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 in prizes and the opportunity to compete in the Ivy competition, the Northeastern (U.S. and Canadian) competition, and to showcase your research at the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting? 
3MT is an annual competition sponsored by the Cornell Graduate School. All enrolled doctoral students at the research stage (with at least some results to share) are eligible. The 2024 competition is scheduled to take place in February-March 2024. 

Read about the students who presented in the 2023 Cornell 3MT Finals.

Email with any questions.

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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 Graduate School expects to host its ninth 3MT competition final round on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Video submissions for the preliminary round will be due in late February or early March 2024, and will reviewed by a panel of volunteer judges to select the finalists. 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


  • 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, email