Need help making an academic poster? You’ve come to the right place!(Please refer to this page if you are looking for help with submitting and printing your poster) 


A poster is a visual summary of your project. Therefore, it should not dwell on details but rather present the big picture, preferably by graphs and images more than text. A poster thus usually explains the context, significance, method, findings, and conclusions of your project.



As an undergraduate student, there are three types of audience that you can expect to present to. The first one includes other students and professors at CLAS or at a campuswide poster session, who are unfamiliar with your field and research methods. The second type includes other students in your class, who know the general themes of the class but not your specific research topic. Finally, you could be presenting to experts in your field at a scientific conference, in which case your audience will expect precise terminology, concise result statements and professional graphs, for example. You must keep in mind the audience’s familiarity with your field to make the poster accessible and relatable to them. For audience outside of your field, you should highlight the context, significance and implications of your research in general terms. Give the audience a reason to care about your poster and your research. For viewers with more familiarity or expertise in your field, you should include meaningful technical details and use specific terminology when necessary.


Content Guide



  • Although the following guides are divided into STEM posters and Art, Humanities and Social Science posters, the two types have many more similarities than differences. Therefore, you should check out all the guides to find which tips work best for you.
    • STEM poster guide
      Source: Colin Purington’s blog, Swarthmore faculty member.
      A more detailed guide on what content should be in each section. Also include many tips on how to make your poster more engaging. The guide was written for STEM posters, but most of the advice is applicable to other fields as well.
    • Arts, Humanities and Social Science poster guide
      Source: Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research
      Detailed guide with sources for images, examples, and technical details for PowerPoint


  • Link to Google Images Advanced Search
    In Google Images Advanced Search you can choose a large image size, a particular image type or color, public domain images from .gov sites, or Creative Commons licensed images under usage rights.


  • A video from University of Guelph showing how changing a few visual components can dramatically improve the clarity and appeal of your poster.



Evaluating your poster


Presenting your poster



Further reading

  • More guidelines to make you a poster expert!
    Source: Fred Stoss – University at Buffalo – SUNY
    Detailed guides on effective posters, engaging presentations, posters as teaching tools, and so on. Great for poster enthusiasts, people in the education and communication field, and people planning a lecture on making posters.


Academic Poster examples 


(NC State University)                                         (University of Texas)



(Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)          (Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)



(Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)         (Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)



(Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)         (Stanford student SURP Poster Awards)



Technical help with PowerPoint

For Mac users (UNC)

Creating posters in PowerPoint, with stylistic guidance (Rice University)