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International Judging
Regional Web Sites
The websites for regional conferences are accessible here for your convenience. Please check the conference site for your region for specific information on your conference.
AIAA Regional Student Conference Portal
Conference Rules


Conference Overview

  • The intent of the student conferences is to expose students to presenting research or other technical work in a setting similar to that at professional AIAA conferences.  These rules provide a framework within which the conferences should be organized and run, but it is expected that each conference will have unique differences based on the region and hosting university.

  • All student participants must be current AIAA student members. A student member ID number will be required at the time of online registration to ensure that the student is a current dues-paying member.

  • The research or technical work should be judged both from a technical perspective (based primarily on the submitted paper) as well as the overall quality of the presentation given in support of the work.

  • Cash prizes for the top three places in each AIAA sponsored category are provided by the AIAA Foundation.

  • USD$500, USD$300 and USD$250 are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Masters, Undergraduate, and Undergraduate Team categories.

  • The Foundation reserves the right to not provide award prize money for two fewer places than the number of competitors in a category.


Paper Submissions

  • A submission to the Undergraduate, Undergraduate Team, or Masters categories shall consist of both a written paper and an oral presentation.  A submission to the Community Outreach category shall consist of only a written abstract and an oral presentation.

  • A submission to the Masters category may have up to two student authors and one listed faculty advisor.  Papers prepared jointly by an Undergraduate and Masters student will be scored in the Masters category.

  • Undergraduate category submissions may have up to two student authors (undergraduates only) and one listed faculty advisor.

  • Undergraduate Team category submissions may have 3 – 10 students (undergraduates only) and one listed graduate student advisor or faculty advisor.

  • If appropriate, faculty AIAA members that advised students during the preparation of their work can be listed as a co-author (never as a first author).  Principle responsibilities for a submitted student conference paper fall with the student author/s and as such they must be listed first.

  • The primary concept of a paper must be the work of the author(s) listed. Papers that result from co-op, internship, or sponsored research must include an acknowledgement statement specifying contributions of other participants in the project. The Judging Chairman reserves the right to establish that the work is, in fact, the work of the author(s) listed.

  • All papers are limited to 11 pages, including acknowledgements, references, appendices, and anything else that is included to present the technical work that was performed.

  • All papers must be formatted according to the author kit provided on the website.

  • Clearly identify the status of all authors (i.e., Undergraduate student, Masters student, or faculty AIAA member) on the submitted paper.  It is the number of students, not including the faculty co-author, listed that determines the competition category.  Responsibility for proper participation in the Undergraduate, Masters, or Team category rests with the authors (not the conference organizers or chairman).  IMPROPER SUBMISSIONS ARE SUBJECT TO DISQUALIFICATION.

  • A student may not enter the same paper in more than one AIAA student conference, nor can they present a paper which has been presented in a conference sponsored by another society, another region, or if it has been accepted for publication, or presentation by any society, including AIAA professional conferences. THIS IS A VIOLATION OF THE AIAA COPYRIGHT TO WHICH STUDENT CONFERENCE PAPERS MUST ADHERE.

  • Only work completed as an Undergraduate or Masters student is eligible for competition. If a student has received their degree and wishes to present the results of work completed while an Undergraduate or Masters degree candidate, they may do so if the degree is received after 1 August of the year preceding the conference and the paper has not been changed from its original form. PAPERS PREPARED BY PH.D. STUDENTS ON PH.D. WORK ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR COMPETITION AWARDS.


Conference Awards

Undergraduate, Masters, and Team category first place papers are invited to compete in the International Student Conference, typically held in January at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibition. Only basic modifications of the original paper are allowed. The fundamental content of the paper must resemble that which was presented at the Regional Conference, no new material is allowed. THE PAPER IS SUBJECT TO AIAA COPYRIGHT RULES AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BE PRESENTED OR PUBLISHED IN ANY OTHER PLACE PRIOR TO THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CONFERENCE. VIOLATION OF THIS WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION OF THE PAPER.   PLEASE NOTE: In the cases of co-authored and team papers, only one author is funded to attend the International Student Paper Conference.

