A person standing at a podium speaks and gestures to a PowerPoint slide on a large screen. In front of him, the room is full of spectators listening to the talk.

Can you explain your research in 3 minutes? Find out by participating in the 2022-23 3MT® competition!

Three Minute Thesis

3MT® is an international research communication competition in which graduate students explain their research to a general audience. Students in research-based master’s and PhD programs from all disciplines are eligible to compete, and prizes will be awarded to the winners.

3MT Three Minute Thesis Founded by the University of Queensland logo

What to expect when you compete in the 3MT:

  • A person in business attire stands at a podium speaking to a crowd seated in an auditorium.
    Amy Enright, a Microbiology graduate student, speaks during the 2021-2022 Three Minute Thesis final competition on February 18, 2022, at the H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Discovery Building. Enright won second place and the people’s choice award in the competition. Photo by Todd Brown/Media Solutions.

    Preparation (4 to 7 hours)

  • Competition (2 to 5 hours)
    • Divisional semi-finals
    • Finals

Additionally, the winner of the finals will travel to Chicago to represent UW–Madison at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) regional 3MT® competition March 29-31, 2023.

Ready to compete? Sign up now >>

For Competitors

  • 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) is permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience?
  • 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 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?

Preparation for Competitors:
You’re Researching What? Crafting a 3-Minute Research Talk that Appeals to the Public

Thursday, October 6
4 – 5:15 pm
Online (Zoom)

Communicating your research to a non-specialist audience is an essential career skill, whether you’re preparing for job interviews, networking at a conference, or just trying to explain to family and friends what you do with your time. This online workshop, sponsored by the Writing Center and the Graduate School Office of Professional Development, will help graduate students from all disciplines to prepare an accessible, intriguing three-minute talk about their research.

Register for the workshop >>

Sponsors

Three Minute Thesis® is presented by The Madison Chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) and the Graduate School Office of Professional Development. Prizes are sponsored by Promega, Gilson, and Science is Fun in the Lab of Shakhashiri.

Millipore Sigma logo
GWIS Madison Chapter logo
UW Graduate School Office of Professional Development Logo
Promega logo
Gilson logo
BioForward logo

Past Competitions

Winners of the 2021-22 competition were:

1st Place: Nishant Verma
2nd Place & People’s Choice Award: Amy Enright
3rd Place: Bethany Dado-Senn

Watch their presentations below or on our YouTube channel.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

First Place: Nishant Verma

Second Place & People's Choice: Amy Enright

Third Place: Bethany Dado-Senn

3MT Three Minute Thesis Founded by the University of Queensland logoThe Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Learn more about the 3MT® at threeminutethesis.uq.edu.au.