History of NCUR

What Is NCUR?

The idea for a national conference open to all undergraduates was conceived and implemented at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1987. The first conference drew more than 400 participants from institutions across the country.

The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, this gathering of student scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all disciplines. Through this annual conference, NCUR creates a unique environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement; provides models of exemplary research, scholarship, and creative activity; and helps to improve the state of undergraduate education. Each conference hosts 3,500 to 4,000 students from across the globe, presenting their research through posters, oral presentations, visual arts, and performances. Their faculty mentors also attend, often presenting or facilitating faculty/mentor networking sessions.


The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) historically existed as two separate organizations, but on October 1, 2010, the two officially joined. To commemorate this occasion, CUR and NCUR held a number of special events, including a reception, congressional briefing, and book release.

NCUR for Students

Student Presentations

Student presentations are welcome in all fields and disciplines from the creative and performing arts to biomedical, engineering, and social science research. The National Conference on Undergraduate Research is a wonderful opportunity to meet peers and faculty from around the country and the world who are working in similar research fields, learn about the conduct of research and scholarship in fields very different from your own, learn about graduate school and employment opportunities, and develop your presentation skills. All abstracts and applications will be reviewed by faculty members.

Student participants in NCUR may present in one of the following formats:

  • Oral
  • Poster
  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts

Attending a Professional Research Symposium

NCUR is the largest symposium of its kind in the world, bringing together nearly 4,000 undergraduate students each year from all fields and disciplines. The symposium is organized just like a professional meeting of scholarly societies. In this case, the audience is composed of other students, faculty mentors, and administrators. This is your opportunity to share with your peers the expertise you have gained over the course of your research experience. You can also learn what your colleagues have discovered through their projects. This is your chance to see the vast array of research taking place in all fields and disciplines, and meet students from other campuses who are doing similar research. We encourage you to be an active participant in the conference. Use this event as an opportunity to teach and learn. Most NCURs also include a graduate school and/or career fair, providing you with opportunities to meet with recruiters and consider next steps in your education and career path. The following are some guidelines for presenters and participants:

  1. Dress for Success. Although you do not need to wear a business suit, you should wear business-casual attire. Take pride in your work. Avoid jeans, wrinkled shirts and t-shirts, short skirts, low-cut tops, and uncomfortable or dirty shoes. Look professional.
  2. Anticipate Questions. Try to anticipate the type of questions you might be asked about your research experience. Think of ways to explain your work in non-technical terms.
  3. Learn. Use this event as an opportunity to understand a wide variety of research methodology and creative/scholarly activities currently being conducted in fields different than your own.
  4. Celebrate. This is an opportunity to celebrate your achievements and those of your peers.


  1. Invite the other students from your campus to attend your presentation. Act professionally. When you are presenting your research, spend time talking about your work. Do not stand around joking and talking about other things with your friends.
  2. Encourage visitors to talk with you about your poster by your actions and words. Look attentive. Tell them you would like to talk to them about your research project.


  1. Visit at least 10 posters in your discipline. Have a conversation with the presenter about his or her project and what he or she has discovered. Remember: you would like presenters to visit your poster when you are presenting. Visit at least 10 posters in fields outside of your discipline and learn how research is done in different disciplines. How do the research methods and questions differ from your field? How are they similar? Attend oral sessions either in your discipline or in
    a different field. Attend the plenary sessions. If you are in the sciences or social sciences, be sure to attend one of the performing arts or humanities presentations.
  2. Use your time wisely. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from and interact with students and faculty from around the world.

NCUR for Faculty and Administrators

NCUR is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and administrators—for students to present their research to peers and faculty from around the world; for faculty to connect with colleagues across disciplines; and for administrators to meet students, faculty, and undergraduate research program directors.

Student presentations are welcome in all fields and disciplines from the creative and performing arts to the biomedical, engineering, and social science fields.  NCUR provides a wonderful opportunity for your students to meet peers and faculty working in similar research fields at institutions across the globe, to learn about the conduct of research and scholarship in a wide range of fields, to learn about advanced degree and employment opportunities at the graduate school fair, and to develop presentation skills. All student abstracts and applications are reviewed by faculty members.
Students  can present in one of the following formats:

  • Oral
  • Poster
  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts

NCUR Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is strongly committed to the wide expression of all forms and topics of undergraduate research, by all members of the undergraduate research community, and views with great concern any actions or policies that affect that commitment to inclusivity. 

For questions or additional information about NCUR, please email NCUR@CUR.org.

Past NCUR Locations