This page is intended for participating students who are nominated by their departments. McGill Science undergraduates who are interested in participating in the Undergraduate Research Conference should talk to their research project supervisor or to departmental staff. 

IMPORTANT: Specs and basics

  • Maximum poster size is 3.5 feet wide x 4 feet tall. You will share an easel with another student. Please respect your neighbour by not exceeding this size.
    • If your poster is already printed, and is larger than this size, please contact victor.chisholm [at]
  • Recommended basic layout: design your poster so you can print it on one piece of paper, respecting the size limits of both the conference (see above) and the printing service you intend to use.
    • Alternative: You may print individual sheets, such as 8.5 x 11". You may mount these on one piece of poster paper, or bring individual sheets and post these to the easel.
  • Pushpins / thumbtacks will be provided so you can mount your poster to the easel. No tape, glue, or staples.
  • Your poster is a visual support that you will use when you explain your work to judges and other visitors.
  • Your poster is not a scientific paper.
  • Before you put an abstract on your poster, ask yourself: Why? Does it belong on the poster, or is that an effective use of visual space? Does the rest of the poster convey that information already?

Layout hints

  • Because your poster is a presentation aid:
    • Visual appeal matters.
    • Consider using graphs rather than tables.
    • Present small, easily-digested bites of information.
    • Keep text concise.
    • Numbered or bulleted lists can be effective.
  • Use LARGE font.
    • Hint: Print a scaled-down copy of your poster onto one sheet of regular paper, 8.5 x 11". If everything is still legible, then the sizes are likely good on the full-size poster. As well, you will now have a useful one-page handout: when you are preparing your poster, you can circulate this to your peers for their comments; on the day of the conference, you can give copies to visitors, if you so wish.
  • Review your printing options in advance, preferably before you design your poster! There are considerations and hints below.
  • Title may be "proper" or catchy.
  • The top of the poster should indicate the title, and first and last name of author(s).
  • You may want to include your program (e.g., B.Sc. Chemistry). (updated: this is not a requirement)
  • You should acknowledge your supervisor and anyone else who contributed to the research.

How to organize your poster

Here are three possible structures; these are only suggestions. Something else may be more appropriate for you. If you have questions about how to best present your work, please contact your department or your research project supervisor.

Experimental lab work Some computer science projects Theoretical research
  • Title
  • Introduction and hypotheses
  • Method
  • Results and discussion
  • (Summary and) general conclusion
  • References / literature cited (smaller font ok)
  • Acknowledgments (and disclosures)
  • Title
  • Problem and Motivation
  • Challenges and Goals
  • Solution Overview (often with an overview of the architecture of a software system)
  • Experiences and Experimental Results (if there are any)
  • Conclusions and Future Work
  • Title
  • Statement of the problem
  • Main theorems and lemmas
  • Proof outline

Printing your poster

  • Review your printing options in advance, preferably before you design your poster!
    • Design your poster with respect to your printer's specifications and sizes. This can save you stress and money later. If your poster is too large for your printer, they may have difficulty printing it, or it may be more expensive to print.
    • Know what file formats your printer will accept: .pdf,  .ppt, .pptx, etc.
  • Where will your get your poster printed?
    • Consider cost, payment methods, accepted file formats, sizes, paper used, turnaround time...
    • Many students use commercial print services.
    • On-campus poster-printing services are offered from various units, including McGill Printing Services, the Biomedical Engineering Department, and Neuro Media Services (MNI).
    • Ask your supervisor, peers, and labmates where they print their posters. Some labs or departments have other low-cost options available.

More resources

There are many online resources for preparing a poster. Here are two:

As well, your labmates, fellow students, other peers, and supervisor may be helpful!