2021 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT)
About the 3-Minute Thesis Competition
The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic research communication competition developed
by The University of Queensland, Australia, for graduate research students. This
competition challenges graduate students to present their research topic and
its significance in three minutes and using just one slide. The 3MT competition
develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills, as well as
supports the development of graduate students' capacity to succinctly communicate
their research to a non-specialist audience.
For more information about the 3MT international organization and competition, please visit http://threeminutethesis.org/ .
Why Enter the 3MT Competition?
The competition challenges doctoral students to present their research and share
its significance with a general audience in just three minutes. Each presentation
should address the following questions:
- What are you researching?
- Why are you researching this topic?
- What are the values or outcomes of your research?
Through this competition, doctoral students will gain valuable experience in discussing
and communicating effectively to a wide variety of audiences, both academic and
Students’ ability to present and communicate their academic research in a concise
way to a non-specialist is a crucial skill to have. Having such skills "in
their back pockets" may help them with job interviews, networking at conferences,
presenting research to venture capitalists, or grant funding agencies. Additionally,
entering the 3MT competition may enhance their online reputation, and CV or resume.
Eligibility Requirements and Special Considerations
- Students must be enrolled in a doctoral program for a minimum of 1 credit hour and have completed enough dissertation work to present some preliminary results by the submission deadline, February 12, 2021 at 11:59 pm. By the same deadline, students must ensure that their advisor have returned a signed agreement form to OGEL at GradEd@mail.wvu.edu acknowledging the aforementioned statement and that the presentation consists of original research conducted by the student and not the work of the research team.
- Students must be in good academic standing within their program.
- Students must obtain permission from their academic advisor or committee chair
to enter the 3MT competition.
- Students must obtain permission from any research collaborators if the research
they plan to present incorporates the ideas or work of others.
- Special considerations (before students enter the 3MT Competition):
- Students’ presentations should take into account any intellectual property issues.
(If research content is embargoed or sensitive, the presentation will need to
be structured to avoid compromising any future research or any other sensitive
All final presentations will be open to the public and published online.
By entering the contest, students must agree to allow the WVU Office of Graduate Education and Life to use photographs and/or video from the competition in publicity surrounding the contest and/or in other contexts, such as websites, promotional materials, etc.
- Each participating student must submit a video of their presentation for the preliminary
competition to OGEL no later than February 12, 2021 at 11:59 PM.
- Each video will be reviewed by at least three judges.
- The 3MT Committee will select 10 finalists to advance to the WVU 3MT Grand
Finale competition on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
- This competition abides by the international 3MT rules and judging criteria, and
3MT Competition Judging Rubric.
3MT Grand Finale Competition Rules
A single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations,
or 'movements' of any kind are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the
beginning of and throughout the presentation.
- No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes; competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).
- Presentations will begin when a presenter starts their presentation through either
movement or speech.
The decision of the judges panel is final.
How to Enter the WVU 3MT 2021 Competition
Deadline for video submission to the 2021 competition is February 12 at 11:59 p.m.
In order to enter the 3MT competition, you must complete an online competition entry form by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 12, 2021. Note that all submissions
require strict adherence to the 3MT rules, and the online application requires
you to upload a single PowerPoint slide and video of your 3-minute presentation.
- Film your video and save it as an .mp4 file. Upload your video on Youtube.com as
an unlisted video (it will only be viewed by those who have the link). We have
instructions and tips on how to create your video.
Note that initial competition submissions may differ in style and content from
the Grand Finale presentations, but the research topic/subject matter must
remain the same.
- At the beginning of the video, please state your full name, graduate program, and the title of the presentation.
Judges will rate each presentation in the following categories:
- 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 (or expected outcomes)?
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to over-generalize their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience's attention?
- Was the research topic, including key results, 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 speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range; maintain
a steady pace; and have a confident stance?
- Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation - or
did they elaborate too long on one aspect or rush the presentation?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and
3MT Deadlines and Notifications
Round 1 submissions
Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:59 PM
Finalists selection notifications
Week of March 1, 2021
During the month of March, finalists will receive coaching to prepare for the final event.
Finalists must submit final PowerPoint presentation slide and video
Friday, April 2, 2021, by noon
3MT Grand Finale
Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 6:00 PM
Virtual competition (pending any changes to WVU's current in-person event restrictions).
Grand Finale Prizes
- First place prize: $1,000
- Second place prize: $750
- Third place prize: $500
- People’s Choice prize: $250 (All audience members who attend the final competition will be invited to cast a single vote . The audience will be asked to select the candidate who they believe best communicated their area of research to the audience. (In the event that the People’s Choice Award is one of the first through third place winners, the cash prize will be added to their corresponding prize.)
- Each finalist who does not win a prize will receive $100
Prizes are awarded to students as a “cash prize.” Note that all prizes will be
disbursed in check form without any obligation for future work or service. The
IRS may consider these prizes “taxable income.”
Questions about the WVU 3MT Competition
Please view these helpful websites about the 3MT process that may answer your questions:
How to prepare for the 3MT competition
- Scholarly article about 3MT competitions in the United States
If you have any other questions, please contact the Office of Graduate Education and Life at