The Three Minute Thesis Competition: Graduate Student Expo

A student presents her research at the Three Minute Thesis competition.

Are you a master’s or doctoral graduate student? Do you want to showcase your research or scholarship while competing in a fun and prestigious event? Sign up for the 2018 Graduate Student Expo, Thursday February 15th in the TUC Great Hall from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Expo, which is an adjudicated university-wide event, consists of three main competitions: the Three Minute Thesis, the Poster Forum, and the Creative Arts Gallery.

Graduate students from all disciplines across the university are invited and encouraged to participate, and registration is free. Typically somewhere between 100 and 125 graduate students partake in the annual event, speed-explaining their research in a mini-performance that is the Three Minute Thesis, showcasing the logistics of their studies tangibly and orally in the Poster Forum, and presenting creative works in the Creative Arts Gallery.

The Three Minute Thesis, or the 3MT, is perhaps the star event of the expo. It was originally developed at The University of Queensland in 2008 and is now held in over 600 universities and institutions worldwide (63 different countries, to be exact). The exercise is simple yet intricately unique: students are asked to summarize their research for an audience in both entertaining and understandable language—in other words, how can you best explain your research in a mere three minutes, just 180 seconds? And not just a simple explanation, but a performance of sorts. Be concise but not boring, be thorough but not dragging, be accurate yet endearing.

The value in the Expo is staggering, and it is this:

Not only will you receive constructive discipline-specific feedback, but you will find ample opportunities to explain your research in refreshing and new ways. You will improve your resume and speaking skills (especially in terms of science communication), gaining the ability to explain your research in both a professional yet easily understandable language.

The professional development aspects of this event are endless, and regardless of all these things, who would pass up an excuse to talk about their research among other passionate grad students and faculty? It’s a no brainer.

The winner of the 3MT competition will receive a $300 award and will be registered to compete in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ regional 3MT® competition. For the UC winner, travel expenses will be paid by UC as they advance through the international competition.

Second and third place will receive $200 and $100, respectively.

Again, registration is free. All UC master’s and doctoral graduate students are invited and encouraged to participate in the 2018 Graduate Student Expo, Thursday February 15th in the TUC Great Hall from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Written by Danniah Daher, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office