Additional award guidelines:

a. When three papers or fewer are entered in either the Undergraduate, Masters, or Team category in an AIAA Regional Student Conference, the number of prizes awarded may or may not equal the number of papers presented. If only one paper is presented, the first award will be given, etc.

b. There is no tie for the first place award; however, ties are permitted for second and third place awards. If there is a tie for second place, the second and third place awards will be added together and divided evenly. In such a case, there will be no third place winner. If there is a tie for third place, the third place award will be divided evenly.


Conference Judging

  • Student conference papers are to be judged by recommended procedures established by the AIAA Student Activities Committee (SAC). (Technical pre-judgment of papers and judgment of the oral presentations are to be made by two separate boards of judges.) 

  • The 2nd and 3rd place winners in the Master's category will have their papers submitted for review  by an AIAA staff member for the Dr. Abe Zarem Award.

  • First prize Undergraduate, Masters, and Team winners at recognized AIAA Regional Student Conferences are the only individuals considered for the International Student Paper Conference.

  • Written remarks on annotated papers (if possible) from each judge should be returned to the author(s) as soon as possible. This step is crucial to provide participants with timely and constructive feedback. Actual score and rank information (beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd place), are NOT to be shared to the faculty or student participants.

Organizing the Conference

  1. AIAA provides $3,550 towards the operation of each student conference ($3,150 for prizes, $400 for miscellaneous expenses), PLUS $50 funded by the AIAA Foundation, for each current AIAA Student Member and official AIAA Faculty Advisor attending the conference.  No other cash prize awards are sponsored by the AIAA Foundation at this time. Unused prize money must be returned to AIAA Headquarters within 30 days of the completion of the conference. The AIAA foundation funds that are provided for each AIAA Student Member and official AIAA Faculty Advisor attending the conference may be used to off-set the costs associated with the conference.

    Regional Student Conference organizers may establish additional competitions besides the ones funded by the foundation, but prizes will not be provided by the AIAA foundation. Financial support for additional categories must be obtained from other sources.

  2. Regional Student Conferences are to be sponsored jointly by AIAA Student Branches, the AIAA Region, and local Professional Sections where it is feasible.  Local corporate sponsorship may be sought as well. 

  3. Except when prearranged by a Section or a branch, Regional Student Conferences must be hosted by a student branch. The term “hosted” means that the members of a participating student branch will act as titular hosts to visiting students during the various meetings and social affairs of the conference. It does not necessarily imply that the students must provide the management of these meetings and affairs when this management can be better provided by members of the participating Sections.

  4. Funds for the conference, provided by the AIAA Foundation, may be used only for items necessary to conduct the conference in its most fundamental form (e.g., awards, meeting rooms, accommodations, meals, the awards banquet, audio/visual equipment rental, announcements, programs, postage, transportation reimbursements, etc.). Expenses incurred for extravagant social affairs or non-student functions are examples of unauthorized expenditures.

  5. The purchase of alcoholic beverages using the AIAA Foundation conference funds is not permitted (for liability reasons).

  6. An initial (i.e., estimated) and final conference budget must be approved by both the AIAA Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office. Only those expenses deemed fundamentally necessary to conduct the conference will be approved.  Private, non-AIAA, Headquarters donations may be used for both basic and other conference expenditures.

  7. Each conference is to submit a final report to the AIAA Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office no later than 30 days after the conference is held. This report should include (a) the final conference budget, detailing all expenses and income; (b) statistics on the number of faculty, students, other attendees, and the number of schools represented; (c) the name of each student that is awarded a prize by AIAA; and (d) the name of the school for each student that is awarded a prize by AIAA.

  8. The final conference budget, and hence the AIAA Foundation support, must be jointly approved by the Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office. Expenses deemed necessary to conduct the conference will be supported. Extravagant or improper expenses will not be reimbursed by the AIAA Foundation.

  9. The papers presented at Regional Student Conferences shall be from branches located within the region. Each branch is allowed to present papers at only one Regional Student Conference in any year. 

  10. Student conference papers are to be submitted to the AIAA Conference Administration System according to the timeline established by the conference organizer to allow sufficient time for the technical judging of papers.

  11. Failure by the student attendee to obtain a valid student member ID number will void the $50 reimbursement for that student attendee. Additionally, only 1 Faculty Advisor per university will be counted toward the AIAA Foundation reimbursement.

  12. A student branch is permitted to petition to move from one conference region to another. Approval of the petition will be contingent upon the endorsement of the AIAA Vice President - Education and the AIAA Student Activities Committee.