Three Minute Thesis Contest at the Expo

All master’s and doctoral graduate students are invited to compete in UC’s annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) contest, held during the Graduate Student Expo on Thursday, February 15, 2018

Registration for UC's 2018 3MT contest will open in November 2017.

The winner of the 3MT contest will receive a $100 award, which will be posted to his/her Catalyst student account. Second and third place will receive $75 and $50, respectively. 

The winner of UC’s 2018 Three Minute Thesis contest will be registered to compete in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ regional 3MT® competition. The MAGS 3MT competition will be held during the MAGS annual meeting in spring 2018.

What is a Three Minute Thesis?

First developed by The University of Queensland, Australia in 2008, the international Three Minute Thesis contest challenges students to summarize their research or scholarship for a nonspecialist audience using only three minutes of speech and a single PowerPoint slide.

Sample some of the best three minute theses by watching competition-winning 3MT presentations from around the globe

International Three Minute Thesis logo.

Competition Rules

  • 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) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. 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 adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

All presentations will be evaluated and scored using the following criteria, as established by the international competition.

Comprehension & 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 or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement & 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?