Grad Slam is a campus-wide competition for the best 3-minute graduate student presentation of a research or creative project. It is an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their communication skills and is an effective way of showcasing to the UArizona community and the public the innovative research and creative work associated with graduate education at the University of Arizona.
All disciplines are encouraged to participate. And did we mention that presenters could win an award of $3,000?
Registration for the competition has closed.
Use the links below to learn more about the competition.
- Competition Dates and Schedule of Speakers
- Grad Slam Awards
- Competition Format
- Competition Rules
- Judging Criteria and Scorecard
- Workshops and other Resources for a successful Grad Slam
- Inspiration for Grad Slam
Grad Slam is hosted by the Graduate College's Graduate Center, and the Graduate and Professional Student Council.
The in-person Grad Slam is sponsored by the Office of Research Innovation and Impact.
Want to sponsor Grad Slam (an award area or the event itself) or have additional questions? Contact David Bradshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dates and Schedule
Grad Slam 2023 In-person competition
- Registration deadline: March 1
- Preliminary Rounds in ENR2 Building, Room S107
- March 13, 9 AM to 10:30 AM Arizona Time
- March 14, 8:30 AM to 10 AM Arizona Time
- March 14, 3 PM to 4:30 PM Arizona Time
- March 15, 11:30 AM to 1 PM Arizona Time
- March 16, 1:30 PM to 3 PM Arizona Time
- March 17, 10:30 AM to 12 PM Arizona Time
- Final Round at the Stevie Eller Theatre
- March 30
- Doors open at 5 PM
- Opening remarks and presentations begin at 5:15 PM
Grad Slam 2023 Best Recorded Video Presentation Key Dates
- March 1: Registration Deadline
- March 13, 9 AM Arizona Time:Video Submission Deadline
Grad Slam Awards
Grand Prizes, sponsored by the Office of Research, Innovation, and Impact:
- 1st Place Prize: $3,000
- 2nd Place Prize: $2,000
- 3rd Place Prize: $1,000
Best Recorded Video Presentation Themed Award, sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Council
- 1st Place Prize: $1,500
- 2nd Place Prize: $1,000
- 3rd Place Prize: $750
Presenters can compete for this award even if they do not participate in the in-person competition. To participate, you are required to create a video presentation meant to be viewed asynchronously. The rules and rubric for this award are based on the in person Grad Slam rules and rubric.
PLEASE NOTE: All Grad Slam awards are in compliance with Affordable Care Act rules. The awards are not counted toward work hours, and will be given to the winners either by check or disbursed through the winners' bursar accounts.
Grad Slam is a tournament style competition. Students initially present in the preliminary rounds. One student from each of the preliminary rounds will be selected to move to the final round.
- All presentations must be three minutes long or less.
- Students may present on original research or creative projects they are conducting for a thesis, dissertation, or any other project.. The project can focus on the development of new ideas, methods, or products, or it may focus on the application and revision of current methods or models. Student artists should focus on how their creative work applies to the broader exchange of ideas and the role the creative work plays in providing new perspective or in shaping attitudes.
- Presentations are to be spoken and should include visual aids.
- Presentations are required to have at least one slide or visual aid. Slides must be in PowerPoint or PDF formats. There is no limit to the number of slides. Animations are allowed.
- No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Audio and video are permissible, but judging emphasis will be on the presentation.
- Presentations commence from the moment participants begin to speak or gesture.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
- Previous 1st Place Winners of Grad Slam may not compete in subsequent Grad Slam competitions.
Judging Criteria and Scorecard
Prominent members of the University and Tucson community will serve as judges. Presenters will be evaluated on their ability to convey in a compelling fashion the value of their research or creative work to a non-specialist audience within the 3-minute time limit. Please download the Grad Slam Scorecard for more details.
- Workshops and Information Sessions - Click here for a full schedule and listing of topics.
- View the presentations of previous Grad Slam Finalists at the Grad Slam Videos Page.
- COMPASS Message Box Workbook - A great resource for helping you communicate to a variety of audiences.
- UArizona Toastmaster Clubs - Communities where you can refine your communication and leadership skills. The University has five groups to choose from.
- How to Give a Killer Presentation: Lessons from TED by Chris Andersen, Harvard Business Review, June 2013
- Giving an Academic Talk by Jonathan Shewchuk, Associate Professor in Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley
- Giving Oral Presentations from English Communication for Scientists by Jean-luc Doumont (ed.), Nature (2010)
- Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
- Making the Most of Your Three Minutes for 3MT: The Three Minute Thesis by Simon Clews, Director, Writing Centre, University of Melbourne
- 10 Hints for Improving Presentations for the Three Minute Thesis Competition by Danielle Fischer, Charles Darwin University
Inspiration for UArizona Grad Slam
- TED Talks: A direct link to the TED talk site with the 0-6 minute duration selected.
- PhD Comics Two-Minute Thesis: PhD Comics challenged graduate students to explain their work in two minutes – the best have been turned into videos!
- 3 Minute Thesis Competition Presentations: Top presentations from a multi-university thesis competition in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the South Pacific