Three Minute Thesis

Fancy hearing an 80,000 word thesis explained in less than 180 seconds? Come out to this year’s Annual Three Minute Thesis and enjoy some Howling Cow ice cream! Audience is open to the public!

The 2016 Three Minute Thesis competition has concluded. Check back next year!

Overview

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an international research communication competition. The exercise challenges PhD students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT® develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Cash prizes are awarded to first- and second-place winners and to a “People’s Choice” winner, chosen by audience members. See the 2015 winners and finalists!

Eligibility

Active PhD candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate. Alumni are not eligible.

CASH PRIZES!

1st Place $1,000 | 2nd Place $750 | People’s Choice $500

Competitor Information

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 October 4 and 5 2016 for the required preliminary rounds.

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

More Resources and Examples

Example 3 MT Winners from the University of Queensland

How to Talk About your Thesis in Three Minutes

NC State’s 2015 3MT Winners