3 Minute Thesis Competition

3MT Logo

An 80,000 word thesis would take hours to present. Their time limit...3 MINUTES.

3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ). Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis, dissertation, or research and its significance. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or “dumbing down” research, but rather challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries to present concisely to a non-specialist audience. 

More information about 3 Minute Thesis can be found on The University of Queensland's website (here). Check out this article in The Scientist Magazine (here) to learn more about the development of the 3MT competition and its adaption in the United States.


General Competition Information for UTHealth School of Public Health 

Eligibility

Master's: All master's students (both thesis and non-thesis) must have completed a minimum of 50% (22 credits or more for MPH/ 18 credits or more for MS) of their program to be eligible. Master's students must be involved in a Culminating Experience capstone course project, thesis, or another research project that meets the following standards:

  • The project must include specific objectives or investigative questions and a project design or plan for implementation
  • Data or information must be collected, analyzed, and findings reported (preliminary findings are acceptable)
  • Preliminary conclusions must be drawn from the project and broader impact discussed

Doctoral: Doctoral students must be in the post-preliminary examination phase of their program. The student's research must be at a stage where the findings/preliminary findings, conclusions/preliminary conclusions, and a broader impact can be discussed.

The UTHealth School of Public Health 3MT competition is open to all master's and doctoral students who meet the eligibility criteria at all campuses. Students must use a research project experienced during their current program of study. Please note that the 3MT competition is not a replacement for the proposal defense and final presentation or defense required of students as part of their degree.

Rules & Regulations

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or “movement” of any description are allowed. The slide will 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/indicated platform
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final
  • Houston campus (preliminary competition)
    • Students will present in front of a live panel of judges
  • Austin, Brownsville, El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio campuses (preliminary competition)
    • Students will present to a panel of judges both in-person and via ITV
    • At least one judge and timekeeper/moderator will be present with the student at the campus location
  • The final competition will be held on the Houston campus
    • If a finalist is from a regional campus, they will be supported in traveling to Houston to participate in the final competition

Judging Criteria

Preliminary Round

Separate preliminary rounds will be held for master’s and doctoral students. Competitors will be judged by a panel of not less than three judges. Each judge scores competitors on a scale of 1 to 7 in each of the three categories below. Brief verbal constructive feedback will be given by panelists to each preliminary competitor. Three to five top-scoring competitors from each category (master’s and doctoral) will be selected to participate in the final competition.

Final Competition

Final competition competitors will be judged by a panel of three to five judges made up of senior faculty, distinguished guests, and graduate students from various disciplines. Each judge scores competitors on a scale of 1 to 7 in each of the three categories below. Once presentations conclude, the judges’ scores are combined and the student with the highest average score is declared the Winner for their division. The competitor with the second highest score is declared the Runner-up for their division. Additionally, the audience casts their own ballots to select a winner for the People’s Choice Award for each competition category (master’s and doctoral).

Competitors will be judged on the following criteria:

Comprehension
Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?

Engagement
Did the oration make the audience want to know more?

Communication
Was the topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?

An example Judging Rubric for the preliminary competition is available here!

Competition Progression

Development Sessions for Interested Students (optional for participants)

Three development session are held prior to the preliminary competition as an opportunity for students to:

  • Learn about 3MT and the local competition
  • Work with Writing Services staff and fellow students to draft their concept
  • Participate in think-pair-share activities

Preliminary Competition (required for participants)

The preliminary competition will be held over two days. Students identify preferred time slots for both days while completing their registration. Students will be assigned one day and time slot to participate in the preliminary competition. For the preliminary competition,

  • Students present in front of a diverse panel of faculty judges
  • Participants will receive immediate feedback 
  • Regional campus participants will present via ITV and will have at least one faculty panelist in the room at their campus
  • 3-5 top-scoring participants from each division will move forward to the final competition

Final Competition (required for participants)

The final competition will showcase the top-scoring master's and doctoral students. For the final competition,

  • Finalists will present in front of a diverse and distinguished panel of judges
  • Members of the community are welcome to attend
  • A Winnner (based on scores), Runner-up (based on scores) and People's Choice (based on audience votes) finalist will be selected for each division (master's/doctoral)
  • Finalists from regional campuses will be provided with a travel stipend enabling them to participate in the final competition at the Houston campus

Regional 3MT Competition -Conference of Southern Graduate Schools

The division Winner (either master's or doctoral) with the highest total score will be invited to represent UTHealth School of Public Health at the regional 3MT competition through the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. More information about the upcoming Conference of Southern Graduate Schools is available on their website (here).

