3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Three Minute Thesis header

The 3 Minute Thesis Competition

An 80,000 word Ph.D. thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit...3 minutes.

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.

Check out the video to the right for a look into the 3MT experience or go to the UNH Grad School YouTube Channel for more 3MT presentation videos.


3MT Sponsor

The 3 Minute Thesis is going online—April 27, 3-5pm! Another great avenue for graduate research—our annual 3-Minute Thesis competition. This year, we’re holding it live via Zoom, where we’ll watch pre-recorded 3MT presentations and choose winners with the help of our guest judges. There is no need to register if you’ve already done so, but for those who are interested in presenting a 3MT, our registration will be open until April 20, 5pm. Register here.

Congratulations to the 2020 3MT Winners!

three minute thesis winners 2020

20 participants competed in the UNH Graduate School's fourth annual 3 Minute Thesis competition, held on April 27, 2020. Pictured, left to right: Jordan Pierce, MS Oceanography, 2020 1st Place; Allison Giannotti, PhD Composition & Rhetoric, 2nd Place; Isaiah Paolo Atienza Lee, PhD Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology, 3rd Place; Danial Mirzaiyanrajeh, PhD Civil & Environmental Engineering, People’s Choice; Kerry Dykens, MS Oceanography, People's Choice Runner-Up.

2020 Competition

2020 3MT Practice Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students
  • When: March 10, 2020
  • Where: TBD
  • Registration: March 1

2020 3MT First Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students (spaces limited)
  • When: 3-5 p.m. March 30 and 31
  • Where: MUB Theater 1
  • Registration: Closes March 15
  • Note: Students must be available for one of the first round dates as well as the final round

2020 3MT Final Round:

  • Who: Top 12 students from first round advance
  • When: 3-5 p.m. April 27
  • Where: MUB Theater II
  • 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?