of your academic major and/or minor
  • Determine your poster and abstract title (15, or fewer, words)
  • Identify your preferred presentation format (poster/display or 5-8 minute oral presentation)
  • Confirm availability for presentation sessions (identify top two)
  • Decide if your work can be presented as part of the Humanities Symposium
  • Identify any co-presenters or co-authors (*See ‘Collaborations’ below)
  • Determine the appropriate listing of your poster and abstract authors: presenting student first, faculty advisor last.
  • If you receive any compensation for your work, confirm with your faculty mentor the source of that funding
  • Ask your faculty mentor if your abstract may be published online
  • Insure that your abstract or artist statement is ready to upload
    • Maximum of 300 words (not including title and author names)
    • In Word (.doc) or PDF format
    • Using file-naming convention: LastNameFirstInitial_Abstract (Ex: TigerT_Abstract.doc)

*Collaborations: When you apply, you will be asked to list co-authors and co-presenters. A co-presenter is someone who will be presenting with you at the Forum. Each co-presenter must submit their own Forum application by the deadline.  The title and abstract should be the SAME for all co-presenters; however, the order of the list of authors should be changed so that each student is listed as FIRST author on their own submission. Students or others who are co-authors on your project, but not presenting with you at the Forum, are just considered to be co-authors and should NOT be listed as a co-presenter.

Forum Categories

  • Artistic Expression – Visual art pieces, fashion design, music, theater, and creative writing.  Performance-based projects will also be included in this category.
  • Applied Design – projects that solve a problem with an original design solution including, but not limited to, design projects for theater, architectural studies, photojournalism, graphic design, and advertising
  • Humanities – projects using methods appropriate to study modern and ancient languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, culture, journalism and other humanities disciplines
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences – projects using research methods appropriate to human behavior and social systems including, but not limited to, psychology, anthropology, sociology, education, public health, economics, political sciences, communication studies, journalism, and business
  • Life Sciences – lab-based, field-based, or theoretical projects answering basic and applied questions in biology, biochemistry, ecology, biomedicine, etc.
  • Physical Sciences & Mathematics – experimental and theoretical research in the natural sciences and mathematical sciences, excluding the life sciences
  • Engineering Sciences – experimental and applied research designed to understand and build effective structures, systems, and processes


Presenters will submit their project title and abstract during the application process.

Presenters should write a summary that clearly and concisely communicates the key information of their work to a general audience lacking expertise in the field. Like a movie trailer, the summary should leave the reader eager to learn more but knowledgeable enough to grasp the scope of the work. The specific information to include in the abstract is based partly on the type or scholarship: applied design, research, or artistic expression. Check the “How to Write an Abstract” page for more specific guidelines about writing these types of summaries.

We also encourage you to work with the tutors at the Writing Center (located in the Student Success Center on Lowry Mall.) The tutors have been trained to assist students with all different types of papers and documents; this includes a research abstract and the artist statement.

Abstracts and Artist Statements are limited to 300 words, not including the project title and authors’ names. Abstracts in Word (.docx) or PDF format are submitted as part of the application process. The files should be named using the following convention: LastNameFirstInitial_Abstract (ex: TigerT_Abstract.docx)

Abstract Evaluation Project
In collaboration with the Campus Writing Program, all abstracts submitted for presentation at the Spring Forum will be evaluated for clear and effective communication. To enhance the learning experience gained from presenting at the Forum, students will receive numeric and written feedback from multiple trained evaluators. The top abstracts will be recognized during the closing ceremonies of Undergraduate Research Week on Friday, April 22nd . Also, these top abstracts will be published in the Artifacts, a refereed journal of undergraduate work in writing at The University of Missouri. To view the criteria under which the abstracts will be reviewed, please reference this rubric.

Selecting Your Presentation Modality

The Forum will be an in-person event with the option for students to also submit digital presentation materials for long-term archiving on a website hosted by the MU Libraries. During the application process, students will be asked to select their preferred presentation format.


