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

Visit this website for advice about preparing and practicing your video presentation. Read this file for tips 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.

Recording Assistance

For students who need a space to record their presentation video

Studio K at Watson Library

Studio K is a quick-record studio, designed so that any user can walk in and start recording a speech, demonstration or presentation within moments of arrival. Using the Kultura Capture software, videos are easy to make and save automatically to your MediaHub cloud service. You can bring a PowerPoint file which can display during the presentation. Studio K is located on the third floor of Watson Library and was developed in collaboration with KU IT.

Reservations to use the studio can be made through their website.

For students who will be recording on their own device

Use the tools available through KU: Zoom or Kaltura (MediaHub).

If students need any assistance in using these tools, they can contact the Media Production Studio at

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. The videos will be public.

Research Presentation Rules and Requirements:

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
    • Be recorded using either Kaltura or Zoom
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Video submissions must be made via URL format (a video link provided to Event Coordinators). You must record your video using either Zoom or Kaltura, and generate a link to the recording that you will use for your submission. Files sent in other formats will not be accepted. If you need any assistance in using these recording tools, contact the Media Production Studio at
  • Competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.
  • After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

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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