Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an internationally recognized competition that challenges PhD students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just 3 minutes, in language that anyone can understand. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research but requires students to consolidate their ideas, crystallize their research discoveries and capture the imagination of their audience.

3MT at CMU

Think you can describe your research and its importance in 3 minutes?

Who's eligible to compete: CMU doctoral candidates. Come one, come all.

Why compete: Meet peers from around CMU and hear about what they're doing. (Very) good chance to win travel grants or technology prizes and gain early career recognition.

What happens next? Start practicing. All 3MT registrants will be scheduled to compete in preliminary rounds (February & March). Prizes? $$$ or a new device.

Then what? CMU's 2017 3MT Championship. Winners of preliminary rounds will compete for $500-$3000 travel grants in the Three Minute Thesis Championship in April.

All rounds are open to the public to attend. Fast-paced research communication challenge—find out what our PhDs are working on.

  1. Only 1 single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  2. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  3. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  4. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  5. Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps or songs).
  6. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  7. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  8. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?

Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?

Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?

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?

Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?

Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?

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?

Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

The Public Communication for Researches offers additional workships, handouts, and resources for communicating about research.

The Global Communication Center has tutors who can provide advice and feedback on your presentation and ofers an online video series on a succinct, effective presentation.

Subject experts are always available to offer advice and assistance in your field.

Watch a prezi demo on how to present your thesis in 3 minutes 

Watch videos of winning presentations from around the world

How to Win the 3MT