GSAS Master’s SynThesis Competition

The annual GSAS Master’s SynThesis competition is an opportunity for MA students from across the Arts and Sciences to showcase their research and presentation skills in a relaxed and collegial environment. Click here for the event program.

The 2022 competition, which features presentations from 12 Arts and Sciences MA students, will be held on Thursday, May 5, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in 555 Lerner Hall. Join us in-person or online and have a chance to vote for Audience Choice! RSVP here.

The Challenge

Present your thesis research to a general audience in under three minutes using a single slide. First-, second-, and third-place awardees receive prizes of $500, $300, and $200, respectively. 

Please write to [email protected] with any questions.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations. or movement of any type).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Once three minutes is reached, the presenter will be asked to stop.

Click here to view recordings of prior years' winners.

Applicants must be:

  1. Currently enrolled in an Arts and Sciences MA program, or must have graduated from an Arts and Sciences MA program no earlier than October 2021
  2. Working on a thesis based on original research
  3. Available to attend the in-person competition on Thursday, May 5.

Apply here by Sunday, March 27.

To apply, applicants must submit a 300-word project abstract, appropriate for a nonspecialist audience. Applications go through two rounds of review to identify finalists. In the first round, all submitted abstracts are reviewed by a GSAS staff committee, which will select the semi-finalists. In the second round, semi-finalists will complete brief video interviews.

Between 12 to 15 finalists will be selected to present their research to a general audience and a multidisciplinary panel of judges at the final competition. Finalists must participate in a preparatory workshop with GSAS staff prior to the competition. The workshop will be offered in mid-April.

At each stage of review, applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Comprehension and content

  1. Abstract/interview/presentation provides clear background and significance to the research question
  2. Abstract/interview/presentation clearly describes the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research
  3. Abstract/interview/presentation clearly describes the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research

Communication and engagement

  1. Project is communicated in language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience, avoids jargon, and adequately explains technical concepts
  2. Research is communicated with enthusiasm and in an engaging manner

Presentation (for finalists)

  1. Quality of delivery of oral presentation
  2. Quality of the slide: Does it enhance the presentation? Is it clear, legible, and concise?