2024 SEDAAG Undergraduate Student Honors Paper Competiton

What the Honors Committee Oversees:

  1. Undergraduate Student Paper Competition
  2. Graduate Student Paper/Poster Competition
    • Includes: Master and Doctoral levels

Guidelines for the Undergraduate Student Honors Paper Submission and Presentation Criteria


To be eligible to participate in the student honors competition, you must be an undergraduate student enrolled in a geography or related discipline (such as but not limited to, geology, geosciences, earth and environmental science, sustainability, anthropology, history, and sociology) program and in residence at the sponsoring department at the time your research was done. The sponsoring department must be located within the SEDAAG region. Papers should represent original research. Maps, illustrations, and other audiovisual materials should be designed and constructed by the author.

No multiple-authored papers will be accepted. Advisors and other students involved in the research can be mentioned in the paper acknowledgments or in the paper presentation acknowledgments; however, only one student can author and present each paper. All topics broadly related to geography may be entered and will be given a critical and impartial evaluation.

Departmental Responsibilities

Each department is required to verify the eligibility of graduate students for the honors competition and conduct preliminary screening of papers to ensure that those submitted are high quality products. Each department should ensure that authors accepted in the competition attend the 2024 meeting and are present at the awards ceremony.

Evaluation and Selection Procedures

Papers submitted for the undergraduate honors competition will undergo preliminary screening by the Honors Committee. Those accepted for the competition will be referred to the Program Committee for inclusion in one of the honors competition sessions. Papers not included in the competition but accepted in the program will be placed in an appropriate session elsewhere.

Paper Submissions and Presentation Criteria

Considerations for Honors Competition Paper Submissions:

The paper must be prepared with care and treated as one prepares a manuscript for possible publication, which includes proper citations. A primary criterion for evaluation will be a well-defined research objective and a methodology appropriate to achieving it. The paper should focus on one or more research questions and present at least a tentative answer, or it will receive a lower score in the judging competition. The Undergraduate Honors Paper Competition is not an appropriate venue for research in the proposal stage or not yet completed.

Each paper submitted to the undergraduate honors competition will be evaluated on the following criteria,

Paper Criteria:

  • Original research was undertaken by the author.
  • A 3,000-word paper of publishable quality in its entirety.
  • The oral presentation and defense at SEDAAG.
  • Proper citations, bibliography, and acknowledgments (if included).

Paper Presentation Criteria:

The oral examination is independent of the evaluation of the written paper. It will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The professional quality of the presentation to a general audience.
  • The visual quality of the presentation.
  • The adequacy with which questions are answered.
  • Proper citations and acknowledgments.

It is important that the oral presentations be lively and well-illustrated. All visual aids should be intelligible. Reminder: Maps, illustrations, and other audiovisual materials should be designed and constructed by the author. To leave enough time for questions, each oral presentation should adhere to the time limit (15 minutes) for delivery by the person specified by the person chairing the session. Questions will be 5 minutes.

The Overall Score:

In calculating the overall score, the written portion of the paper will be weighted 40 percent, and the presentation and questions 60 percent.

Submission Instructions for Undergraduate Honors’ Papers

Step 1

Join or renew your SEDAAG membership. https://sedaag.org/membership.

Step 2

Register your paper through the online submission form on the SEDAAG website (see link below) where you will also submit your abstract. 

Please indicate in the online system that your submission is for the Undergraduate Honors Competition. https://forms.gle/9SiXCz3Wm6VrWQWdA.

Step 3

Attach the following two items in an email to the Honors Committee Chair, Dr. Michael Ewers, University of North Carolina – Charlotte (mewers@charlotte.edu) by the SEDAAG abstract deadline (September 13, 2024):

  • 3,000 word paper* (references/tables/figures DO NOT count toward the 3000-word limit; only the paper’s body is limited to 3000 words)
    • *If paper exceeds 3,000 words it will automatically be disqualified from the Undergraduate Honors Competition.
  • A letter from the student’s advisor or head of the sponsoring department verifying the status and eligibility of student (a .pdf of an email stating this information is also fine).

For more information about the Undergraduate Honors’ Paper Competition, contact the Honors Committee Chair, Dr. Michael Ewers, University of North Carolina – Charlotte (mewers@charlotte.edu).