The Three Minute Thesis Competition
An 80,000 word Ph.D. thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit...3 minutes.
Special thanks to our sponsor RiverStone for supporting this event.
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.
We’re hosting our 8th annual 3MT competition this academic year in March (see schedule below), and we are excited to do this in person again! The 2022 competition was a smashing success and we can't wait to see what our new and returning participants bring in 2023. To help students prepare for the 3MT we offer a workshop series that will guide students through the whole process-- developing the talk, creating the slide, and practicing the presentation. More information about the workshop series and registration for the 2023 competition is coming soon!
2023 3MT Practice Round:
- Who: Open to all graduate students (space limited)
- When: TBD, we will partner with Seacoast Sips of Science
- Where: Durham - location to be announced
- Registration: TBD
2023 3MT First Round:
- Who: Open to all graduate students (spaces limited)
- When: 3-5pm March 7th and 8th
- Where: MUB Theater I
- Registration: TBD
- Note: Students must be available for one of the first round dates as well as the final round
2023 3MT Final Round (Followed by Reception):
- Who: Top 12 students from first round advance
- When: 3-5 p.m. March 30th (followed by reception)
- Where: MUB Theater II
The Graduate School faciliates a workshop series designed to help prepare you for the 3MT competition. From brainstorming your presentation content to honing your public speaking skills, these workshops guide you through all the necessary steps for a successful 3MT. More information on the workshop series and registering for the 2023 competition will be available soon!
- 1st place: Sathya Jagadeesan, PhD student in Chemical Engineering
- 2nd place: Nikolai Matukhno, Master's Student in Mechanical Engineering
- 3rd place & People’s Choice Award: Nick Pollak, PhD candidate in Chemistry
- 1st place: David Heit, Msc Wildlife and Conservation Biology
- 2nd place: Via D'Agostino, MFA Fiction Writing
- 3rd place: Hannah Lightcap, PhD Psychology
- People’s Choice Award: Jess Flarity, PhD English Literature
2020 - See all participants here
- 1st place: Jordan Pierce, MS Oceanography
- 2nd place: Allison Giannotti, PhD Composition & Rhetoric
- 3rd place: Isaiah Paolo Atienza Lee, PhD Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology
- People’s Choice Award: Danial Mirzaiyanrajeh, PhD Civil & Environmental Engineering
- People’s Choice Runner Up: Kerry Dykens, MS Oceanography
- 1st place: Sidney Birch, PhD Molecular & Evolutionary Systems Biology
- 2nd place & People’s Choice Award: Zane Relethford, PhD Chemistry
- 3rd place: Katherine Ineson, PhD NRESS
- 1st place: Jovana Milosavljevic Ardeljan, PhD Education
- 2nd place: Devon O'Rourke, PhD Molecular and Evolution Systems Biology
- 3rd place & People’s Choice Award: Kaitlyn Belknap, M.S. Genetics
- 1st place: Drummond Biles, PhD, Mechanical Engineering
- 2nd place: Meagan Wengrove, PhD Ocean Engineering
- 3rd place: Ryan Stevens, PhD Natural resources
- People’s Choice Award: Rev. Holland Prior, MFA Creative Nonfiction
- People’s Choice Runner Up: Jovana Milosavljevic Ardeljan, PhD Education
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations, or "movement" of any description are allowed. 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, etc.) 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 to commence from the front of the theater.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
3 Minute Thesis presentations are judged using the following criteria:
Comprehension and Content
- 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, key results and research significance and outcomes 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 so that other aspects of the presentation felt rushed?
Engagement and Communication
- 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?
- 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?