Rules & Judging


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, laser pointers, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


Q: Who introduces the participants?
A: The event emcee will introduce the participants, judges, and event. Participants will be introduced with their name, department and thesis topic.

Q: How is scoring done?
A: During the preliminary heats, judges take notes based on judging criteria during the heats, and at the end of the heat will each independently complete a ranking sheet. FGS staff will compile the rankings, the highest rank is the heat winner. In the event of a tie, judges will be asked to deliberate and determine a winner. During the finals, judges will be given the same materials but will deliberate to determine the finalists.

Q: Is the judging criteria the same for Master's and PhD?
A: Yes, all things are the same.

Q: Do judges vote for students in their own departments?
A: Yes, unless they choose to recuse themselves (which might be appropriate in the cases of extensive professional relationships, such as supervisors). FGS makes every effort to ensure supervisors are not judging their own students during the preliminary heats.

Q: Are notes considered a prop?
A: No, you will not be disqualified for using notes. However, their use is discouraged beyond practice purposes. You should make every effort to present without your notes.

Q: If I’ve participated in past years, can I participate again?
A: Yes! You are welcome to participate as many years as you wish.

Q: Can distance students participate?
A: Distance students are eligible to participate in the competition, but must do so in person.