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Three Minute Thesis Competition

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Three Minute Thesis founded by the University of Queensland

Three Minute Thesis Competition

If you only had three minutes, could you:

  • Explain your research to a prospective employer?
  • Convince a potential donor to support your project?
  • Share your discoveries with a non-specialist audience?
  • Entice others to want more information about your research?

Do you want to improve your communication and presentation skills?

Enter the University of Oklahoma 3MT® Competition!

Winners will receive a $1000-$2000 cash prize!

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland, Australia, and is now held at hundreds of universities around the world. This exercise will challenge you to present your master's or doctoral research in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience. As you prepare for the competition, you’ll decide on the most important points in your research, find an interesting way to convey them, then deliver them in a clear, concise, and confident manner.

The 2020 competition is open to current OU Norman, Tulsa, and HSC graduate students in good standing who meet the following criteria:

  • Students must be enrolled as of Spring 2020 in a master’s program (thesis, project, exhibition) or a doctoral program.
  • Students may enter the competition even if their research results have not been finalized.

Registration for the competition is now closed.

  • Presentations are limited to three minutes; competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.
  • Design one static slide to be displayed throughout the presentation. All slides must be submitted as a pdf image (1024x768 pixels).
  • No slide transitions, animations, or ‘movement’ are allowed.
  • 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.
  • No additional props (e.g., laser pointers, costumes, musical instruments, or laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a competitor starts their presentation through either movement or speech.

When deciding what to include on the slide to accompany your presentation, let the phrase "less is more" be your guide.

  • Your slide should be clear and concise. Remember, the judges are concentrating on you and your presentation—three minutes offers very little time to focus on an overly-detailed slide.
  • Choose quality images, and if you include text, be certain it can be read from a distance.
  • Create a draft of your slide. Show it to your friends/relatives and ask them to describe what they see. Their objective responses will help you create the most effective slide to enhance your winning presentation.
  • Preliminary rounds of the competition will be held January 27-30, 2020. Competitors must be available to present in person.
  • Finalists selected will perform their three minute presentation with their slide in front of a panel of judges and an audience on Friday, February 21, 2020 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. at the Meacham Auditorium in the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the Norman campus.
  • Prize winners will be announced at a reception immediately following the competition. The finalists' presentations will be posted on the Graduate College website. The decision of the judging panel is final.
  • Cash prizes will be awarded.
  • First Place - $2000
  • Runner-up - $1500
  • People's Choice Award - $1000
  • The OU-Norman Graduate College will sponsor the winner to compete April 1-3, 2020 in the 3MT Competition at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

January 17, 2020

  • Deadline to submit single static slide and title of presentation

January 27, 2020

  • Preliminary competitions, 9:30-11:00 a.m. or 2:00-3:30 p.m., Meacham Auditorium

January 28, 2020

  • Preliminary competitions, 9:30-11:00 a.m. or 2:00-3:30 p.m., Meacham Auditorium

January 29, 2020

  • Preliminary competitions, 9:30-11:00 a.m. or 2:00-3:30 p.m., Meacham Auditorium

January 30, 2020

  • Preliminary competitions, 9:30-11:00 a.m. or 2:00-3:30 p.m., Meacham Auditorium

February 10, 2020

  • Finalists will be chosen to present at the final live 3MT® competition.

February 21, 2020

  • Final 3MT® competition in Meacham Auditorium from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Doors open at 1:00 p.m.
  • Reception to follow in Beaird Lounge, where First Place, Runner-up, and People’s Choice Award winners will be announced.

April 1-3, 2020

  • Winner of the OU 3MT® Competition competes at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT® Competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Financial support to fully cover the costs of the winner’s travel to the April competition will be provided by the Graduate College.)

Questions? Contact the Graduate College:

Linda Kelly, Assistant to the Dean,