Three Minute Thesis

Fall 2020 Competition

The Fall competition will be held over Zoom.  We will hold three first-round heats, from 12-1pm on Tuesday, Nov. 10; Wednesday, Nov. 11; and Thursday, Nov. 12.  The top competitors from each heat will advance to the finals, which will take place from 12-1pm on Thursday, Nov. 19.  All sessions will be open to the SMU community and will be recorded.  Registration is open until October 30.  Space is limited.

Register Here!

Overview

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by graduate students.  Developed by the University of Queensland and utilized at universities all over the world, 3MT cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills.  The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

Eligibility

Currently enrolled master's and doctoral students in all disciplines will be eligible to participate in 3MT.  Work must have been conducted at SMU.  

Note: Students who competed in previous SMU 3MT competitions are eligible to participate again if they did not win a prize.

Prizes 

First Place: $800

Second Place: $400

People's Choice: $400

Rules

  • 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) is permitted. 
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted. 
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three 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 judging panel is final. 

Judging Criteria

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

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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?

Engagement and 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? 

Previous Competitions

 Fall 2019

Winner: Alison Krauss, Psychology (video)

Runner Up (tie): Shuang Jiang, Statistical Science (video), and Elie Salameh, Mechanical Engineering (video)

People's Choice: Faris Altamimi, Civil and Environmental Engineering (video)

Spring 2019

Winner and People's Choice: Niraj Verma, Chemistry (video)

Runner Up: Tetiana Hutchison, Biology (video)

Second Runner Up: Francesco Trozzi, Chemistry (video)

Spring 2018

Winner: Aditi Malu, Biology

Runner Up: Benjamin Williams, Statistical Science

People's Choice (tie): Yulan Bai, EMIS, and Aditi Malu, Biology

Photos from the 2018 3MT Competition