Rules & Judging

Event Rules

  • 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, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers) 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.


Judging panels for the preliminary heats will be comprised of faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows from across the university. The judging criteria are:

  • Communication Style - Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Comprehension - Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Engagement - Did the oration make the audience want to know more?


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 Masters 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.

2018 Judging Panel

Judges (Heats 1 & 2)
Mohammad Nasif Sarowar, Animal Science and Aquaculture
Catherine Connors, Research Ethics
Courtney Sutton, Office of the Provost & VP Academic
Corey Smith, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Judges (Heats 3 & 4)
Fabian Grosse, Oceanography
Mahshid Hadavand, Engineering
Tamara Franklin, Psychology & Neuroscience
Eileen Denovan-Wright, Graduate Studies & Pharmacology

Judges (Heats 5 & 6)
J. Michael Lee, Biomedical Engineering
Matthew Cooper, Physics & Atmospheric Science
Michele Gallant, Art Gallery
Tony Rusinak, College of Continuing Education

Judges (Heats 7 & 8)
Karen Gallant, Health & Human Performance
Mahbubur Rahman, Facilities Management
Angela Hersey, Research Services
Genevieve MacIntyre, Arts & Social Sciences

Judges (Heats 9 & 10)
Ryan McNutt, Communications & Marketing
Shazia Nawaz Awan, College of Continuing Education
Janet MacDonald, Health
Shawna O’Hearn, Global Health Office

Judges (Heats 11 & 12)
Matthew Stoyek, Physiology & Biophysics
Lynne Robinson, Interdisciplinary PhD Program
Joanne Langley, Pediatrics
Kyoko Ohashi, Oceanography