2023 Cornell 3MT Competition Announced

Elvis Cao competes in the 2017 3MT

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, Ph.D. '21, presents during a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

February 27, 2023

By Katya Hrichak

Are you a Cornell doctoral student who has research results to share? Can you present those findings to a general audience in just three minutes?

Cornell doctoral students who have carried out research for their thesis or dissertation are invited to participate in Cornell’s 2023 Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT). The 3MT challenges research doctoral 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 with the aid of only one, static slide.

“The 3MT is a great opportunity for students to practice their public communication,” said Kathryn Boor, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education. “In addition to speaking in front of an audience, participants are encouraged to distill complicated research succinctly and simply—skills that will benefit them during their time as students as well as in their future careers.”

Members of the Graduate School’s Career and Professional Development team will be hosting a virtual information session on Monday, March 6 at 11 a.m. for students who would like to learn more about this year’s competition. The session will include an overview of the 3MT registration, submission, and competition process as well as time to address questions from participants. The session will be recorded for anyone unable to attend live, but attending the information session is not required.

Students interested in participating in the competition will receive details about submitting their PowerPoint slide and video recording upon completing the registration form. Preliminary round submissions are due Monday, March 13 at 12 p.m. and will be judged by a panel of Cornell staff according to the rubric on the Cornell 3MT webpage.

Selected finalists will be invited to compete in a live round on Thursday, March 30 over Zoom, with a panel of judges with connections to the Cornell community. Finalists will compete for a total of $2,500 in prizes and the opportunity to compete in the Ivy+ and Northeastern (U.S. and Canada) competition and showcase their research at the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting.

Throughout the process, Executive Director for the Graduate School’s Careers Beyond Academia Susi Varvayanis will offer individual coaching for interested 3MT participants.

“It is such important skill development to practice answering the eternal question, ‘Why is this important?’ about your research in a way that would be accessible to anyone, whether a grant funder, someone interested in hiring you, or a potential colleague you are talking to in line at a conference,” said Colleen McLinn, associate dean for professional development. “Honing in on the ‘why’ motivation can help you talk more coherently about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ as well.”

Learn more about the 3MT and register to participate. Email questions to grad3mt@cornell.edu.