Grad School 180

Go from student to researcher, presenter, colleague, and more!

What is Grad School 180?

Grad School 180 is an annual research competition at The University of Texas at Tyler. It is open to all UT Tyler graduate students, and challenges participants to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research and its significance in just 180 seconds, using language that can be understood by people outside the discipline. This competition helps to develop presentation, research, and academic communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to explain their work effectively. Participation also allows students to take pride in their work and show the community the impact UT Tyler’s graduate students are making in the local community and beyond. Competition judges will be alumni and community members.

Please bring your friends, family, co-workers, classmates - this is open to everyone, and there is no cost to attend.

Why should you participate?

  • Enhance your CV/Resume
  • Obtain a professional video of your talk to share with others
  • Prepare for a thesis defense, conference talk, or interview
  • Promote your research
  • Discover ways to convey the impact of your research
  • Network with alumni, faculty, staff, peers, and members of the community
  • Win prizes! People's Choice: $500, First prize: $500, Second prize: $250, Third prize: $125


  • Graduate students from all disciplines and any year of study are encouraged to apply.
  • Students may present their research project, proposal, paper, thesis, or dissertation.
  • Students do not need to be writing their thesis or dissertation to compete. However, the student will need to be able to clearly establish the context of their research question, explain their methodology or approach, identify current findings and/or results, and convey the significance of their work.


  • Each contestant will have 180 seconds to engage the audience intellectually and communicate the uniqueness and significance of their research topic.
  • Contestants who exceed the 180 second time limit are disqualified. 
  • Contestants are required to participate in at least one coaching session prior to 500 Internal Server Error

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  • PowerPoint Presentations are not permitted. One slide is allowed.
  • No props are allowed.

Scoring Rubric

  • Judges will score each contestant on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent, using this Scoring Rubric.
  • Contestants will be judged on message and delivery.


  • Contestants should be able to engage the audience, clearly communicate their research questions, explain the relevance of the problem, and describe the methodology and results in terms easily understood by a broad audience.


  • Contestants should engage the audience by projecting confidence and excitement and using appropriate gestures, vocal variation and clear diction.

Important Dates 

All Workshops will be held from 12pm - 1pm.  Online-only and non-TA students may join via Zoom, but students receiving a TA must be physically present. Participation will be tracked by swiping Student ID card.

Participants must attend all three workshops and at least one presentation practice to participate in the Preliminary Round. Participation will be tracked by swiping Student ID card.

  • November 7: Workshop I: Grad School 180 Orientation - STE 127
  • January 30: Workshop II: Creating Your Slides - STE 127
  • February 13: Workshop III: Writing Your Script - STE 127

Participants must register for at least one session below. Practice makes perfect – register for all of them if you want as much practice as possible! All Sessions will be held from 12pm - 1pm. Participation will be tracked by swiping Student ID card.

  • March 3: Practice Round - UC Theater
  • March 4: Practice Round - UC Theater
  • March 5: Practice Round - UC Theater

Preliminary Round and The Big Event!

  • March 19: Preliminary Round - UC Theater from 12pm - 2:30pm
  • March 20: Preliminary Round - UC Theater from 12pm - 2:30pm
  • April 9: THE BIG EVENT! Grad School 180 Competition - UC Theater from 5pm - 8pm