Prepare your poster so that it can be displayed on a cork board that is 36″ tall and 60″ wide (3 x 5 feet). Many large format printers use paper that is 42″ wide, thus limiting one of the dimensions of your poster. Check with the printing facility you will be using. Push pins will be provided.

Posters may follow the format of a typical research poster. Posters may also be used to visually communicate the nature of other types of scholarly projects, results, and reflections – this approach is particularly well suited to artistic performances or multi-piece design projects. Students may opt to display a small object related to their research and scholarship on a small table next to their poster. Examples of objects may include a 3-D model of a chemical, jaw bones of reptiles for comparative purposes, or prototypes of new designs for artificial limbs. Students may also find that a laptop computer or iPad will provide relevant digital images or performances to their projects. Digital images should be used to illustrate examples that cannot be easily shown on a poster. These images should not take the place of a poster. [Students will not be permitted to only show digital images on a laptop in lieu of a poster.

Oral Presentations

Some scholarship is best communicated with an oral presentation instead of a poster.  Due to space limitations, all science and engineering research will be presented in a poster format; however, students in non-STEM disciplines will have a choice to share their work with a poster OR as an oral presentation.  We encourage students to discuss this option with their research mentor before applying for the Forum.

Format of Oral Presentations at the Forum

  • Your presentation should be 5-8 minutes in duration, leaving the remainder of your 10-minute block for questions and transitions between presenters
  • You can present with or without the use of visual aids.  A projector will be available if you wish to show slides
  • You will be limited to no more than eight (8) Powerpoint slides
  • Powerpoint slides must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, July 26th
  • You are expected to stay and listen to all presenters in your session
  • Dress code: business casual
  • Atmosphere: Relaxed and supportive! We will have the speaking podium in the corner of the poster exhibit-hall surrounded by ~20 chairs.
  • Invite your research mentor, professors and friends to attend!

Presentation Sessions

Students will present their research in-person during one (1) 90-minute session of the Forum. During the application process, students should indicate their potential availability for all sessions, and indicate their top two (2) choices. The organizers will attempt to schedule the student’s presentation during one of their two preferred sessions, but may need to use other available times to insure quality of programming.

Posters should be put up by noon on Thursday, July 28th for the Summer Forum.

Staff will be available to direct students to their poster location the morning of both days starting at 8am.

Participation in Humanities Symposium (Spring Forum only)

Sponsored by a different academic department each year, the Humanities Symposium will spotlight the scholarship of undergraduate students working in important fields such as history, literature, jurisprudence, philosophy, comparative religion, ethics, languages, archaeology, and the arts. Collectively, these fields help us envision where we are going together as human beings.  Each year, contributors to the symposium are invited to reflect upon a specific theme. Click here to learn more about this year’s symposium. As part of the application process, students are asked whether they are interested in participating in the Humanities Symposium. 

In addition to having their presentations (poster or oral) highlighted as part of the Humanities Symposium, students may be invited by the faculty organizers to participate in a special oral session or panel discussion.

Online Presentations

To mirror the ways in which scholarly societies have adjusted during the pandemic to communicate their work, we continue to partner with the MU Libraries to publish an online version of the Spring Forum. For all presenters, the project title, abstract, author names and funding sources will be uploaded automatically by the Office of Undergraduate Research and published online. This year, students have the OPTION to also upload their poster (pdf), 3-5 minute video presentation (mp4), slides (pdf) or high-quality images (jpg) of their creative work. None of these supplemental items are required, but should be considered an important component of a student’s portfolio. Student presenters will receive follow-up instructions of how to submit these supplementary presentation materials, with a deadline shortly after the in-person Forum.

As part of the application process, students are asked if their work can be published online. If the student’s work is ‘not publishable‘, then only the project title, author and mentor names, and source of funding will be posted online.

If you would like guidance on how to create a video that communicates your scholarship/research, we suggest you watch this video by Dr. Brad Mitchell, Senior Media Producer for Educational Technologies @ Missouri.

Visit the 2021 Spring Forum to see examples of previous projects exhibited.

Apply to the 2022 Summer Forum

Please contact with questions.