The Library has decided to cancel this year’s competition and double the awards in 2021. Due to COVID-19 precautions many student researchers are unable to access labs and other means of completing their projects. We look forward to your submissions next year!


The CSUSM Library Award for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate sophistication and originality in research projects and creative works, and reflection upon the research/creation process. Up to six (6) prizes will be awarded in three categories:

  1. Creative Works
  2. Empirical Research
  3. Interpretive Analysis

Winners receive a $600 cash prize and public recognition of their excellent work.

Submissions by individuals or groups will be considered in the following three categories:

  • Creative Works, including, but not limited to, an art installation, software program, musical composition, film or video, special project, mathematical research, etc.

  • Empirical Research, including, but not limited to, research conducted with qualitative or quantitative methodologies using the (social-) scientific method. (The submission project should utilize data to prove or disprove a hypothesis.)

  • Interpretive Analysis, including, but not limited to, analysis which aims to capture hidden meaning and ambiguity of a cultural artifact (such as a piece of art, person, or event). (Examples: cultural/literary criticism, film analysis, historiographies, social criticism, etc.)

If you have any question about which category a submission falls under, please contact

Important Dates

  • Submission: April 17th, 2020

  • Review period: April 18th - 30th, 2020

  • Winner notification: May 1st, 2020 (by 5pm)

  • Award reception: May 7th, 2020

Evaluation Rubric

Judges will utilize a rubric to evaluate submissions: Evaluation Rubric


Applicants must:

  • Be enrolled as a CSUSM undergraduate student or students at the time of project completion;

  • Have completed the research project under the guidance of a CSUSM faculty and/or staff member at CSUSM during the following terms: Summer 2019, Fall 2019 or Spring 2020;

  • Agree to contribute to a display of their research during the year following receipt of the prize;

  • Agree to a non-exclusive license agreement to have their submissions included in the CSUSM Institutional Repository. The applicants will retain copyright. 

  • For projects completed as a group, the submission for this award must be completed by the entire group. If a group project is selected to win an award, the cash prize will be distributed equally among all group members.

Required Submission Pieces

  1. Upload the final version of your research project including a complete bibliography, using a citation style appropriate to the discipline. 

    • All identifying information should be removed (redacted) from your submission to help ensure fairness in judging.

  2. Upload a 500-750 word essay describing and reflecting upon your research process and use of resources, including, but not limited to:

    • All identifying information should be removed (redacted) from your submission materials to help ensure fairness in judging.

      • evaluation and selection of materials;

      • search strategies and tools used;

      • understanding of your role as a student-scholar, and a creator of new information;

      • recognition of different perspectives encountered within the scholarship.

  3. Upload a letter of support from the faculty member or staff advisor.

    • All identifying information should be removed (redacted) from your submission to help ensure fairness in judging.

      • Students are encouraged to send the evaluation rubric to their faculty member/staff advisor.

      • This letter should address the following:

        • How does the student project address significant questions within the discipline? 

        • How well does the student project adhere to established disciplinary dimensions/norms such as argumentation style and/or approach, investigative methods, and selection and utilization of information sources/influences?

        • If this is a group project, the letter should address contributions of the entire group. 

  4. Ready to submit? Upload all of your materials using this submission form.

Author Rights

Students retain all rights to their work.  However, students must also grant a non-exclusive license to the university at the time of submission. The license confirms that the student is the creator and contributor of the work and grants the university permission to share the work in an open-access digital environment for educational purposes.

Students and any co-authors retain all intellectual property rights for their work. Students submitting materials for which they do not own copyrights, must certify that they have obtained permission from the copyright owner before making materials available online.

Students also give the university permission to make their work available to all users and to adapt it to accessible formats per American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements. Requests for use of the work for purposes other than education will be referred back to the copyright holder.