Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a competition for doctoral students to develop and showcase their research communication skills.


3MT Competition

Could you present your 80,000 word thesis or dissertation in three minutes? Do you want the excitement of competing with other graduate students for $2,500 and the opportunity to compete in the Ivy competition, the Northeastern (U.S. and Canada) competition, and showcase your research at the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting? 
 
3MT is an annual competition sponsored by the Cornell Graduate School. All doctoral students who have completed their research are eligible (i.e., who have some results to share). Read about the 2022 3MT winners and watch recordings of the presentations.

Interested in participating?  Complete this form to be notified when the next 3MT competition is scheduled.

Email grad3mt@cornell.edu with any questions.


All newly created videos on this website are accessible. Closed captions are available for the video on this page, and selecting the option to watch in YouTube will provide a transcript for the video. For an accommodation for this archival video, please contact webaccessibility@cornell.edu.

The first 3MT was held at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 with 160 graduate students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its adoption by numerous universities led to the development of an international competition in 2010. Today students from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hong Kong take part in their own regional and national events.

Cornell will host its seventh 3MT competition in Spring 2022. 3MT challenges research degree students to present a compelling story on their dissertation or thesis and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

In addition to first place and second place winners from among the eight finalists, audience members are asked to select a People’s Choice Award.


3MT Resources

Rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any kind; 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.
  • Zoom backgrounds are considered props. Please ensure your background is a blank screen or wall.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when presenters start their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

Each of the judging criteria has equal weight. Note what each criterion has in common: An emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide a clear background and significance to the research question?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the conclusions, outcomes, and impact of the research?

Engagement and Communication

  • Was the oration delivered clearly, and in language appropriate for a non-specialist audience?
  • Was the PowerPoint slide clear and did it enhance the presentation?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research, and capture and maintain the audience’s attention?

For more information about the Cornell competition, contact Jan Allen (Jan.Allen@cornell.edu) or grad3mt@cornell.edu.