3 Minute Thesis





The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that assists current graduate students with fostering effective presentation and communication skills. Participants have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research project to a non-specialist audience.

3MT was developed by The University of Queensland in 2008, and is now held in more than 600 universities in 59 countries around the world.

Master’s and Doctoral students enrolled at UNC from any discipline administered by The Graduate School are welcome to register and participate in the competition. All are welcome to serve as audience members throughout the competition’s preliminary and final rounds.

  • First place – $1000 and trip to compete in regional 3MT competition – February 2018
  • Second place – $600
  • People’s choice – $400

October 2, 20173MT Information Session. 3:00-4:00pm. Graduate Student Center, 211A West Cameron Ave. (not required to participate in the competition but strongly recommended). REGISTER:http://tinyurl.com/y7cwhofk

October 3, 20173MT Information Session. 1:00-2:00pm. Graduate Student Center, 211A West Cameron Ave. (not required to participate in the competition but strongly recommended). REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/yc63ng3x

October 23 and 25, Preliminary rounds. 3:00-4:30pm at the Graduate Student Center, 211A West Cameron Ave.
REGISTER by October 17, 2017 to participate in the competition here: http://tinyurl.com/ybj47fwn

November 1, 2017, Final 3MT Competition.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Rules and Eligibility


2016 Winners included:

  • First Place: Patrick Lang (cell biology and physiology,) – Improving the treatment of childhood brain cancer
  • Second Place: Shannon Blakey (psychology and neuroscience) – The harm of just in case: the paradoxical effect of safety aids on anxiety
  • People’s Choice: Nancy Quick (speech and hearing sciences) – A multi-linguistic analysis of spelling errors


Judging Criteria
At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

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?

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?