Three Minute Thesis Competition

An 80,000-word thesis would take nine hours to present in full. Their time limit … 3 minutes.

The 3MT® competition celebrates graduate student research. The challenge is presenting their research and its significance, in terms anyone can understand and in only three minutes.

The competition was developed by The University of Queensland in 2008. On February 4, 2015, the NDSU Graduate School hosted its first Three Minute Thesis competition with 25 participants. Since then, we've had over 200 graduate students showcase their research for staff, faculty, fellow students, and community leaders.

 

Eligibility

Participants must be degree-seeking graduate students registered for one or more credits in Spring 2023 who have submitted the registration form by the posted deadline.

Competition Registration

Registration form
Registration closes January 13, 2023
Preliminary round video submission deadline January 20, 2023
Preliminary round winners notified February 9, 2023
Live Championship Round February 16, 2023

 

Participant Information

Eligibility Criteria

  • Degree-seeking graduate student
  • Registered for one or more credits in Spring 2023
  • Completed registration form submitted before deadline

Why participate?

Participation in 3MT involves more than just communicating. Participants can network with faculty, other graduate students, and community members. To prepare for the competition, participants can join workshops to improve delivery and content.

  • Showcase your research and its impact on the world
  • Refine important skills
  • Increase confidence as communicator
  • Boost to your C.V.

How does 3MT work?

The 3MT has two rounds, (1) preliminary rounds and (2) a championship round. The winners of the preliminary rounds advance to the championship round.

Preliminary Rounds

The 3MT begins with a preliminary round that has five groups of competitors. Competitors are randomly assigned to one of the five groups. For the preliminary round, each competitor submits a 3-minute video presentation of their research. The video can include one static image (PowerPoint slide or other graphic).

The Grad School sends the submitted videos to a panel of judges, and each preliminary ground has its own panel. The judges include NDSU faculty, NDSU graduate students, and Fargo community members. The judges evaluate the videos based on comprehension of the subject matter, content of the presentation, engagement with the audience, and communication skills.

Each preliminary round winner will receive $250 and advance to the live championship round. The championship round is open to the public.

Championship Round

The championship round will happen in-person at the Anishinaabe Theater, NDSU Memorial Union. Similar to the preliminary rounds, a panel of judges will evaluate the presentations using the same criteria as the preliminary rounds (comprehension of the subject matter, content of the presentation, engagement with the audience, and communication skills). The Championship round will have a panel of judges who did not evaluate the preliminary videos – they will see the presentations for the first time at the Anishinaabe Theater.

The winner of the championship round will be the 2023 3MT Champion, receive $1,000 (in addition to the $250 from the preliminary round prize for a total of $1250!), advance to the Western Association of Graduate Schools Regional 3MT Competition! NDSU will pay the travel and hotel expenses to compete at the WAGS competition.

 

Want a chance to be a champion? Complete the registration form.

If you have questions about 3MT, contact the Grad School at ndsu.gsa@ndsu.edu.

 

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience

Comprehension and Content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question;
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research; and
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

 

Engagement and Communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience;
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation; and
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

 

Rules

Preliminary Video Round

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are 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 from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
  • 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.
  • 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 judging panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format

 

Championship Round

  • 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.
  • 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 considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.