Conference Tips for Graduate Students

Call for Papers

What organizers post to advertise their conferences & ask for the submission of abstracts:


  • ~500 word (varies)
  • A summary of your proposed presentation, sent to conference organizers.

Considerations for Deciding which Conferences to Attend

  • Does the topic align with my research interests?
  • Is the keynote speaker an expert in my field?
  • Is this a well-known conference that will look impressive on my CV? (e.g. "century" conferences, MLA, ACLA, etc.)
  • Do I know anyone else who is going? (Less important but it may result in the possibility of splitting accommodation and/or transportation costs)
  • How much is the conference fee and what does it include? How much does it cost to become a member of the organization? Is it worth the cost?

Funding Sources

LSU graduate school:

  • PhD students are eligible for 3 awards (up to $450)
  • Apply at least 1 month prior to the conference
  • If approved, you will receive the money after the conference
  • Keep all documentation so you can turn them in after the conference and make copies for your records(e.g. plane tickets, conference programs, food receipts, transportation receipts, etc.)
  • See Graduate School awards at

LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences

American Comparative Literature Association Travel Grant

Modern Language Association Graduate Student Travel Grant

Graduate Student Conferences

  • Generally not funded by LSU
  • Good to practice presenting, but not as prestigious as national and international conferences
  • Good opportunity to network with other grad students & conference fees are generally lower
  • My advice: stay local! Go to local grad student conferences in Louisiana:
    • University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of New Orleans, Loyola, Tulane, etc.
    • Conferences at LSU (English Mardi Gras Conference, Department of French Studies, Comparative Literature).
    • The LSU Comparative Literature Graduate Association conference is held in the spring.


  • Create a clear outline that will be easy to follow for someone unfamiliar with your topic
  • Time yourself reading your paper out loud to be sure that you are respecting the time limits