Summary of the Process

  • Students submit three-minute videos by the deadline of January 31, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. (PST).
  • In February, up to 10 semi-finalists are selected for the second-round competition by a panel of judges.
  • With input from judges and GradPro staff, semi-finalists polish and finalize their presentations.
  • On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., semi-finalists’ talks are presented before judges and audience members at a virtual event hosted by Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division Lisa García Bedolla.
  • On the basis of these presentations, three finalists will be selected, two by the panel of judges and one People’s Choice by audience members.
  • The first-place finalist will represent Berkeley at the UC-wide championship round in early May. The second-place finalist will be asked to be prepared to compete if the first-place finalist withdraws.

How to Submit a Video

To apply, you must submit a three-minute video of your presentation by 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. To obtain the video upload link, please complete the Grad Slam APPLICATION FORM.

  • Video should be submitted as an MP4 file, if possible. An MOV file is also acceptable.
  • All video files should be named: “lastname_firstname_deptname.mp4” or “”
  • At the very beginning of your video, please state your full name, graduate program, and the title of your presentation. The time it takes to do this will not be counted against the three minutes to present your research.
  • You will not be judged on your skills as a videographer, and you do not need to use professional video equipment. As long as the judges can see your image, and the audio is clear and understandable, that is sufficient. You may ask a colleague for help in creating your video.



  • All graduate students enrolled in a Master’s or doctoral program at UC Berkeley who are engaged in substantive original research projects are eligible to participate. Entries from all disciplines are welcome and encouraged.
  • In cases of presentation of a collaborative research project, the presenter’s contribution to the project must be salient and clearly specified.


  • One PowerPoint slide is allowed but optional (no Prezi or other presentation formats).
  • Maximum of one slide, exclusive of title slide to be generated by GradPro.
  • All work on the slides must be original to the student and cannot be generated by a professional.
  • PowerPoint animation effects are allowed.
  • Embedded audio and/or video clips (including but not limited to .gif, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, and .wmv file types) are not permitted unless they are deemed indispensable to the communication of the research topic. In that case participants must request advance approval for the inclusion of audio or video clip and provide a statement of justification in advance. Contact [email protected] in advance for approval.
  • Props may be allowed with advance approval by the program coordinators, provided they need minimal set-up and produce no mess. Contact [email protected] for approval.


  • Timing will commence from the moment the speaker begins their presentation. The presentation begins at the moment the speaker engages with the audience (if they start with a hand clap, a gesture, an audio or video clip or any other such engagement, prior to speaking, the clock begins at that time; if there is no such engagement the clock starts when the student begins speaking). If the speaker continues past three minutes, points will be deducted from the final score, beginning with one point at 3:03, and one point every two additional seconds thereafter.


Judging in the first round will be conducted by a UC Berkeley committee of faculty members and graduate students. In the second round, judges will be drawn from University alumni, staff, and other campus affiliates from varied academic fields and backgrounds. Audience members will select the People’s Choice finalist.

Judging will focus on the presentation and the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience. Contestants will be rated on:

  • Clarity: Did the speaker provide adequate background knowledge to make the talk and the importance of the project understandable?
  • Organization: Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Delivery: Pace, enthusiasm, confidence, body language, eye contact, vocal range, etc.
  • Appropriateness: Was the topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience? Did the speaker avoid or explain discipline-specific jargon?
  • Intellectual significance of research discussed: Did the speaker explain why her/his project matters (for example, its significance to the academic discipline or to specific problems in the world)?
  • Engagement: To what extent did the talk engage the audience’s intellectual curiosity? Did it inspire the audience to want to learn more about the topic?


A panel of judges will select up to ten semi-finalists from video submissions received by the January 31 deadline. Those semi-finalists will be invited to compete before a second panel of judges and campus audience. All semi-finalists will receive at least $300, with the first-, second-, and People’s Choice finalists receiving cash prizes of $3000, $1,000, and $750 respectively.

The first-place finalist will enter the May UC system-wide contest (the second-place finalist will be asked to be prepared to compete in case of withdrawal by the first-place finalist). From among the ten UC campus representatives, a panel of distinguished judges will select three systemwide winners. For the systemwide competition, first, second and third place winners will receive cash prizes of increasing value.

The Berkeley winner stands a chance of winning cash prizes at both events, if they place in the systemwide competition!