The University of Alabama Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition will be held on Monday November 9, 2020 at 7pm. 

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition which challenges graduate students to present a compelling oration on their research and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. ​The 3MT is NOT an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries. Check out the video below (from the UA 2019 competition) to learn more or visit the 3MT University of Queensland site.

The 3MT will be a virtual event (Zoom link to be provided). Participants will be required to submit a video of their 3MT presentation.

Prizes 

1st Prize: $1,500 (and represent UA at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools 3MT competition)

2nd Prize: $1,000

3rd Prize: $750

4th Prize: $250

People’s Choice: $750

*The People’s Choice winner is determined by the 3MT audience. All other winners are determined by the judging panel.

List of Important Steps 

  • Departmental submission of names and PowerPoint slides to Graduate School by October 16**
  • Graduate School will contact participants and provide instructions to upload videos (see guidelines below).
  • Judges will review submitted videos starting October 22.
  • Students selected for the 3MT finals on November 9 will be notified by October 26. 

**Please ensure that PowerPoint slides are submitted in the standard 4:3 aspect ratio – please do not use widescreen.

Anyone who is currently registered and enrolled in a Masters or Doctoral program will be eligible to participate in 3MT. Graduates are not eligible.

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • 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 within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (mp4 format preferred). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

Judging

Each competitor will be judged on the criteria listed below. Click HERE for a copy of the ballot that will be used by our judges.

Comprehension and content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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 and communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise 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?

ONLINE  3-Minute Thesis Practice for students

Practice your 3MT presentation online using CrimsonCareers.  Follow these directions:

  1. Students login to CrimsonCareers and complete their free account.
  2. On the student homepage of CrimsonCareers, select the Resources tab to find the option for Mock Interviews.
  3. Search for “3-Minute Thesis” on the list of customized interviews.
  4. If students have a computer with a built-in webcam, they can select the 3MT interview and do a trial run of their 3MT presentation as many times as they would like. If students do not have access to a webcam, students are welcome to contact the Career Center (348-5848) to use their Mock Interview space.

Students can watch their own recordings as well as submit their recordings to have them critiqued online. This is a great tool we recommend all graduate students to try.

Past Winners

Watch three minute presentations by past winners and learn more about 3MT at http://threeminutethesis.org.

Questions

Contact Tierney Jenkins at tjenkins2@ua.edu