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Participation Criteria


Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at CSUSM as well as graduates who received their degrees in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2023 are eligible. The research/creative activity presented should be appropriate to the student's discipline and career goals. Proprietary research is excluded. 
Collaborative/team entries are accepted. Proprietary research is excluded. There will be separate undergraduate and graduate divisions for each category unless the catetory has four or fewer entrants. Presentations from all disciplines are invited

The ten categories are:

  • Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration
  • Biological and Agricultural Sciences
  • Business, Economics, and Hospitality Management
  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Education
  • Engineering and Computer Science
  • Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences
  • Humanities and Letters
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences


A written summary must be provided with each application.
The rules governing the written summary include:

  1. Presernation Title
  2. Author Name(s) & Contact Information
  3. The written narrative should
    • Utilize a font size of 10 or above
    • Have margins of at least 0.75”
    • Should be a minimum of one page and not exceed two pages in total (1-2 pages).  
      • Note: A "typical" scientific abstract is ~200-300 words, this would meet the requirement for CSUSM since it is one page. If selected for the statewide competition, finalists can revise/expand their submission.

        • All students are encouraged to use headings and sub-headings in their submission whether utilizing the IMRaD format or another format.
        • Haven't written a project summary/abstract before? Check-out:
  4. Appendices (bibliography, graphs photographs or other supplementary materials) are optional, may not exceed three pages total, and will be uploaded separately from the written narrative.
  5. All research must comply with all applicable policies and regulations. Research that involves human or animal subjects must have appropriate institutional review.


The paper and oral presentation are evaluated by faculty judges based on the following criteria set up by the CSU.

Students will be scheduled to deliver an oral presentation. It is expected that the student will not make an oral presentation by simply reading directly from the summary.

  • Student presenters will have ten minutes for an oral presentation of their work and five minutes to listen and respond to judges and audience questions. 
  • All entrants may use audiovisual materials as appropriate, and presenters are encouraged to use delivery techniques that promote interaction with the audience.
  • Entrants in the Creative Arts and Design category may present an audio and/or visual recording of a performance they have given or a work they have created; their oral presentation should focus on the rationale and historical context underlying their interpretation of the material.

Each entry (oral presentation plus written summary) will be judged on the following:

    • Clarity - Clarity of purpose / subject matter presented in a way easily understood
    • Methodology - Process used to collect information and data
    • Interpretation - Thourough examination of the collected information or data 
    • Value -  Significance of the of the research or creative activity 
    • Delivery - Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity 
    • Organization - Quality and completeness of the material presented 
    • Interaction (Q&A) - The presenter's ability to handle questions from the jury and the general audience 
    • 2024 Judging Rubric

Top ranked finalist in the CSUSM Symposium go on to the CSU Student Research Competition.

The Symposium on Student Research, Creative Activities, & Innovation is organized by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and the Committee for Undergraduate Research