Program Details

Eligibility & Registration
Awards Ceremony & Banquet


The Symposium is open to current USC students enrolled as undergraduates. A USC faculty sponsor is also required for all submissions, and all other collaborators of the work (fellow USC undergraduates, graduate students, and/or non-USC collaborators) must be acknowledged.

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

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

Students can only submit one individual project where they would be the sole presenter. Students may be included in a group submission and also submit a second work individually, but they  would then be required to present only the individual project during the exhibition day of the Symposium.

Registration is open from February 10 – March 22, 2020 and includes the following components:

  • Student Information (must include all undergraduate group members)
  • Faculty Sponsor(s) (at least one faculty sponsor is required to enter)
  • Project Details
    • Includes category, title, abstract, and description of individual contributions
  • Project Needs
    • Includes description of logistical presentation needs

Once your project is approved for exhibition, you must submit all project materials for set up on Monday, April 13. This allows for a thorough review of submissions prior to the main exhibition event. Participants must be able to present during Exhibition Day, otherwise the project will not be approved. 


Judges will receive information for the entries in their category prior to the event.  Project evaluation will occur over two days. Judges will review all projects on Tuesday, April 14 in the exhibition space. This is a closed judging session without presenters and visitors.

Additional evaluation occurs the next day on Wednesday, April 15 during the official Symposium Exhibition. Participants will then have the opportunity to interact with judges and answer any questions they may have about the project. Students should prepare a 5-minute presentation that they can give several times to judges and visitors throughout Exhibition Day.

Judges consist of USC faculty members and doctoral students who are recognized experts in their disciplines. Each category has a panel of 6-9 judges. Faculty judges are nominated and serve based upon their expertise in each of the categories.


The main event of the Symposium is the Exhibition Day, taking place on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in the Tutor Campus Center Ballroom.

Registration and setup will begin at 9:00 am. During the exhibition, participants will share their work with the campus community.  Additional review and judging of submissions will also occur during this time.

Special note for arts presenters: We will not be able to provide you with equipment, such as computers, iPads, projectors or screens. We can only provide you with space on a table and access to electrical outlets.  On the exhibition day of the Symposium, you will need to bring your own laptop, mobile device, or any other equipment needed to review your project.

  • Visual/Digital Arts: If you are presenting a visual artwork or digital media project, please identify the nature of your exhibit and any “special needs” on the registration form. We can provide you with a table (or series of tables), floor space, and access to electrical outlets. Small table-top easels are available, but you will need to make your own arrangements if you need large free-standing easels or stands to display your work.
  • Performing Arts: If you are presenting a musical composition, film production, or animation, your submission must be available as a digital recording. A flash drive, CD, DVD ,or website URL may be submitted for judges to review your work in advance of the exhibition day of the Symposium.  An accompanying poster is not required. However, as the Symposium is primarily an in-person exhibit, you may also wish to have supplemental materials that further explain your project displayed on a poster, storyboard, photo album, etc. On exhibition day, you will need to bring your own laptop or other equipment needed to view your recording.

Awards Ceremony and Banquet

The Awards Ceremony and Banquet will be held the same day following the exhibition in USC Town & Gown to recognize all student work. Faculty sponsors and graduate student collaborators are also invited to attend.

The evening 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.
  • Interdisciplinary Prize: One additional $1000 prize may be awarded to significant entries that demonstrate interdisciplinary work.
  • USC Schwarzenegger Institute Award: The USC Schwarzenegger Institute will also award prizes to students whose work proposes 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.

Click here to view past prize recipients