Three Minute Thesis Presentation Resources

Three Minute Thesis Competition

This webpage has resources to help graduate students competing in the Three Minute Thesis competition prepare their research presentation. There are two aspects of presenting: (1) the oral, spoken presentation of research and (2) the PowerPoint file displayed behind the student while delivering the oral, spoken presentation.

Advice and Examples of Presentations

Read this file of advice on preparing and practicing your presentation and this file on making the most out of your presentation.

Watch the presentations of previous competition winners.

Read the eligibility, rules, requirements, and evaluation criteria (see below) and apply them to your presentation.

Eligibility of Research

• A student’s 3MT® presentation topic must cover an original research project that is being conducted as part of the student's graduate program. (A student’s graduate program need not require a thesis or dissertation, though.)
• Students may not give a presentation on research completed as an undergraduate or research completed at another institution.
• Students are not required to have reached a particular stage in their research, but those who have achieved significant progress in their research are likely to be more competitive.
• If presenting research that includes sensitive or proprietary information, students should seek approval from their advisor or principal investigator before applying to participate in the competition.

Research Presentation Rules and Requirements:

• One single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted.
• No slide transitions, animations, or movement of any of the slide content are permitted.
• No additional electronic media are permitted (e.g. sound and video files).
• No additional props are permitted. (e.g. notecards, scripts, pointers, costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment)
• Presentations are to be spoken word only; no poems, raps, or songs are permitted.
• Presentations are live and in-personal; no pre-recorded or remotely transmitted presentations are permitted (e.g. Skype or Facetime).
• Presentations are to commence from the stage.
• Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter begins through movement or speech.
• Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
• No questions, comments, or conversations are allowed between presenting students, judges, and the audience, whether before, during, or after the student’s presentation.
• Presentations are evaluated by the Presentation Judging Criteria.
• The decisions of the judges are final and not negotiable.

Presentation Judging Criteria

Judges are educated professionals in a variety of positions in corporate, government, and non-profit industries. Judges will use a 1-10 scale (1 is worst, 10 is best) for two categories that are added together to produce a presenter’s score (20 is highest possible score). Judges’ scores for each presenter are averaged and those with the highest average in the Heats move on to the Finals. The Finals will use the same evaluation scale process, and the person with the highest average receives the first place award while the person with the second-highest average receives the second place award. Also, in the Finals the audience will vote to determine the People’s Choice award (this person may also win the first or second place award). The two categories of presentation evaluation and their criteria are:

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 trivialise or generalise 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?


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