CSU Research Competition

CSU Research Competition

San Francisco State University Campus Level Competition

Participating in the CSU research competition at the university level is an excellent way to gain experience communicating your research at conferences and symposia and to enhance your resume or curriculum vitae. This year San Francisco State University will host the campus level competition from Monday, February 27, 2023 – Friday, March 3, 2023. The event will be in-person.

The Dean of Graduate Studies at San Francisco State University selects up to ten campus winners to compete in the 37th Annual Student Research Competition hosted by San Diego State University on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, 2023. The competition recognizes outstanding accomplishments of student researchers from among all 23 CSU campuses and will be held in-person.

Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at any CSU campus and alumni/alumnae who received their degrees in spring, summer or fall 2022 are eligible. The research presented should be appropriate to the student’s discipline and career goals. Proprietary research is excluded.

Presentations from all disciplines are welcome. There will be separate undergraduate and graduate divisions for each category (unless a division has four or fewer entrants, in which case the divisions may be combined). The steering committee reserves the right to combine or subdivide these categories, or to move an entrant from one category to another, as necessitated by submission numbers.

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
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Interdisciplinary

A campus delegation may include up to 10 entries. A small team of students making a single presentation counts as a single entry. See registration instructions for how to register a single entry or a team.

Register here for the competition by 5:00 pm PST, Friday, February 10, 2023.

San Francisco State University students that are interested in applying to participate in the CSU Student Research Competition will need to submit a 5-page research summary. The Division of Graduate Studies will review the summaries based on the criteria below.

The rules governing the written summary include:

  • The summary must include the name(s) of the student(s) and the title of the presentation.
  • The narrative may not exceed five doubled-spaced pages and must use fonts and margins that ensure legibility.
  • Appendices (bibliography, graphs, photographs, and other supplementary materials) may not exceed three pages.
  • Research that involves human or animal subjects must have appropriate institutional review.
  • It is expected that a student will not make a presentation by simply reading directly from the written summary.
  • Only eight pages total (five for the narrative and three for the appendices) should be submitted for your entry.

Students will present their work orally before a live jury and an audience in-person. Presentation dates and times will be scheduled based on discipline categories. Participants will be notified of their presentation date, time, and location details via email by Friday, February 17, 2023.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, the university has grown to offer bachelor’s degrees in 85 areas, master’s degrees in 76, and doctorates in 21 disciplines. San Diego State’s 31,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. SDSU is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with high research activity and is ranked among the top 150 public universities in research support, with $145 million in 2010-11.

Students will present their work orally before a jury and an audience. Students will compete by discipline category and, where feasible, by class standing (undergraduate/graduate), as described above in “Who May Participate.” Each student will have ten minutes for an oral presentation of their work and five minutes to listen and respond to juror 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 record 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.

The names of the students who are selected through the campus portion of the competition to represent SFSU at the system-wide conference will be sent to San Diego State University, along with their research summaries.  The University will provide funds for travel for the students selected in each competition category to attend the system-wide competition on April 28-29, 2023.  Winners traveling with the University must be able to attend the entire CSU Student Research Competition and additional required events as communicated by the Division of Graduate Studies. Winners of the system-wide competition will also receive monetary awards.

At the system-wide competition at San Diego State University, students will also present their work orally before a jury and an audience. Students will compete by discipline category and class standing (undergraduate/graduate) as described above in "Who May Participate." 

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

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Appropriateness of methodology
  • Interpretation of results
  • Value of the research or creative activity
  • Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • Organization of the material presented
  • Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience
  • February 10, 5:00PM: Deadline to register online and submit complete written summary.
  • February 17, 2023: Schedule details for the campus level competition at San Francisco State University will be posted here.
  • February 27-March 3: Participants will present their work in 10 minutes and answer questions during the 5-minute Q&A following their presentation.
  • March 10: Results of the competition will be announced.
  • April 28-29: Winners from the SF State level competition participate at the 37th Annual Student Research Competition hosted by San Diego State University.

You will have 10 minutes to present your project. Do not read your written summary. Instead, aim to memorize your presentation (to the best of your ability). You may use a PowerPoint (or a similar software) and note cards to aid in your presentation at the campus-level competition, but you will not be able to use cards at the CSU-wide competition. At the end of 10 minutes, judges will have five minutes to ask questions about your work.

Suggestions for Presentation:

  1. Speak to a general audience.
    1. Define key terms that someone outside of your discipline may not know. Judges may not be from your particular discipline, so you need to clearly articulate your ideas. Try to avoid discipline-specific jargon, when possible.
  2. Presentation Structure.
    1. State your name, class standing (undergraduate/graduate) and field of study (include this information on your first slide, along with your project title).
    2. State your topic or project focus.
    3. Provide general background on your topic and describe how your project fits into your field/discipline.
    4. Explain your objectives or research questions.
    5. Describe your methods or artistic medium(s).
    6. Describe key findings or project results. If you have multiple small findings, provide a general summary of the findings.
    7. Explain why the findings or creation are important and how they can be applied to your field (e.g., can your project results help in the prevention of disease? Do your findings help better educate children? Does your choreography push past disciplinary obstacles? Does your drawing challenge conventional notions?).
  3. Presentations for Creative Activities.
    1. If you are presenting a creative activity (e.g., dance performance, poetry), present an analysis of your work. To do this, you may include a visual representation of the work (via images or videos), and provide a rationale for your topic, historical context, artistic medium(s) and how this piece matters to your particular art discipline.
  4. Make sure your PowerPoint slides are easy to follow. Do not include too much text or too small text.
  5. Represent ideas with pictures, graphs and/or charts when possible (versus only text).
  6. Avoid reading from your slides. Keep the information on the slides minimal and speak to the audience.
  7. Rehearse your presentation multiple times to stay within the 10-minute limit.
  8. Anticipate possible questions from the judges.
  9. Judges at the SFSU competition will be from a broad range of disciplines. Judges at the CSU competition will be from your general academic or professional discipline, but they may not be familiar with your specific area of study. For example, civil engineering students may be judged by mechanical and electrical engineers.

You will be judged on the following criteria (at the SFSU and CSU system-wide competition):

  • Clarity of purpose of research or creative activity
  • Appropriateness of methodology
  • Interpretation of results
  • Value of the research or creative activity
  • Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • Organization of the material presented
  • Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience

Please note: You will be judged on both the written and presentation components of your project.

San Francisco State University level competition: Based on the recommendations of the jurors, awards will be provided to winners selected to move forward to the larger CSU Competition. Winners of the system-wide competition may also receive monetary awards.

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Anna Costanza

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Justin Phan

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Matthew Sweeney

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Laura Lu

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Katherine Gelinas

2020 CSU Research Competition Winner: Benjamin Holt