Effective communication is a core competency in any professional field, whether academia or industry. At UC Santa Barbara, we want to empower graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to find their unique voice.

The Fundamentals in Public Speaking certificate provides a way for students and scholars to both develop and demonstrate competency in this area. During Winter 2024, the Graduate Division is offering extensive training opportunities in public speaking that focuses on skills like content development, stage presence, and visuals. The workshops center around the development of short 3-minute talks that can be used in a variety of settings such as networking events, entrepreneurial pitches, and Grad Slam.*

The series is open to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in any discipline and at any stage in their program. Attendees can opt to come to some or all of the workshops, but in order to be awarded the certificate, they must complete all of the requirements detailed below.

*Note: While the series is particularly useful for graduate students who plan to present at Grad Slam, participation in the competition is not required. Grad Slam is only open to currently enrolled graduate students. Interested students can sign up here to be a presenter.

2023 Grad Slam Champion Annette Hilton

2023 Grad Slam Champion Annette Hilton

Certificate Completion Requirements

Students and scholars must participate in at least 1 item from each of the 4 parts below.

All sessions are held in person unless noted otherwise. Participants can learn more about each session and sign up to attend via the Graduate Student Resource Center page on Shoreline. Participants are expected to stay for the entirety of each event they are using to fulfill the requirements. Attendees should ensure that they are checked in AND checked out on Shoreline by one of our staff members in order for their attendance to count toward the certificate requirements.

Part 3  |  Practice

OPTION 1: Delivering an Engaging Talk (Feb 20, virtual)

OPTION 2: Public Speaking Practice Session (various dates, see below)

Part 4  |  Present

OPTION 1: Public Speaking Practice Session (various dates, see below)

OPTION 2: Grad Slam Preliminary Round Presentations (various dates)


  • Presenter slots are offered on a first-come first-served basis
  • The presentation order for all practice sessions will be randomized
  • Each person is only allowed to sign up for one practice session slot each year

*Note: Participation in a Public Speaking Practice Session may be used to fulfill the requirement for EITHER Part 3 OR Part 4, but not both.

Practice Session Dates

Grad Slam participants are given priority for presenter slots in Sessions 1 and 2:

Session 1: February 23, 10:00am-12:00pm

Session 2: February 26, 1:00-3:00pm

Sessions 3-6 are open for any grad student or postdoc to sign up for a presenter slot:

Session 3: April 12, 10:00-11:30am

Session 4: April 18, 10:00-11:30am

Session 5: April 22, 1:00-2:30pm

Session 6: April 30, 1:00-2:30pm

Receiving the Certificate

Once participants complete all requirements, they must submit the Participation Verification Form in order to officially receive the certificate. Participants are expected to stay for the entirety of each event, and Graduate Division staff will use check-in and check-out data from Shoreline to cross-reference information entered by participants on the form. A digital copy of the certificate will be issued within one month of completion of the form.


Contact Shawn Warner, Director of Professional Development for the Graduate Division.