The suspense. The lights. The crowd. The drama. The Undergraduate Research Slam is a competition where participants have just three minutes and three slides to give a dynamic presentation of their research project. Come cheer on your favorite presenter as they compete!

All UCSB undergraduates participating in research during the 2023-2024 academic year are eligible. The top 3 students will earn prizes!

The qualifying round is entirely online, administered through the Google Form below. A panel of judges will determine the finalists, who will compete in the live Slam on Thursday May 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm. 

The Slam is a public speaking competition, not a slideshow competition. While the qualifying round will be judged by UCSB personnel, the final round will be judged by community members with a range of educational and professional backgrounds. Effective presentations can communicate student work to a general audience.


April 8
Presenter Workshop

Join us at at 3:30 pm at CITRAL in the library to learn more about how the Slam works and what you can do to put yourself in the best competitive position. Register on Shoreline. Open to all students who are interested in participating. 

April 26
Qualifying Round

Submissions are due at 11:59pm PST. Submit videos below. Only one submission is allowed per user.

May 9
Practice Session

Finalists will be invited to sign up for 10-minute sessions in the space where the final will be to get used to the microphone, lighting, etc. You may bring friends to provide feedback, and we will have staff on hand to answer any questions.

May 15
Final Slide Submission

Submit your slides as PNG or JPEG files in Widescreen 16:9 ratio.

May 16

Location: UCSB Library Room 1312
The event starts at 4:30 pm. Finalists are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes early. 


  • Presentation must be between 2:30 minutes minimum and 3:00 minutes maximum.
  • Google slide presentation is optional, however, there may be no more than 3 slides. The URCA office will produce title slides for all students.
  • Animations and transitions in the slides are NOT allowed; pages must be static.
  • Embedding audio and/or video clips is not allowed.
  • Students may not use props.
  • All Slam events will be open to the public and may be recorded.
  • Only individuals may enter the slam. Participants from a research group should focus their individual presentations on their particular contribution to the group project.
  • Top 3 students will earn prizes ($500, $250, $100)

Score Guide


Did the speaker provide enough background knowledge and context to make the talk understandable and compelling to a general audience?


Were you able to understand the speaker’s motivations and progression of the work?


Did the speaker engage the audience with their delivery? If visual aids were used, did these enhance the presentation and help to emphasize the primary points of the talk? Were the slides well designed?

Intellectual Significance 

Did the speaker explain why the project matters (for example, its significance to the academic discipline)? If the student presents on collaborative work, was the significance of the student’s unique contribution clear?


To what extent did the talk speak to your intellectual curiosity? Did it make you want to learn more about the topic?

Each category is scored on a 10 point scale. 

Points will be deducted for time violations.

  • 2 point deduction per ballot for every extra 10 seconds (-2 pts at 3:10, -4 pts at 3:20, etc)
  • 2 point deduction per ballot for videos under 2:30 minutes

Qualifying Round

Submission closes on April 26, 2024 at 11:59pm PST

The qualifying round is online. Video must be submitted via a Google form. Videos may be trimmed for submission, but additional editing or effects are NOT allowed.




The UCSB Grad Slam serves as a model for the impact a 3-minute presentation can have. Take advantage of their incredible resource page to think more about these key points the Graduate Division identifies:

Images and Visuals

If your presentation includes visuals, make sure to select them carefully. You’ll want to find images or tables that are visually appealing and that emphasize key aspects of your work. Most importantly: strive for simplicity! Cluttering your slides with images and text can overwhelm your audience.


Giving a speech can be a nerve-racking experience, but it is important to practice this skill in order to become more confident and comfortable in front of others.

Disciplinary Resources & Example Talks

There are a number of discipline-specific resources that may help you as you prepare to communicate both inside and outside of your discipline.

Grad Slam Presentation Resources