Three Minute Thesis

Can you explain your research in 3 minutes? Find out by participating in the 2021-22 3MT® competition! 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.

Participants will first compete in divisional semi-final competitions, hosted from 4 pm to 6 pm on the following dates:

The top 5 contestants from each division will advance to the final competition, which will be hosted on Friday, February 18, 2022.

Registration for semi-finals is now closed.

What to expect when you compete in the 3MT:

  • Preparation (4 to 7 hours)
    • Read the rules, requirements, and judging criteria
    • Browse the resources in the Canvas site, which you’ll receive access to after registering
    • View example presentations
    • Attend or watch the video of the the Writing Center workshop “You’re Researching What? Crafting a 3-Minute Research Talk that Appeals to the Public” – available in Canvas (optional but encouraged)
    • Meet with a DesignLab consultant (optional but encouraged)
    • Create your slide, develop your presentation, and practice
  • Competition (2 to 5 hours)
    • Divisional semi-finals
    • Finals

Additionally, the winner of the finals will travel to Milwaukee to represent UW–Madison at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) regional 3MT® competition April 6-8, 2022.

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.

3MT Three Minute Thesis Founded by the University of Queensland logo
GWIS Madison Chapter logo
UW Graduate School Office of Professional Development Logo
Promega logo
Gilson logo
Science is Fun logo

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?

Past Competitions

Winners of the 2020-21 competition are:

1st Place: Claudia Ramly
2nd Place: Olivia Harwood
3rd Place: Katie Zarbock
People’s Choice Award: Lauren Bagwell

Watch their presentations below or on our YouTube channel.

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First Place: Claudia Ramly

Second Place: Olivia Harwood

Third Place: Katie Zarbock

People's Choice Award: Lauren Bagwell

The 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.