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AWARDS: Three Minute Thesis


What is Three Minute Thesis?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. The exercise challenges students to present a compelling oration on their thesis 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. 


Judging Criteria

Each competitor will be assessed on the following judging criteria by a panel of three judges. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience. 


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • A 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). 

  • 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 and 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. 

  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech. 

  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


Scoring and Awards

Each judge assigns competitors a score of 1 through 10 for each of the criteria. Once presentations are over, the judges' scores are combined and the student with the highest points tally is declared the winner. Additionally, the audience casts their own ballots to select a winner for the People's Choice Award. The winner and runner-up are both eligible to receive the People's Choice award. The winner will receive $100, the runner-up will receive $75, and the People’s Choice award receipt will receive $50. Awards will be presented at Friday’s luncheon.


How to Register

The Three Minute Thesis Competition will be held at the 2016 EERA Conference in Hilton Head Island during the Graduate Student Luncheon on Thursday, February 18, 2016. Any undergraduate or graduate student who is interested in participating should contact Dr. Beena Achhpal via email ( by Sunday, February 14, 2016.

3 minute thesis
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