Three Minute Thesis

An 80,000 word Ph.D. thesis would take 9 hours to present. Your time limit… 3 minutes.  Your prize…up to $1000!

The Graduate School seeks contestants for our 5th annual Three Minute Thesis on October 29, 2019 from 3-5 pm in Hunt Library’s Duke Energy Hall. Founded at the University of Queensland,  3MT® is your opportunity hone your capacity to effectively explain your research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Participating in 3MT® will help you develop skills for teaching, pitching an idea to business investors, or communicating your research to the media and policymakers.

Plus, cash prizes will be awarded to first- place ($1000),  second-place winners ($750) and to a “People’s Choice” winner chosen by audience members ($500).

See videos and other information from past winners and finalists:
2018 winners and finalists
2017 winners and finalists
2016 winners and finalists
2015 winners and finalists

10 Contestants! 3 Minutes! Up to $1000!

How to Get Involved: Competitor Information

Eligibility

Active graduate students — both Ph.D. and master’s students. Ph.D. candidates must have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation in order to participate. Master’s candidates should be in at least their second year of their program and have made significant progress on their research thesis. Alumni are not eligible.

Information Session Workshops

If you want to compete in  3MT®, you must participate in one of our information session workshop held on September 11, September 13, or September 16. Click the links to sign up for these information sessions. The information sessions present crucial information on preparing a 3MT speech and an opportunity to get feedback on your speech from facilitators who may be judges in the Preliminary Rounds.  Only workshop participants will be invited to sign up for the Preliminary Rounds. 

Preliminary Rounds

Preliminary Rounds (Prelims) will be held on October 8, 9, and 10.  All participants in prelims will receive feedback from the judges, and the top 10 finalists will advance to the final 3MT® on October 29.

Questions? Please contact Katie Homar.

3MT Competition Rules and Scoring

Presentation Requirements and Guidelines

  • 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.
  • The PowerPoint must be NC State brand. Click here for template.
  • 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 (e.g. 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.
  • All competitors must be available for the required preliminary round and participate in one of two workshops (dates to be announced soon).

Rubric

Click the links below for the official 3MT® Rubric.

  • 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?

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise 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?

Videos

Slides

Slide for 2015 NCSU winner; Haritha Malladi

Slide from 2015 finalist, Doreen McVeigh