Three Minute Thesis

3 Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis® is an international competition in which graduate students explain their thesis research to a general audience. Students in research-based master’s and PhD programs from all disciplines are eligible to compete. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 3 contestants and the People’s Choice Award recipient.

Three Minute Thesis® is presented by The Madison Chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) and the Graduate School Office of Professional Development.

2020-2021 Competition

Can you explain your research in 3 minutes? Find out by participating in the 2020-21 3MT® competition!

This year’s competition will be held virtually, and students will pre-record their presentations for judges. 3MT® is open to students in research-based master’s and PhD programs from all disciplines. For more information about this year’s virtual format and how to enter the competition, join the 3MT Canvas course.

Contact sknott2@wisc.edu with questions.

Timeline

Competitors will be required to submit a title and brief description of their 3MT® talk through Canvas by Oct. 6.

Final submissions for the semifinal round will be due on Nov. 8, and finalists will be announced on Nov. 20.

Finalists may improve and resubmit their presentations in January if they choose, and the winners of the 3MT® finals will be announced in a live event on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  • Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the School/ Faculty/Institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

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 trivialise or generalise 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

Watch videos of the winning presentations from the 2019 competition:

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First Place: Anne Jamison, "Costly conflict? Political violence and Foreign Direct Investment"

Second Place: Allison Ludwig, "Toward enhancing organization and defining synaptic connectivity of human stem cell-derived photoreceptors"

Third Place: Mario Cribari, "Putting Enzymes to Work: Using Chemical Biology to Combat Plastic Waste"

People's Choice: Kaivalya Molugu, "Identifying Stem Cells without killing them"