Elevate Your Research with the 3MT Competition!

Research spelled out in block letters

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College 

Engaging graduate students in the vibrant world of research, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the University of Cincinnati stands as a pinnacle for academic communication and presentation. 

Insights from The Graduate College’s Caitie Norrie, program manager for professional development, and Jordan Crawley, professional development graduate assistant, shed light on the significance of the 3MT challenge for aspiring participants. 

Understanding 3MT

Seize the moment and unleash your potential in three minutes! “The University of Cincinnati's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges students to summarize their research or scholarship for a non-specialist audience using only three minutes of speech and a single PowerPoint slide,” notes Caitie, emphasizing the succinct yet impactful nature of the contest. “Anyone enrolled in at least one graduate college credit hour can compete! Students can be in a master’s, PhD, JD, MD, or professional degree,” she adds. “We encourage anyone who has something they are researching that they are passionate about, no matter the phase you are in your research!”

Why Participate?

Jordan remarks, “3MT is the perfect avenue for networking, getting your name and work out there, and resume building! The competition aspect of 3MT provides a great incentive for getting your work done to try to win those big prizes.” Beyond prizes of $1,000 for the first-place winner, $750 for second place, $500 for third place, and a people's choice winner, who will receive $1,000, the challenge fosters growth and communication skills enhancement.  “Participating in 3MT offers students a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development, helping them build communication skills, engage with diverse audiences, and prepare for future academic and professional endeavors.” says Caitie.

Navigating the Process

Registration is open until Friday, January 19th. Students wishing to participate must register for the 2024 Three Minute Thesis Competition and submit their static slide to The Graduate College will also be hosting a few workshops and working groups to help students iron out the details of their presentations during the first weeks of January. This info will be sent after registration and will be included in all info packets as well. The registration form and the slide do not have to be submitted together.

Benefitting Yourself and Your Peers

“Besides the obvious resume building, 3MT is a terrific opportunity to network with other graduate students and researchers and improve your understanding of your own research and scholarship,” Jordan says. “As someone who is interested in and has completed my own research, I would use 3MT to elevate my work and learn how to communicate it effectively to general audiences. When you are so excited, interested, and specialized in something, it can be difficult to articulate the broad strokes of your ideas to people who come from different disciplines. 3MT offers students a chance to really hone this skill in a way that is transferrable to any future job, particularly those in academia.”

Advice for the Ambivalent

“Worried about the workload? You’ve already done the heavy lifting; at some point in the past, you have developed your research, and you know what you want to communicate with the world. Now, the challenge is about learning how to tell a story with your research,” Jordan assures. “The Graduate College hosts workshops, drop-in and work group sessions, and coaching sessions to help you dedicate your time and learn from experts how to best present your projects," she adds, encouraging students to leverage available support. “Ultimately, go for it! Students can participate regardless of which stage they are in of their research. It is completely free to participate, and it is a great chance to grow as a researcher and scholar.”

A Final Encouragement

Caitie's parting words resonate as an invitation: “3MT stands as a platform for growth, offering you a chance to refine presentation skills and showcase research prowess.”

There’s still time to submit! Unlock your communication prowess, network with peers, and propel your academic endeavors forward! For more information visit the Three Minute Thesis Competition website or register via this form.