Program Details

Eligibility & Registration
Poster Exhibits
Roundtable Discussions
Awards Ceremony & Prizes

Eligibility & Registration

The SCymposium is open to all current USC students enrolled as undergraduates. Graduate students interested in presenting research may consider participating in the Annenberg Graduate Symposium.

Undergraduate students can submit a group or individual project that falls under one of the following academic categories:

  • Arts & Architecture
  • Humanities
  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering
  • Social Sciences

A USC faculty sponsor is required for all submissions. All other collaborators of the work (USC undergraduates, graduate students, and/or non-USC collaborators) must also be acknowledged.

Students can only submit one individual project where they would be the sole presenter. Students may also be included in a second submission as part of a group project. Students must be available to present the project(s) during their assigned Poster Exhibit date and time.

Registration is open from February 8 – March 26, 2021 and includes the following components:

  • Student Information
    • Group projects must include all undergraduate group members’ information
  • Faculty Sponsor(s)
    • At least one faculty sponsor is required for the project submission
  • Project Details
    • Includes category, title, abstract, and description of individual contributions
  • Electronic Poster
  • Video Summary
    • A video presentation summarizing your project. The video must be no longer than 2 minutes, and should give judges an overview of the research question, methodologies, and findings.
    • There is no emphasis on production value and can be recorded using a phone or laptop camera. The video is intended to give the judges a snapshot of your project prior to the formal presentation on your assigned exhibit day.

Poster Exhibits

*Please note that exhibit structures and details are subject to change* 

The SCymposium will feature daily virtual Poster Exhibits, which provide students the opportunity to share their work with the judging panel. Participants must be available to present during their assigned exhibit date and time, otherwise their project will not be considered. Presenters are assigned exhibit dates based on their project category:

  • Monday, April 12: Arts, Architecture & Humanities
  • Tuesday, April 13: Life Sciences
  • Wednesday, April 14: Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering
  • Thursday, April 15: Social Sciences

Students will indicate their schedule availability on the SCymposium registration form. Our office will review students’ availability and assign Poster Exhibit times accordingly. We strongly encourage you to minimize unavailable times in order to ensure securing an exhibit spot with the judges.

Structure of Poster Exhibit sessions: 

  • Poster exhibits will be set up as 1-hour sessions throughout the week of April 12 – 16.
  • Each exhibit session will have a maximum of 10 presentations.
  • Each presenter will have 3 minutes to present, and 3 minutes to answer questions from the judging panel

Special note for arts presenters:

  • If you are presenting a visual artwork, digital media project, musical composition, film production, or animation, your submission must include digital files. You may include links to e-Portfolios or other websites for judges to review your work in advance of your exhibit date.
  • For arts presenters, a traditional research poster is not required. However, you should prepare alternative materials that further explain your project and can be displayed through a visual medium (e.g. slideshow, photo album, portfolio). On exhibit day, you will have the opportunity to share your screen during your portion of the presentation.
  • Please note: Given time constraints, no time will be allotted for short film/media screenings during presentations.


Judges will review projects in their category prior to the Poster Exhibits. During the exhibit sessions, participants will have the opportunity to interact with judges to answer any questions they may have about their project. At the end of each day, judges will finalize decisions for first place, second place, and honorable mentions. Winners in all categories will be announced on Friday at the virtual Awards Ceremony.

Judges consist of USC faculty members and doctoral students who are recognized experts in their disciplines. Each category has a panel of 6 – 8 judges. Faculty judges are nominated and serve based upon their expertise in each of the categories.

Roundtable Discussions

Student participants can engage in daily Roundtable Discussions focused on themes and topics related to the category of the day. These discussions are hosted and facilitated by faculty members and/or graduate students from diverse disciplines, including Annenberg Graduate Fellows.

Awards Ceremony & Prizes

The virtual Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 16 (time TBD). The program will include a keynote address, along with announcements of prize recipients in all categories. The judges will award the following prizes:

  • First Prize (All Categories): One $1000 First Prize will be awarded in each of five academic categories.
  • Second Prize (All Categories): One $500 Second Prize will be awarded in each of five academic categories.

Additional prize categories (availability subject to change):

  • USC Schwarzenegger Institute: For projects proposing real world solutions to serious policy challenges and improves the lives of people and communities with regard to issues in education, environment & energy, or political reform. One $1000 First Prize and one $500 Second Prize will be awarded in this category.
  • American Physiological Society: For projects investigating an area of Human Biology and/or Physiology functions (most like to be from Life Sciences category).
  • Interdisciplinary Prize: One additional prize may be awarded to significant entries that demonstrate interdisciplinary work.
  • Digital Media: Additional prizes may be awarded to significant entries incorporating digital media and technology.

Prize Claims

  • A SCymposium Prize is disbursed as a stipend in the spring as a check issued to the student.  This may affect student financial aid packages.  Students are encouraged to email the Financial Aid Office through the askUSC portal to discuss the potential effects of a SCymposium Prize.  The award could adversely affect students with Pell grants and/or loans.

Click here to view past prize recipients