Call for Submissions

Graduate student presentations may include a portion of a thesis or dissertation or a successful seminar. The conference welcomes the presentation of talks or posters previously presented elsewhere. To address the interdisciplinary/cross-disciplinary goals of this conference, each poster or oral presentation must include the following brief introductory components directed toward helping those outside the discipline understand the work.

  • An overview of the topic’s significance within the discipline (discipline-specific context)
  • A brief discussion of the research methodology or approach to the topic
  • A statement of the topic’s relevance or interest outside of the discipline.

This general introduction should be followed by a discipline-specific presentation, with modest adjustments in terminology, focus, or other to include a broad audience. Each abstract should include an introductory paragraph addressing each of the three points noted above. 

The presentation categories are as follows: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), Social Sciences/Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts.  You will be asked during the submission process to choose which category your work should be presented in.  Also for additional information on printing/uploading posters and oral presentations, please visit the Scholarworks page of the website. 

GradCon attracts a general audience composed of students and faculty in all disciplines. Your intentions must be communicated in a manner that is intelligible to that audience.

Submission Process

  • Submissions may be made for an oral, poster, performance or visual art presentation.
  • To apply, all applicants must have their faculty research mentor review and approve their abstract prior to submission. Click HERE for Rubric Example 
  • Complete the Online Submission Form (button below).
  • Abstracts (circa 500 words) must include the following elements (as applicable to your field): Your abstract/artist statement must be specific to this presentation. It should be revised to reflect your most recent work on the project.  See Sample Abstracts
    • Title – Describe your topic in language that is intelligible to a general audience.
    • Purpose – State your main thesis or rationale.
    • Methods – How did you carry out this project?
    • Originality – What is new about this approach?
    • Significance – Explain the contribution of this project to your field and/or to society.

Deadline - Friday, March 23rd at 5:00pm

Visual & Performing Arts
GradCon is excited to feature Visual & Performing Arts Sessions during the conference.  All graduate students are invited to submit a visual entry (sculpture, painting, etc.) or performance (dancing, playing instrument, reading, etc.) no more than 15 minutes long (preferably leave 3 minutes for questions).  A submitted artist statement will serve in lieu of an abstract to be considered as an presenter.  All submissions (including artist statements) are to be made through the "Submit Abstract" button above.

Items to include in artist statement:

  • Title
  • Medium
  • Dimensions of work in inches or intended presentation set-up
  • Description of work and all producers and/or contributors

**New this year - Please read!
The presentation types/schedule have been updated to the following 4 categories: 15 minute Oral Presentations (9:00am - 1:00pm), 15 minute Visual & Performing Arts Presentations (1:15 - 2:30pm), 5 minute Oral “Chalk Talk” presentations (2:40 - 4:30pm)  designed for quick overview of project, may include power point or wipe board, followed by Poster Presentations & Awards 4:30 - 6:30pm.  There is a limited number of presentation spaces for each of these categories.  Once the slots are filled, another choice must be made should you wish to present at GradCon.  It is also recommended by the committee that you be available for 1 hour (around your scheduled time) as an audience member. Remember, it’s no fun to present to no one!  Your participation is greatly appreciated! 

Want additional support on writing an excellent abstract? 

Join the GradCon Abstract Writing Workshop for free, hands-on assistance in writing and submitting your abstract.  Workshops to be held, Wednesday, March 21st noon-1:00pm OR Thursday, March 22nd 4:00-5:00pm in the Mansfield Library Student Learning Center MLB283.  Please email Gretchen McCaffrey at to secure your spot.  Walk-ins are accepted.  Not mandatory for Award eligibility. Click on picture for printable flyer.


Judging & Award Eligibility

Judging/Best of GradCon Awards

Personal Statement
Explain the importance of your work. Why should it be considered for a "Best of GradCon" award?  What is the value of your work?  That value could include value to yourself as an individual, to the University of Montana, to our community, or more broadly - to humanity. It is an opportunity to talk about your work outside the constraints of an abstract and lead the judging panel to want to hear more about this opportunity. 

For students who self-selected into consideration for a "Best of GradCon" awards, your abstract/artist statement & personal statement will be collected and sent to the judges.  This is considered to be Round 1 of the judging.  Judges will pick the “Top” submissions in the categories of: 15 minute Oral Presentation, Visual & Performing Arts, 5 minute "Chalk Talks" and Posters.  Your submission should compel the judges to want to see more.

**ALSO NEW THIS YEAR - The Research and Creative Scholarship Fund (RCSF) will be offering cash awards for those chosen as the "Best of" in the following catagories: 5 minute oral presentations ($100 cash prize), 15 minute oral presentations ($300 cash prize), performing and visual arts ($300 cash prize), poster session ($300 cash prize).  More information will be provided if selecting to be considered for a "Best of GradCon" award.

Round 2
– You will be notified by April 4th if you have been requested to move to the 2nd round of judging. 

The next step for Round 2 will include uploading a video submission to a specified UM Box account by April 13th.  Videos should be no more than 15 minutes in length, this includes poster presentations (5 minutes for 5-minute presentations).  Tailoring the presentation to a general audience is one of the most important factors in obtaining a “Best of GradCon”  Award.  So, take the time to get it right.  This is excellent opportunity to introduce your yourself and to explain the importance of your project.  Presentations will judged based on the Presentation Rubric.  

Students may use their own video recording system OR can access the free, One Button Studio in the Mansfield Library. To reserve the One Button Studio students must check out the key at the front desk.  (OBS has been designed as an intuitive video studio to practice presentations and create video content, located on level one of the Library in room 102). Bring a large thumdrive to save & transfer the file to the UM Box.

Judges will deliberate and awardees will be announced (ONLY) at the GradCon Award & Poster Session 4:30 – 5:00pm.  You'll want to be present during this exciting moment or have a representative available to accept your "Best of GradCon" award should you not be able to attend.

**Note – You will still need to upload your final presentation (or poster) into ScholarWorks for the Conference (see Scholarworks page for more info).

For more information on the "Day of Logistics" please CLICK HERE or visit the Day of Presentations page.