3MT (3 Minute Thesis)
3 Minute Thesis Competition
What is 3MT®?
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ). Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or “dumbing down” research, but rather challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries to present concisely to a non-specialist audience.
Whether you're trying to raise capital, cold call or network, it's essential to have an elevator pitch, especially when describing your research. 3MT® is a competition that helps graduate students develop their verbal communication skills and helps all people understand the importance of research and how it positively affects our lives. Students, you have 3 minutes to content, clarity, and cash. Ready, set, go…
3MT® is a competition that challenges graduate students to present a compelling verbal presentation of their thesis /dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT® develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of graduate students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a public audience.
3MT® is not an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down' research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystalize their research discoveries.
Students compete by presenting their thesis/dissertation topic in three minutes or less. Competitions are judged by a panel comprised of a diverse group of professionals (academic and non-academic) with a wide range of expertise. Watch 3MT Showcase.
Watch Sam Houston's own, Dr. Erica Pasquini, People's Choice award winning 3MT presentation at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Why participate in 3MT®?
By competing in the 3MT® competition at Sam Houston State University, graduate students have the opportunity to sharpen their communication skills, promote their field of research to the campus and the general public, and help all people understand the importance of research and how it positively impacts their lives.
The winners will be awarded cash prizes from the Graduate School and graduation regalia credit (full master's coverage or master's credit towards doctoral) courtesy of the Vice President for Student Affairs Office.
- Grand Champion: $1,000 and credit towards graduation regalia
- Runner Up: $750 and credit towards graduation regalia
- People's Choice Award: $500 and credit towards graduation regalia
- The top twelve finalists will receive $100 courtesy of the Vice President for Student Affairs Office.
*Prize money greater than $100 will post to the student’s SHSU account in the form of a scholarship. If the student has an outstanding balance, the scholarship will be applied towards that balance. Any remaining funds from the scholarship will then be credited to the student’s billing account.
- Grand Champion: $1,000 and credit towards graduation regalia
When and where do I compete?
The Graduate School at Sam Houston State University’s 2020 3 Minute Thesis Competition will be in a hybrid format. The preliminary round will be completely virtual with a video submission of your presentation. The final round will be in-person on the Huntsville campus on April 5, 2021. The top participants and one people's choice winner from each event will advance to the finals dependent upon final participant numbers.
2021 Competition Dates
April 5, 2021- Huntsville Campus
Must be registered by: February 15th
Approval of your 3MT Presentation Slide by: February 18th
Preliminary Round Video Submission by: February 22nd
Finalists Announced: March 2nd
Final Competition (in person): April 5th
Rules and Eligibility
Virtual Competition Rules:
• Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be 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.
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.
In Person Competition Rules
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide will 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 his or her presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
Once a student begins his or her presentation, the clock begins to run. The timekeeper will hold up a warning sign. A bell chimes at the end of the 3-minute period. If a competitor continues to speak after the bell chimes, he or she is disqualified from the competition.
- Student must be enrolled in master's or doctoral level classes for the semester of competition.
- Working on major project, capstone, thesis or dissertation research with some preliminary data complete
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?
- 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?
– Please note: The judging panel will not judge the presentation based on the video/recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate re-search to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide. – People’s Choice element - number of votes received (via link survey on The Graduate School website). – Winners announced online and via social media and will be notified via email.
Come learn about the ins and outs of the 3MT Competition. All sessions will be held in person. Individual info sessions can be scheduled with Whitney here.
October 12th @ 4pm
October 20th @ 12am
Spring 2022 Dates TBD
3 Minute Thesis Presentations
- Preliminary Presenters & Presentations