Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a competition for graduate students to develop and showcase their research communication skills. Developed by The University of Queensland (AU) in 2008, 3MT® will be held for the second time at Missouri S&T this fall! 3MT® challenges students to present a compelling oration on their dissertation and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Entry Deadline: Friday, September 16, 2016.
3MT ® Preliminary and Semi-Final Rounds: Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 1:00PM-3:30PM, Havener Center
Final Round: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 3:30PM, MIssouri-Ozark, Havener Center

The public is invited to attend the competition sessions.

3MT® Eligibility*

Active graduate students at Missouri S&T are eligible to compete. Those who have successfully defended and those who have graduated are not eligible.

You MUST be available for the preliminary (Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 1:00PM), semi-final (Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 2:30PM), and final rounds (Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 3:30PM).

*Missouri S&T’s 3MT® competition is open to domestic and international graduate students. The presentation must be made in English.

Official 3MT® Rules*

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage (or front of the room).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

NOTE: When you are notified of your presentation time, you must re-confirm your participation AND submit your single PowerPoint slide for the competition. Failure to confirm or submit your slide by Wednesday, September 21, 2016 will result in disqualification.

Preliminary Rounds (Wednesday, October 5, 1PM)

  • The deadline for entering is Friday, September 16, 2016.
  • You will receive a confirmation of your application by Monday, September 19, 2016.
  • You must submit your slide by Wednesday, September 21, 2016.
  • You must re-confirm with the Missouri S&T 3MT® Committee by September 22, 2016.
  • The preliminary rounds will be taking place on October 5, 2016. You must make your presentation during your assigned date/time for the preliminary round. 
  • Wear professional (business) attire.
  • On the date(s) of the competition, check in at the registration table 30 minutes prior to your scheduled presentation time.
  • A timekeeper will notify you when it is your time to present. Move to the front of the room. When the judges are ready, the timekeeper will tell you that you may begin your presentation.
  • The timekeeper will stop you at exactly 3 minutes. If you exceed three minutes, you will be disqualified.
  • At the preliminaries, panels of judges will convene immediately after the preliminary rounds to make a decision and reveal the results. They will select the top twelve contestants to move forward to the semi-final round.

  Semi Final Round (Wednesday, October 5, 2:30PM)

  • If selected for the semi-final, you may not modify your slide. You must present during your assigned date/time for the semi-final event. Wear professional (business) attire.
  • On the date of the competition, check in at the registration table 30 minutes prior to your scheduled speaking time.
  • A timekeeper will notify you when it is your time to present. Move to the front of the room. When the judges are ready, the timekeeper will tell you that you may begin your presentation.
  • The timekeeper will stop you at exactly 3 minutes. If you exceed three minutes, you will be disqualified.
  • At the semi-final, a panel of judges will convene immediately after the round to make a decision and reveal the results. They will select the top six contestants to move forward to the final round.

 Final Round (Thursday, October 6, 3:30PM)

  • If selected for the final, you may not modify your slide. You must present during your assigned date/time for the final event.
  • Wear professional (business) attire.
  • On the date of the competition, check in at the registration table 30 minutes prior to your scheduled speaking time.
  • A timekeeper will notify you when it is your time to present. Move to the front of the room. When the judges are ready, the timekeeper will tell you that you may begin your presentation.
  • The timekeeper will stop you at exactly 3 minutes. If you exceed three minutes, you will be disqualified.
  • At the Final event, a new panel of judges will convene immediately after the round to make a decision and reveal the results. Plaques and prizes will be awarded to the top contestant, runner up, and the People's Choice award. The Missouri S&T 3MT® winner will become eligible to represent Missouri S&T at regional and national competitions, expenses paid. 

Official 3MT® Judging Criteria

Two criterion are used at every level of the competition. Please be aware that each of these criterion are equally weighted. 

Criterion 1: Comprehension & Content

  • 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?
  • 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 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?

 Criterion 2: Engagement & Communication

  • 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?
  • 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?

Who can be a Judge?

To provide each student with a similar experience, we have selected judges from all walks of life: professors, parents, business leaders, and community members, varying in age, gender, profession and discipline.

Missouri S&T 3MT® Prizes

First Place will receive a plaque and $300. The first place contestant will become eligible to represent Missouri S&T at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual conference in April, 2017. Travel expenses will be paid for by the University. 

Runner-up will receive a plaque and $200.

People's Choice will receive a plaque and a $100.

How to Enter the Missouri S&T 3MT® Competition

1. Complete the registration form  
2. Attend one of the MANDATORY orientation sessions.
3. Attend a practice session (optional).
4. Submit your one PowerPoint slide as "Widescreen (16:9)" to struckhoffs@mst.edu by Wednesday, September 21, 2016.
5. When notified of your presentation time, confirm with the 3MT® committee by September 22, 2016.

NOTE: After you are notified of your presentation time, you MUST confirm your participation by 11:59pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Failing to do this will result in your disqualification from the competition.

What does it take to win 3MT®? 

First, understand that the Missouri S&T 3MT® presentation will be scored by the judges on two criterion, comprehension/content, and engagement/communication.

Strategy: Explain the judging criterion to your family and friends when you practice. Ask them to rate your presentation.

Second, in a 3MT® competition, what you say matters, but how you deliver your message will be the key to winning.  

Strategy: Critique presentations designed for public viewing. Some winning 3MT® presentations can be found here. What successful characteristics stand out to you about these presentations?

  • How did the speaker capture the attention of the audience?
  • What tone, volume, and tempo is the speaker using? Is it effective in keeping the attention of the audience? 
  • Observe: How did the speaker use eye contact, hand gestures and/or body movement to emphasize points?
  • How did the single slide serve to enhance the presentation?  

How did the speaker make the research both meaningful and memorable for the audience?  

Missouri S&T 3MT® Orientation (Mandatory)

Note: You MUST attend one of these orientation sessions. 

Monday, September 19, 2016, 12-1 PM                       
Toomey 140

 OR        

Tuesday, September 20,  5-6 PM
Toomey 140

Practice Session

Monday, September 26, 2016, 9:00 AM-Noon by appointment only.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM by appointment only.

To reserve a time, email struckhoffs@mst.edu. Sign-up sheets will also be available at the orientation sessions.

Students who attend a practice session will have the option of editing their slide with a submission date/time of Friday, September 30, 2016 at 8am. 

Competition Rounds

Preliminary. (Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 1PM)
Location: Havener Center

Semi-finals. (Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 2:30PM) 
Location: Havener Center

Final. (Thursday, October 6, 2016, 3:30PM) 
Location: Missouri-Ozark, Havener Center

The public is invited to attend the competition sessions.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. The exercise challenges graduate student candidates to present a compelling oration on their thesis (dissertation) topic and its significance in just three minutes.

3MT® develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

3MT® History

The first 3MT® was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 RHD students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT® competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT® competition was held at UQ in 2010.

Since 2011 the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT® competitions are now held in over 170 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

In November 2013, the first Universities 21 (U21) 3MT® competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition.

The Council of Graduate Schools is encouraging US institutions to host 3MT® competitions. Several SEC universities, including Missouri S&T, sponsor 3MT® events.

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