Competition Prizes

Prize earnings will post to the student’s myUTH account in the form of a scholarship. If the student has an outstanding balance, the scholarship will be applied towards that balance. Any remaining funds from the scholarship will then be credited to the student’s billing account.

Doctoral Division

Doctoral Winner

$1,000

Doctoral Runner-up

$500

Doctoral People’s Choice

$500

Master's Division

Master’s Winner

$1,000

Master’s Runner-up

$500

Master’s People’s Choice

$500

2018 UTHealth School of Public Health 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Registration

Students interested in participating in the 2018 competition may submit their registration via the form available here: https://tx.ag/SPH3MT

Registration Opens: Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Registration Closes: Friday, October 26, 2018
Slide Submission Due: Friday, October 26, 2018


Schedule & Events

See time and location information per campus below.

Date

Event

September 12, 2018

Registration Opens for Preliminary Competition

September 20, 2018

3MT Informational Session (Optional) 

October 1, 2018

Development Session #1 (Optional) 

October 10, 2018

Development Session #2 (Optional) 

October 19, 2018

Development Session #3 (Optional) 

October 26, 2018

Deadline to Register for Preliminary Competition

October 26, 2018

Slides Due for Preliminary Competitors

November 1-2, 2018

Preliminary Competition

November 30, 2018

Required Development Session for Finalists

December 7, 2018

Final Competition

Informational Session
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS 102A
Austin -6.322
Brownsville -N2.220
El Paso -134B

The 3MT Informational session is open to all students who would like to learn more about the competition.

Development Session #1
Date: Monday, October 1, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS 102A
Brownsville -N1.130

The 3MT development session is open to all students who would like to learn more about the competition and to work with Writing Services staff to develop content and discuss ideas. Preliminary competition participants are not required to attend a development session.

Development Session #2
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS E-505
Brownsville -N1.130

The 3MT development session is open to all students who would like to learn more about the competition and to work with Writing Services staff to develop content and discuss ideas. Preliminary competition participants are not required to attend a development session.

Development Session #3
Date: Friday, October 19, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS 102A
Brownsville -N1.130

The 3MT development session is open to all students who would like to learn more about the competition and to work with Writing Services staff to develop content and discuss ideas. Preliminary competition participants are not required to attend a development session.

Preliminary Competition -Day 1
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS E-725
Brownsville -N1.130

Students who register to participate and submit their PowerPoint slide by the deadline (Oct. 26) will be assigned a day and timeframe to participate in the preliminary competition. Date and time assignments will be based on student preference, provided during registration, and faculty availability. 

Preliminary Competition -Day 2
Date: Friday, November 2, 2018
Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS E-505
Brownsville -N1.130

Students who register to participate and submit their PowerPoint slide by the deadline (Oct. 26) will be assigned a day and timeframe to participate in the preliminary competition. Date and time assignments will be based on student preference, provided during registration, and faculty availability.

Finalist Development Session
Date: Friday, November 30, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (CST)
Location: RAS 102A (Houston) & ITV (campus locations TBA)

The 3MT finalist development session is required for those selected to move forward to the final competition. During this session, students will work with Writing Services staff to develop content and discuss ideas to prepare for the final competition.

Final Competition
Date: Friday, December 7, 2018
Time: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (CST)
Location: In person & ITV
Houston -RAS Auditorium
Brownsville -N1.130

The 3MT final competition will be a wonderful event that is open to the public. During the competition 3-5 of the top-scoring master's and doctoral students from the preliminary competition will compete for the Winner, Runner-up, and People's Choice title. The winner, either master's or doctoral, with the highest score will be sent to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional 3MT competition in February 2019.