Three Minute Thesis Application
Event Date: Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021
Time: Competition will begin 10 a.m.
Location: Virtual event
- 3MT presentations are timed; competitors who exceed the three minute time limit during the competition will be disqualified.
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted.
- The winner will receive a $1,000 award, which will be posted to their Catalyst student account. The prize for second place is $600, and third place receives $400, all via Catalyst.
- Please read virtual competition rules and judging criteria carefully before applying.
How to Apply
The application for the 2021 UC 3MT competition closed Sunday, December 6. We are not accepting additional applications.
All UC master's and doctoral students enrolled during the 2020-21 AY are eligible to participate. If you have taken or will take at least one graduate credit hour in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, you are eligible.
You will also need to upload a 30 second video as part of your 3MT application.
The application requires submission of a 30 second video, in which you introduce your research/scholarship and explain (briefly) why it makes a significant contribution to your discipline.
- The video should introduce your research/scholarship and explain (briefly) why it makes a significant contribution to your discipline.
- Your video will be evaluated on your ability to communicate your research, not on the production quality of the video. However, please make sure the audio is clear and easy to understand.
- For ideas on how to structure your video, view this video from the CIRM Elevator Pitch Challenge (medicine) or this excerpt from The University of Manchester's PhD Elevator Pitch Presentation (humanities) or this excerpt from the 30-second research presentations at AXA ResearchFundLive’s 2013 Pop Days (sciences).
- To protect your intellectual property, please upload your video to a private cloud storage folder such as DropBox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. You will enter the link to your video in the application form. Set the folder share permissions so that anyone with the link can access the video. Make sure your video is able to be viewed until December 23, 2020.
- The video need not be exactly 30 seconds, but should be in the 25-35 second range.
- Whether speaking or writing, use clear language that's accessible to a general audience, making sure to explain terminology and avoid jargon.
- Consider: would a graduate student on the other campus "get it"? For example, if you're a student in the College of Medicine (on the medical campus), would a student from DAAP (the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, on the west campus) understand in a basic sense what your research topic is about and why your research is important?
- Try running your 30 second speech or abstract by a friend or family member who is not familiar with your research. Do they "get it"?
- Your goal is to pique the reviewers' interest and make them want to hear your full three minute thesis! Make sure you are not just informative, but also engaging.
- The international 3MT website offers helpful advice in their 3MT virtual competitor guide for drafting, presenting, recording and editing the 3MT presentation. Much of this advise directly applies to the 30 second video for the application.
You will receive a notification by the end of the calendar year. All students who apply will be notified.
- Competitors must attend specialized training in early spring semester to further prepare for the 3MT. Multiple sessions will be offered on a variety of days and times, and competitors will sign up for their training on a first come, first serve basis. More information will be provided to those selected to compete.
- The winner of UC's 2021 Three Minute Thesis competition will be registered to compete in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools' regional 3MT competition. This virtual competition will be held in late March 2021.