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I am a physics student currently applying to PhD programs, having had two years of full time post-bac research since graduating undergrad. Unfortunately, by the time most of my applications were due I had not produced a publication, although one was in preparation. Recently however I had an abstract accepted for a large conference in my field, so I will be giving a presentation at that conference in a few months.

Most graduate school applications ask for any publications or presentations having to do with your research. I have two questions:

  1. Would it be appropriate to include this presentation given that it has not happened yet? The review process for these applications will likely be over by the time of the conference, so waiting until then to include it isn’t really and option.
  2. Would it be worthwhile to email the director of graduate studies at institutions where I have already submitted my applications and ask them to update my application portfolio with this new information?

I know that research factors heavily into admissions decisions, and while I focus quite a bit on my experience in my application already, it might be good/important to also show some deliverables from 1.5ish years of research. I also don’t want to commit a faux pas by including things that perhaps shouldn’t be. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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If it has been accepted then yes, include it, but mark it somehow (... abstract to be presented at ...). If it has been submitted, but not yet accepted, then you can include it under the heading of "work in progress".

But there is no reason not to include such things. As you say, deliverables are important. But so is showing some continuity in your research trajectory.

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  • What are you thoughts on retroactively including it by contacting admissions committees? – gabe Jan 12 at 21:57
  • It probably isn't essential. If it is, you have deeper problems. But you can bring it up in any interview or further correspondence. – Buffy Jan 12 at 21:58
  • Ok, I probably won’t then. I felt the weakest part of my research history was the lack of deliverables, and I lean somewhat heavily on my experience in the statements of purpose. However, you are right that it’s something to bring up later. I don’t think it’s exclusion will be the deciding factor on whether I get interviews, for example. – gabe Jan 12 at 22:06
  • You’re applying for a graduate program in physics. Not that many applicants have publications as undergraduates. I would think your resume is enough. – ZeroTheHero Jan 13 at 0:31

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