Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

About the Competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland. The exercise challenges master and doctoral students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and/or dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes. The first 3MT was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 students competing. 3MT is a competition that universities from around the world currently participate in.

Why Should You Compete?

Whether you are networking, interviewing for a job, or having a conversation at a party or gathering, you need to have an "elevator pitch" to describe your thesis or dissertation research.

3MT at Texas Woman's University

TWU's next 3MT competition will be held during the Spring 2018 semester--check back for specific dates/times.

Who Is Eligible to Participate

Only active masters and doctoral students that are currently writing their thesis or dissertation are eligible to participate.

Competition 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 (eg sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (eg costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Once a student begins his or her presentation, the clock begins to run. With 30 seconds to go, the timekeeper holds up a sign. A bell chimes at the end of the 3 minute period. At that time the presenter must stop. If a competitor breaks any of the competition rules, he or she will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria

At each level of the competition each competitor will be judged by a panel of judges using the judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • 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

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?

Communication

  • 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?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?

Each judge assigns the competitors a score of 1 through 10 for each of the three criteria. Once presentations are over, the judges' scores are combined and the student with the highest points tally is declared the winner. Additionally, the audience casts their own ballots to select a winner for the People's Choice Award.

Spring 2015 Three Minute Thesis Winners
Fall 2015 Three Minute Thesis Winners

Page last updated 10:49 AM, October 11, 2017